I’m going to take you on a journey round some of the museums, medieval forts and castles, and religious buildings which I’ve visited on Cyprus in my search for rosette motifs.
Obviously, the island of Cyprus is divided into Greek and Turkish sectors in the south and north respectively. Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus is also divided, the Green Line running through the city. I found it really easy to cross from the south into the north so it’s a great opportunity to experience both cultures.
On this page I’ll show you some of the places I explored in both sectors of the island starting in the far north at Kyrenia Castle.
Kyrenia is on the northern coast of Cyprus and it is very easy to get there from North Nicosia – I used one of the popular shared taxis which are certainly a novel experience but are cheap and convenient. In the north of the island they are known by the Turkish name of Dolmus which literally means stuffed, and if you use one you’ll see what I mean – they cram in everyone possible. I made the half-hour journey squashed into the back of the vehicle with about 12 Turkish guys, all quite bemused at the fact that I was willing to travel with them.
Kyrenia itself is a great location for a day out but I particularly wanted to visit the medieval castle which, like many others in Cyprus, was restored under Venetian rule. If you want to visit the castle yourself, buses and taxis stop in a square just outside the town walls – just follow the crowd downhill to the sea and you can’t miss the castle right by the harbour.
For anyone particularly interested in shipwrecks, the castle houses a museum with the remains of one of the world’s oldest wrecks – that of the fourth century BC Greek merchant ship which sank off the coast of Cyprus and was discovered in 1965. The museum also has displays of transport amphorae – vessels which would have been used to carry oils or wines – and also various pulleys and hoists from the ship. It is really fascinating and well worth visiting.
Large wooden door from the inner courtyard at Kyrenia Castle – the plates behind the door handles were in the form of multi-petalled rosettes
I’ve only added a few photos of rosettes which I found at the castle – all from various architectural elements – as I’m now going to take you back to Nicosia to visit a wonderful Lapidary Museum which I found down a little side street in the Turkish sector. It’s only small but has a great collection of stone carvings from all over Cyprus. I’ll let the photographs tell their own story here.
A carved stone block – probably from a Christian church on the island
Carved stone block in museum courtyard
I’ll continue the journey around Cyprus in Part 2 with a look at some of the churches and mosques of the north, and castles and museums in the south.
Look forward to travelling with you again soon.