I’m “forced” to come back to yesterday’s theme, as I would like to be fair to the orchids and other flowers which graced my day with their presence, in yet another great, uphill-downhill-dressed-in-cloud-and-mist hike, this time above the village of Lápithos/Lapta.
A bit of background history first:
Lápithos is one of Cyprus’ largest villages, to the point of being considered a small town. It is also one of the island’s most picturesque villages, with the limestone rocks of the Pentadaktylos/Besparmak mountain range rising majestically above it [at its highest point of 1031 m.a.s.l.], and the Mediterranean sea washing its feet. The village is bathed in (its own version of) lemon trees – more on this in a future post – and the pine/cypress/carob/olive tree forests of the mountain range. As I mentioned in post “No23. Three in a Row”, Lapithos is one of the villages that are visible from the Queen’s Window in St. Hilarion Castle above the town of Kyrenia/Girne.
Overall, the area has a very exciting history, as it appears to have archaeological roots dating from 3000BC. Lápithos was recorded as a colony of the Laconians following the Trojan war (1000BC) and was one of the island’s 9 ancient city-kingdoms in the 4th century BC. In Roman times, Lápithos was one of four major administrative districts under the name of Lapéthia. For the first 7 centuries AD, commerce in the area flourished – Lápithos was very popular as a copper-processing and earthenware center, together with its produce and its port/shipyard. It’s not surprising the town was also called Lámpousa (ie. “shining” in Greek). The Arab raids period (7th-10th cent. AD) was marked by continuous destruction but recovery came by the Byzantines and later during the Lusignan rule, when Lápithos had more inhabitants than Limassol, Famagusta or Paphos. After 1570, much of the land of the wealthy was seized by Ottoman rulers and parts of Lápithos were broken off to become separate villages in the surrounding area. The British turned Lápithos into a municipality.
When Cyprus became an independent country, the municipality was administratively split into 7 different neighborhoods: six of them (parishes) inhabited by Greek Cypriots and one of them (mahallá) by Turkish Cypriots. The 400 TC left their homes in 1963 after the first major clashes between the two communities and moved to an enclave closer to Kyrenia. Post-1974, following the displacement of 5000 Greek Cypriots to the southern part of the island, the village is mostly inhabited by Turkish Cypriots.
“Legolas, what do your elf eyes see!?”.
Without further delay, I hereby present to you what our (not elfish nor selfish ) eyes saw… [missing: fairies and Bambi, everything else was basically there]
* The day’s bonus was a visit to the very big flower/cactus garden and photo exhibition of Mr. Hikmet Ulucam (in his house).