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HISTORICAL PLACE

Nicosia
Kyrenia
Famagusta
Guzelyurt
Iskele

Guzelyurt
- St Mamas Monastery
- Palace Of Vouni
- Soli - Ancient Cypriot City Kingdom
- Roman Teathere Of Soli
- Guzelyurt Museum

Guzelyurt
Situated in the Northwest of Cyprus, Guzelyurt is one of the richest agricultural areas in Cyprus, famous particulary for the Citrus (Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit) and strawberries from the area which thrive in its fertile red soil. Guzelyurt is an ideal picnic spot for those who want to escape from the noise and rush of the city life and spend the day in the peace and quiet of natural surroundings. In spring the light breezes scatter the white orange blossoms from which you can smell the fragrance around the town, while in other seasons the golden oranges and lemons shine on the trees. A large proportion of the citrus fruits are exported, and the remaining are made into fruit juice and canned for local consumption and export. Visit the former Monastery of St. Mamas, originally Byzantine with Gothic establishments. Some of the carvings date from c. 1500. The Ruins of Soli (600 BC) and the Palace of Vouni, from the 5th century BC, are a must for archeologists or those interested in antiquities.

St. MAMAS MONASTERY
The principle monument of Guzelyurt is the Monastery of St. Mamas. St. Mamas was a local saint who is usually represented riding on a lion. The original church was built in Byzantine style. But at different periods it was rebuilt and during the Middle Ages a building in the Gothic style was erected. This was again rebuilt in the 18th century and the large central dome was added during this time.
The monastic buildings were also erected in the 18th century but a number of capitals and columns are from the former church.

St. Mamas church is open to visitors during office hours.
According to the legend in the 12th century Mamas, a poor Cypriot hermit, refused to pay his taxes, and troops were sent to bring him to the capital for punishment. On the way, the party came across a lion about to kill a lamb. Mamas saved the lamb and taking it in his arms, rode the wild lion and entered the capital in this way. The Byzantine authorities were so impressed with what they saw, they released the hermit and since then St. Mamas has been regarded as the protector of tax avoiders. All around the island there are 14 churches dedicated to the saint.

St. Mamas monastery was built in the 18th century. Its side portals and the columns of the nave are from the earlier Gothic building that was erected on the ruins of a Byzantine church. The tomb must have belonged to the latter. The upper part of the iconostasis, carved of wood and painted in blue and gold, is an exquisite example of late 16th century wood carving. Its lower part is carved of marble and features figs, grapes and acorns, and Venetian shields which once bore painted coast of arms.
The marble tomb of St. Mamas has survived. Its sarcophagus contains two holes from which a balm against eye and ear diseases and other illnesses oozes which also calmed stormy seas, bringing to mind the 'sweating stones' in other Byzantine churches.

PALACE OF VOUNI
Vouni palace is 9 km west of Gemikonagi and 250 m above sea level on a cliff top.

Its origins are not known with certainty but it is thought to have been build during the Persian occupation in the 5th century B.C. The palace was, burnt down by a fire in 330 B.C. In a later document itswas found that its foundations were destroyed by the soli inhabitants .

Its original name even is unknown.The moderin meaning of it in Greek is mountain . All sources agree that sometime after 400 B.C. the place was destroyed by agents unknown upon re- establishment of Persian dominant.

The Swedish expedition dug here concurrently with their work at soli. The site is partially enclosed, and the ticket boot only sporadically attended. Foctise of the palace is a monumental seven- stepped stairway leading down into a courtyard, where a quitar - sloped stele, slotted at the top for a windlass, is propped on end before a deep eastern. This is one of several collection besliis on the bluff top, as the water supply was a problem and a priority, as suggested by the sophisticated bathing and drainage facilities of the luxuryloving ruling caste in the north west conier of the palace. At the centre of the stele, where you would expect the sounding hole to be, is an unfinished carved face, thought to be a goddess.

The original Persian entry to the royal apartments, along a natural stone ramp at the south west corner of the precinct, is market by a rusty sign; it was later closed off after the change of rulers end the entry moved to the north side of the central court, the residential quarters subsequently arrayed around this in the Mycenaean style. In the wake of the remodelling the palace is thought to have grown to 137 rooms on two floors, the upper story of mud bricks and thus long vanished.

Between the place and the access road on its north flank is what appears to be a temple with remains of an abiotis altar at the centre; on the opposite side of the site, began the car park and just below the modem trigonometric point, are the scarcely more articulate traces of a late fifth century B.C. Athena Temple, all but merging into the exposed rock strata here yet it must have been popular and revered in its day, for a large cache of votive offerings ( now in the Cyprus Museum) was found here.

The palace of Vouni, excavated an expedition sponsored by the crown prince of Sweden is at once the most important and one of the most unusual sites in the island of Cyprus. The site comprises a small township grouped on the steep slopes of a conical hill a few miles west of the ancient city of Soli a temple of Alhena perched on the precipitous edge of the hill on the land side, and a superb palace site on the summit of the hill facing the sea and the north, looking at Asia minor only the palace site and the temple site have been fully excavated and both remain now well - tended and open to visitors, with a resident custodian.

