Riviera Beach Bungalows, Studios & Superior Hotel Rooms, Kyrenia, North Cyprus

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THROUGH CYPRUS
WITH THE CAMERA,
IN THE AUTUMN OF 1878.
By
JOHN THOMSON F.R.G.S.

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[Kyrenia] [Famagusta] [Nicosia] [Lefke] [Limassol] [Paphos] [Larnaca]

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LIMASSOL / LIMASOL

Limassol (Limasol), the capital of the province of the same name, stands on the shore midway between Neo Paphos and Larnaca, and has a population of some six thousand souls, of whom one-third
are Turks.

In commercial importance, Limassol ranks next after Larnaca itself; and its trade, which falls far short of that of Larnaca, is set down in the Consular reports for 1876 as—Imports, £50,920; Exports, £59,895. The chief exports are wine and carob beans, although a number of other products appear in the list, while in the corresponding catalogue of imports, cotton manufactures and tobacco hold the most prominent places. Playing-cards and cigarette papers also figure as articles of import, and are not unworthy of mention as affording some clue to the pastimes of the people.

The town itself is, undoubtedly, the finest in the island. Its houses, when seen from a distance, appear embowered in green, and there is a general air of prosperity about the place which is most refreshing to behold. An imposing array of buildings of honest brick and stone, and an extensive acreage of tiled roofs, suggest both comfort and competence.

The view here presented was taken from the top of the Franciscan monastery, where I had been most courteously entertained by the friars.

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THE MAIN STREET, LIMASSOL

The accompanying view is taken from the front of the Franciscan monastery, looking westward along the main street which runs parallel to the coast. The courts to the rear of the houses on the left face the sea; indeed, their outer walls rise out of the sand and shingle on the slope of the shore. Here and there, between the houses, are narrow alleys, breathing-spaces which divide the blocks of buildings and dip downwards to the open beach. These alleys have lately been cleansed, but, not long ago, the breeze which visited them must have been tainted with all the odours of decay peculiar to Eastern towns, and not unfamiliar even now to the quasi-British subjects of Cyprus.

At the backs of the houses are pleasant fruit-gardens, where one may sample the grapes from which the wine of the province is made. The offices and shops on the ground floors are commodious, and in many of the latter we may see costly foreign wares exposed for sale. The street looks deserted, and is invested with a silence strangely at variance with the business-like aspect and architecture of the town. During the day-time, however, busy traders may be seen through their barred windows or open doorways, bargaining in Oriental fashion, or counting-up their gains; and in the cool of the evening, when they parade up and down before their stores, the gay costumes of the Greek ladies, and the fashionable attire of their lords, would not disgrace a Parisian boulevard.

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In this spacious thoroughfare we find evidence of the prosperity of the town, and at the same time discover indications of the Insecurity which prevailed under Turkish rule, in the strongly-built and barred storehouses that line both sides of the street. Many of the walls, with their iron-stanchioned windows, look as if they belonged to the outbuildings of a prison, and are probably the remains of the architectural reformation that followed the advent of the Moslems. Be that as it may, these massive stone structures afford security and coolness to stores of wine within, as well as shelter to the caravans, and troops of traders that throng round them outside.

The camel, as shown in the illustration, is one of the chief beasts of burden in the island, although its use is restricted to the lower plains and seaboard. It is seen in Cyprus at its best, as the climate and pasturage are well-suited to its wants, and its powers of travelling for days without food or water are never put severely to the test. Its pliant foot is admirably adapted both to the rough paths which cross the lower hills, and to the soft, sandy tracks along the shore. Camels are Tong-suffering creatures; but if they have a notion that their owners are overburdening them they will burst forth into loud and hideous lamentations, and when the last bale is being poised on their backs, they seem almost to have acquired the faculty of speech. Their masters, if they are wise, reason calmly with them, as they make their burdens secure, and then coax them with soothing words till they rise and take the road. The house on the left of the picture is the residence of the British Commissioner.

[Kyrenia] [Famagusta] [Nicosia] [Lefke] [Limassol] [Paphos] [Larnaca]

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