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
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
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