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The fort of
Population and inhabitants.
Larnaca is well supplied with water; it is conveyed into the town by aqueducts, and is of good quality, and sufficient in quantity. Should the town increase, and a further supply become necessary, it is worthy of notice that this is one of the places where Gaudry suggests that water might be found by artesian borings of sufficient depth to reach the miocene beds of white marl."
About 12 miles west of Larnaca is Monte S. Croce. 2,300 feet above the sea; here there is a Greek convent which is much resorted to in summer as a sanatarium, for the heat in the town is frequently very great, though abated to a certain extent by the sea and land breezes, which generally blow at regular intervals.
Building materials of various descriptions can be obtained in the neighbourhood of Larnaca, and it is said that there is no difficulty in transporting them to the places where they are required: this subject is dealt with in Chapter IX.
The only defence possessed by Larnaca at present, is a small and insignificant fort, built in 1625; it is situated at the extreme west end of the Marina, on the right of the custom-house quay, and close to the water's edge. It is square, roomy, and has strong walls of white masonry, it is well supplied with water, but is perfectly useless for defence, having no earthen protection, and could consequently be quickly demolished by the fire of heavy naval guns. Its armament consists of eleven long †. green with verdigris, and caked with rust; also four field pieces used for firing salutes. Many of the gun carriages are broken, and all are cumbersome and rotten. Two of the guns are of English manufacture, and bear the initials G.R. Some of the larger guns are mounted to fire through embrasures, and others are en barbette on the top of the fort, which is reached by a broad zig-zag slope. The only use of this fort to us, is as a barrack, there being excellent accommodation for about 80 men, with officers' quarters.
The roadstead of Larnaca is described in the chapter upon the Coast, page 67, and full particulars concerning the commerce are given in Chapter XIII.
Limasol is situated on the south coast, in Akrotiri Bay, which is enclosed between Capes Carrubiere and Gata, and is about 42 miles west of Larnaca.
The town contains a 'population of about 6,000 persons, of whom about one-third, and these the poorest class, are Turks; among the Greek population there are several wealthy merchants, who trade in grain, and the wine of the country.
Limasol is generally considered the best situated town in Cyprus, it is more European in its appearance than any other place in the island, and all travellers describe it as comparatively neat, clean, and wholesome, with tolerably well built houses of clay and stone. Limasol has but one street; it is a long line of shops and cafés which run parallel to the beach, and behind it are most of
* “Géologie de L'Ile de Chypre,” by Albert Gaudry (1859) page 175. Page 16 of Captain Maurico's translation of this work.
the best dwelling-houses, all standing in gardens. The bazaar is small,
Baffo is situated at the south-western extremity of the island on the site of the ancient Nea Paphos, which, under the Romans was the chief town of the western division of the island; but of late years Basso has been almost abandoned, and has lately been reported to be a ruined town containing not more than 100 inhabitants; scarcely any vestiges of its former importance remain, and the only relic of even the Venetian period is the church of St. George. This locality is famous in ancient history as the favourite residence of Aphrodite or Venus; here was her most celebrated
temple, and on a hill near Baffo is a ruin which the inhabitants
call the tomb of Venus. During the reign of the Emperor Augustus, the town was destroyed by an earthquake, and was afterwards rebuilt. In Paphos, St. Paul converted Sergius Paulus the Roman deputy, and here Elymas the sorcerer, was struck blind
for endeavouring to frustrate St. Paul's attempts to christianize
Cerinea, or Kerynia, is a small town situated on the north coast of the island, about 14 miles by road from Nicosia, and at the foot of the steep slopes of the mountains which here border the shore, and stands in the midst of a beautiful and productive country.
Cerinea is but a small place, and its population is said not to exceed 800 persons; it has been described as a cluster of old, tall, and massive houses built almost touching the sea, with a fortress, a ruined palace, a mosque, and the mere fragments of a mole and lighthouse. There are however, indications that it was once a large and fine town, the outskirts abound with ancient tombs, and whereever excavations have been made valuable antiquities have been discovered; its origin has been traced to the Dorian colonists under
Praxander and Cepheus, and it was the capital of one of the nine
petty kingdoms into which the island was once divided.
