|Glenn beside the travel lift tires. Big, aren't they?|
|Abandoned church near Dek's|
In front of this seaside restaurant there is an abandoned Greek Orthodox church. All churches are abandoned in Northern Cyprus since the 1974 war as this is now an Islamic country.
We walked down the rocky shore next to the restaurant to a landing to look at the pretty view of the sea and discovered another old stone building down there. There were dozens of white cloths tied on the stones and door. What is the world was that all about?
|Full of Christian painting & white cloths|
The door was ajar and we entered to investigate, hoping to solve the white rag mystery. Inside were many Christian religious paintings scattered around -- and many more of the white cloths and white strips of paper stuffed into crevices along the walls. There were some stone steps in a back corner of the building that descended into darkness. We did not have a flashlight and thought it unwise to venture farther down.
|notice white strips of cloth in upper right area|
|note white strips of cloth on right around painting|
(Added later: be sure and read the comment below. Our elder son toured Italy during high school with a history teacher. The student group had a private tour of parts of the Vatican. These white cloths are explained in our son's comment to this posting. His explanation makes sense because the dark steps/passageway leading down was in the direction to be beneath the nearby church. We also spoke with a local resident from the UK. He said the small building was a church. The larger nearby church is about 300 years old and the smaller church is more than twice as old. He said there is a fresh water pool below sea level down that darn passageway. The local Christians (practicing faith in secret) consider this water sacred and use it to dampen the white cloths they leave tucked into the crevices, exactly as our son explains in his comment shown below.)
|Tiniest Cooper -- an older mode|
|St. Nickolas, a/k/a Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque|
|St. Georges of the Greeks|
|bullet holes on outside wall|
|Bullet holes inside wall chest to head height|
|Fresco of life of Christ|
The upper levels of two of the alcoves were covered in painted frescoes depicting the life of Christ. On the upper level of one alcove on the opposite side of the church was a painting of crucified Christ. These paintings were faint and faded, but we were surprised they were visible at all. These are on walls that have been exposed to the elements since 1571 when the roof was blown off. We were amazed that these were visible at all after 440 years without even a roof to protect them. Also, up in what remained of the ceilings of the alcoves there were large terracotta pottery jars embedded in with the stones. There is a theory that the pottery fragments were added for acoustical purposes.
|Faint image of Christ on cross|
In the nave are the foundations of some Roman columns where the method of binding stones with iron ties is visible. The use of iron ties for constructing masonry without cement was often used by the Romans in harbors and jetties.
What we thought were holes from artillery shells were actually holes from cannon balls from the Turkish bombardment in 1571. The vaulted roof was also blown off during that bombardment. Still visible in the interior are the remains of 8 massive columns or piers that once supported the high vaulted ceiling that was blown away by the Turks. Cannon balls still litter the area, 4 1/2 centuries later. Earthquakes during the 18th century also took their toll on this building.
We circled back towards St. Nickolas and enjoyed lunch at a sidewalk cafe beneath the trees in the lovely surroundings. We had planned to also visit Kantara Castle on our way back to the marina, but it was late in the day and we were all tired already. So that was saved for another day.