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The Island of Cyprus has a long and fascinating history. Known as the pearl of the Mediterranean Sea it has been the home to multiple civilizations throughout the ages. Of the many impressive eras which arose from the copper island during the centuries, the Greek and Byzantine could easily be considered at the top. However, there have been many ambitious and aggressive neighbors in the history of this island. All have settled at their respective location and provide colorful pieces from their specific eras like tiny puzzle pieces in a master known as modern Cyprus.
Because of the relatively small size of the island and its strategic location, it was conquered by almost everyone in the area as they gained power. Many invaders, settlers, and immigrants have come here over the centuries, Romans, Greeks, Genoese, Ottomans, Lusignan, Byzantines, Ottomans, and the island has seen Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Lusignans, Genoese, Venetians, Ottomans, British, and Turks wanted to take a piece of Cyprus for themselves. Instead, it seems all of the intended conquerors has only become yet another exhibit in the historical timeline of the resilient island which managed to take them all one at a time. They stand almost equal now in the timeless display of their individual “blinks of time” – as artifacts and architecture which are littered majestically across the beloved landscape.
As a result of the multiple civilization shifts, plentiful historical artifacts and sites remain today as those remnants as mentioned earlier of the past. Cyprus has one of the most extensive varieties of ancient cultures on earth – a butterfly collection of past warriors. Those who would have conquered then now manage to capture the hearts and minds of those who travel today. The perspective of it all – the very ones who attempted to reshape the world forever leaving only their tiny mark right next to the next one virtually undetectable significance despite their initial levels of resolve and ambition. Our island has become a showcase for them all. When it comes to retracing history, it is just another reason why our island of Cyprus is probably the greatest place on earth.
Where History, Legend, and Myth Become One:
With Greek amphitheaters such as the one at Kourion, famous cities of the past such as Salamis, and sanctuaries like those of Apollo in Limassol there is practically no limit to the incredible menu of old world delights on the local menu. The extraordinarily detailed craftsmanship of Venetian walls adorn some sections of cities, and the spectacular bridges and stoic castles are scattered across the countryside like magical breadcrumbs from a children’s story just waiting for people to find them one after the other. Our beautiful island is a maze of amazement with no official entry or exit – just constant delight no matter which way you go.
If the standard history line was not strong enough throw in legends like Aphrodite’s Rock and other local places with famous stories behind them – where the gods were once openly worshipped, and a new level of intrigue is found. They add a unique dimension to the multiple cultures. Sites marked where battles of the Trojan War rumbled on, and those half men half god graced the land with superior powers leaving their stories to passed by words, songs and art through eternity. How many places on earth can boast of so many examples of the excellence of mankind preserved right next to that of the immortals? If your first answer was Cyprus, then we have a bingo!
Adding the birthplace of Aphrodite, near Paphos, to a list of already unparalleled historical sites is exactly like finding a supercharged trip back through time traveling in an entirely new quality of speed. To think that in these very waters the gods and immortals of countless tales of old interacted with humankind one on one sets the island in a one of a kind category of its own. It is more of a hybrid between phantasy and reality, but as opposed to nothing to offer up as evidence there are great rocks and sites where altars and temples existed providing a traceable map through time. The map lines weave back and forth between fantasy, fiction and fact in an intricate pattern too complicated to separate one from the others.
The Mystery of Blinking:
As I stroll through the temples where man worshipped gods for centuries the echoes from a different place and time spring forward in time and they feel just as alive today as if it were a festival from two thousand years prior. The remnants of a time when most of the world remained a mystery compared to the technological answers and validations of knowledge today might remind us just how relative things tend to be through the passage of time. When I frequent this same site in 20 years will I look back upon it with new technology? Probably – but there will be no difference in the power and gravity of this location – those taxes have long been paid by the passing moans and cries of those freed now into the surroundings of the island – those who dwell among the clouds as memories and shadows of our past.
Perhaps this footage taken today might be examined in less than 100 years and recognized to be almost as primitive as that “blink” which lasted nearly twenty centuries. If speed through time were constant, then each eye-opening experience would place the next generation of enlightenment on schedule with the one before. With the thirst for man’s knowledge being quenched at unprecedented rates might each blink cover thousands of years?
Where Blemishes Fade with Beauty Reborn:
That my friends is the beauty of our island – the very meat of it. Time here is almost immune to the easily tangled and twisted passing years of parts of the world still young. Those peoples with histories spanning only a few lightning flash centuries are not capable of grasping that of an island whose maturity was reached thousands of years before the name of their nation had yet to be spoken.
Cyprus has seen so much and changed so little as the land and waters have absorbed the punishment and regenerated each season without leaving a mark. That with which humanity imposed upon the ground with his iron will lay soft as a backdrop of an island forever beautiful – gracious enough to display those relics of the past for all to come and see.
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