It is constructed of excellent stone, and in the old days must have been a place of great strength, with quarters for a very large garrison. On the north and east sides it is washed by the sea, and is defended on the south and west sides by a deep ditch; there is a gate on the west side.
Besides cellars, which were probably used as dungeons, there are two tiers of lofty casemated chambers and a flat roof upon which the guns were also worked; each story of casemates has embrasures, so there were three tiers of fire.
The armament is a strange assortment of old guns; there is one long bronze piece, the exterior of which is sixteen-sided; there. are old mortars for throwing large stone balls, as well as bronze pieces of the time of the Lusignans, and others which belonged to the Venetians.
General di Cesnola remarks that Cerinea is “almost exclusively inhabited by Mussulmans, who, with the garrison, enjoy a very bad reputation—second only to that of their co-religionists at New Paphos.”
General di Cesnola describes Morpho as a town containing from 550 to 600 houses. It is situated at the western extremity of the Messaria Plain, and near the shore of Morpho Bay. The inhabitants are mostly Christians; there is a large Greek convent close outside the town with a school for 200 boys. Several streams flowing from the eastward supply Morpho with water, and are used for the irrigation of the surrounding fields; much grain is grown in the neighbourhood, and the district is considered one of the most productive in the island; madder roots have been cultivated, and until they were superseded by the Alizarine dye, were found to be very remunerative. The shore of the bay is low and sandy, and is suitable for disembarkation from boats, but, with winds from west to north, there is always a heavy sea rolling in.
The village of Kuklia stands upon the site of the ancient Palae Paphos, and is situated about nine miles south east of Baffo on the road leading to Limasol. Under the Venetians there was a considerable town here, but scarcely anything now remains except a heap of ruined houses, and the pillars and foundations of ancient churches. There are only about 30 small stone houses standing, these are inhabited partly by Turks and partly by Greeks, all of whom are of a very poor class.
Löher describes the place and its vicinity as a “scene of desolation.” The surrounding heights have flowering shrubs here and
there, interspersed with palms and other trees, but cultivation.
appears to be neglected.
Character of the inhabitants.
Dali is a small village standing on the site of the ancient Idalium, on the southern edge of the Messaria plain, and about ten miles south of Nicosia. The river Idalia passes along the northern side of the village, and is a fertilizing agent for the whole neighbourhood. There was formerly a large temple of Venus here, it is now a mere heap of ruins. General di Cesmola made this place his summer residence for several years, and praises it very highly. At one time the great forest of Idalium covered this spot, and #. country eastward, but now trees are only to be seen close to running water or wells, and in the immediate vicinity of the villages.
The village of Evrikou deserves mention, not on account of its size, but because of its excellent position. It stands in a beautiful valley, 1,700 feet above the sea, amongst fruitful and luxuriant pastures, about mid-way between Mount Troodos and the Gulf of Pentagia or Morpho. The population is about 700, and the inhabitants are a very fine race, supposed to be purely descended from the ancient Greek colonists. The surrounding country is extremely picturesque, and is well wooded with plane, oak, elm, poplar, ash, alder, and other trees. The village is said to be one of the pleasantest places in the island, and is well suited for a summer residence. The valley is well watered and cultivated; it could support ten times the number of its present inhabitants. Mulberry trees and vines are cultivated, and cotton, wine, and silk are sent from here to the markets. Unger, Kotschy, and Won Löher are all loud in their praises of this spot.
The foregoing are the towns and villages of Cyprus, which on account of their trade, situation, population, defences, or association with ancient history, are the most important places in the island; but besides these there are a great number of villages, some of which are populous, and form the chief towns of districts. According to Vice-Consul White's report of 1863, the total number of towns and villages in the island was then 605, of which 118 were inhabited solely by Mussulmans, 248 by Christians only, and 239 had a mixed population. The following are some of the principal villages which have not yet been mentioned: many of these are described in the next chapter, which deals with the principal inland communications of the island. Lefca, a village near the southern corner of Morpho Bay. Politou Khrysokho, a village near the western extremity of the island, and on the gulf of the same name. Lapethus, on the north coast, nine miles west of Cerinea. Rythraea, famous for its spring, mine miles north-east of Nicosia. Athienou, on the road between Larnaca and Nicosia, and about