The whole site belongs to a period not earlier that the late sixth century and not later than the end of the fifth or early fourth century B.C. it has not yet been fully established what was the name of this settlement in antiquity. what is certain is that it represents the palace and dependencies of the local kings of Cyprus built at a time when the island was town by dissension between the pro. Greek and the pro Persian factions. The palace was evidently a building of great wealth and luxury, and there were found not only a group of sculptures and works of art some imported form the Greek mainland, but also a treasure consisting of silver coins of Cypriote cities and two superb gold bracelets which can rank among the finest known examples of Persian gold work. The palace contained elaborate baths supplied with a hot water system and numerous deep and efficient wells. The living rooms of the palace were grouped round a central atrium which was surrounded by a colonnade. A " Royal road " led from the lower township into the palace.

The king or prince who lived in this palace may have been a local Cypriote of nationalist sympathies or else a nominee of the person overlords of Cyprus. It is impossible as yet to decide on such historical problems, since nothing except architectural and artistic data are available but from these it is clear that we are here in the presence of a settlement which is typical of Cypriote life in the most interesting century of existence, the period roughly between 500 B.C. and 400 B.C. The palace is of a type which is unlike the usual type, of Hellenic type house and has qualities which connect it with a more oriental world.

SOLI - ANCIENT CYPRIOT CITY KINGDOM
Soli is located near the Lefke town. Soli was one of the ten ancient city kingdoms of Cyprus . Soli Was built in the beginning of the sixth century BC. It is foundation is attributed to Solon. Solon was the Greek and Solon is the founder of the Soli (ancient kingdom of Soli ). Soli was built near the Xero's river for the economic reasons . Soli was one of the ancient kingdoms of Cyprus and played an important part in the history of the island during the revolt against the Persians but later all the Cypriot cities were reduced by the pensions. It was destroyed by Arab invasions in the 7th century.

Excavations have shown that settlement was made here as early as the 11th century BC. owing probably to the existence of a good water supply, fertile Soli and a protected harbour, the near by copper deposits and timber to smelt the copper Soli flourished up till 648 ad when it suffered during the first of the ruined cities of ancient Cyprus the stones were later removed for building elsewhere. Those of Soli were destined for the construction of port said in Egypt in the later half of 19th century.

Excavation of the old city of Soli began in 1929 under the direction of a team of Swedish archaeologists . A Roman Theatre was discovered with an auditorium of seventeen cows of seats and a larges semi circular orchestra. This theatre has now been restored recent excavations by Canadian archaeologists have brought to light the remains of an Agora an Acropolis and a church with a mosaic floor. The rest of the Soli city which stretches over a wide area , has still not been fully uncovered. Excavation is not finished yet . There are lots of ancient monuments still under the land The archaeologist knows them but they think it is safe there. Because protect the ancient monuments is very big problem in Northern Cyprus. In addition Soli consists very big port of the land.

ROMAN THEATRE OF SOLI
The Roman theatre of Soli occupies the site of the original Greek amphitheatre on the northern slope of a hill overlooking the sea below. It has a capacity of some 4000 spectators. Its stage building was of two storeys, covered with marble panelling and decorated with stoves.

Its semi circular auditorium has very good acoustic system . The excavation and restoration of the Roman theatre of Soli was completed in 1962. The orchestra area was gained through two side entrances at present this section is restored halfway from the stage building only a platform on which. It was built has survived at the west of the theatre on the nearby hill traces of the temples dedicated to Aphrodite have been discovered. The famous torso of the Aphrodite have been discovered. The famous statute of torso of the Aphrodite of Soli was found here which is now in the Cyprus Museum in the Greek-Cypriot side of Nicosia.

These days the Roman theatre of Soli is used for the cultural activities such as concert and plays

THE GUZELYURT MUSEUM ( The Archeology And Nature Museum )
The Güzelyurt Archeological and Natural History Museum is housed in the old palace of the bishop of Güzelyurt (Morphou). The ground floor of the museum is devoted to natural history and holds cabinets of geological samples, stuffed fish, mammals, and birds native to Cyprus. Exotic breeding migrants are represented by the elusive Eleanoras Falcon, the bright plumage of the bee-eater and pink flamingos from the salt lakes.

There is also a pair of mutant lambs. A more symbolic age would have read the fate of Cyprus from these twins with two heads on one body and two bodies on one head. Upstairs there is a small archeological collection with the island's best display of Late Bronze Age white slipware amd the recently discovered Ephesian Artemis.

Rooms II and III house pieces from Toumba Tou Skourou excavation, mostly base ring-ware and very fine examples of the white slip -milk bowl- ware, with its distinctive tatoo-like designs dated 1,600-1,500 B.C. Room V is filled with artefacts from the Classical to Byzantine period, including two fine black on red Attic Lekythos vases. Hellenistic tableware, Roman glass and yellow-glazed, and medieval sgraffito pottery. The room is dominated by the statuette of Artemis of Ephesus, carved in the 2nd century A.D. The weatheres white body of the goddess, whose black face bears remnants of a tidy coiffure, was discovered in the Bay of Salamis in 1980.

Thirty-six nipples protrude from her tightly bound dress embroidered with five rows of hieratic wild things, the guardian sphinxes and griffins customarily associated with the Great Goddess. Her protruding bottom echoes the ancient pose of the fertile mother goddess, who is flanked by two crouched guardian creatures.

The museum is open 9am-1pm, 2.30-5pm everyday except on Sundays

 
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