Art, Creativity, Photography, Travel, Writing

Posts tagged ‘Cyprus’

Water is life


“Water is life” proclaim the advertising slogans.

It’s ironic then that one brand of bottled water, Hayat (which means life in Turkish), together with all other bottled waters, should be responsible for so much pollution.

A couple of years a I took a series of photos of marine litter for a photography competition on this subject. Ultimately it is, of course, the human race which is responsible for marine (and terrestrial) pollution. You have only to walk along any of the beaches on the island of Cyprus to see that this is a problem. Rubbish thrown into the sea at sea from small fishing boats to huge liners or container ships ends up being carried with the currents on to the shore, to add to the accumulation of all the rubbish already dumped by so many care-less people visiting the beaches.

On a beautiful, sunny, autumn day I was the only person on this beach, which stretches for miles and would be so beautiful if it weren’t for all the rubbish – plastic bottles and bags by the thousand, fishing line, shoes, pens, food containers, medicine bottles, glass, piping and a dead dog – to name but a few, polluted the beach of Akdeniz, one of the few remaining beaches where caretta caretta turtles come to breed.





In the rock pools where only seaweeds drifting in the current or small fish darting in the shallows should be seen, also drifted swathes of plastic.


“Message in a bottle” – it was sadly only too obvious that bottles were the message …. It took me less than 15 minutes on a small stretch of beach to collect enough bottle tops to spell out this message:


At the end of my walk I was appalled and depressed by the mess. It’s no wonder people don’t want to use the beaches. It’s all very well putting up noticeboards encouraging people to keep our environment clean but where were the rubbish bins? Children and adults too, need to be educated to take their rubbish home with them. It’s not difficult to do. Perhaps if we lived in Singapore we would all think differently – littering of any sort there is a punishable offence ….

David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series really brought home to thousands of people the damage we are doing to our seas, galvanising people into action – organising beach litter clean-up days, refusing to use plastic bags, re-using water bottles, rejecting plastic packaging on fruit and vegetables, refusing straws in drinks in their local bars, etc. Please do your bit to help the planet. We only have one life.

one word photo challenge: curtain

A few of my curtain photos


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curtains are used to protect the icons in chapels from the glare of the sun

See how other people interpreted this challenge from the links here

travel theme: history

Nicosia or Lefkoşa (depending on whether you are a Greek or a Turkish Cypriot) is the capital of the island of Cyprus. Unfortunately it is a divided capital and has been since 1963. A narrow band of no-man’s land, known as the “green line” separates the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sections of the city. The same “green line” extends east and west from the city forming a boundary buffer zone patrolled by the UN between the northern and southern parts of the island.

The old city is surrounded by walls, built by the Venetians, with the gates into the city at strategic points. This shot was taken near the Costanza gate.
much of the northern part of the city is in a bad state of repair
house backs

small old mosque

interior courtyard of the büyük han, formerly the main trading and staging post and now a cultural centre
the forbidden zone – it is hoped that at some point in the future this area can be restored, repopulated and rejuvenated

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sculpture, south of the Ledra Street crossing point

shade sails provide welcome shade in the heat of the summer


the Phanorameni church in the south part of the walled city

fountain in the more affluent South, outside the walled part of the city

in the south

stencilled logo


5th century sculpture of lions attacking a bull

female figurine found in one of the ancient sites

modern reproduction of a bronze age ceramic vessel

If you are interested in learning more about Nicosia, Wikipedia has a fascinating article

Discover more history with Ailsa and followers

Sunday Stills: entrances and gateways

Entrances and gateways are designed to make an impact on the visitor:


entrances to Kykkos monastery, southern Cyprus

entrance to one of the temples in ancient Efes (Ephesus), Turkey

entrance to the great library, Efes, Turkey

Lycian tombs, half way up the cliff face, at Dalyan, Turkey

facade and main entrance to the cathedral/mosque in Famagusta, southern Cyprus (the cathedral was converted into a mosque with the addition of a minaret, the removal of the stained glass windows which were replaced with transparent geometric patterned windows, and the removal of all the pews to allow for carpets to be put on the floor

entrance to part of the Sala Kaeo Kou statuary garden, Thailand

on the way from Bikaner to Mandawa in India, we drove past this rather garish temple entrance

entrance gate to Jaipur, India

Visit Sunday Stills to see more wonderful entrances and gateways from other bloggers around the world.

Friday finds: silk worm cocoon art

We recently visited the Turkish sector of the divided city of Nicosia/Lefkosa in Cyprus. An unusual art form is practised here: the creation of pictures using silk worm cocoons

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Nicosia/Lefkosa (Nicosia is the Greek name and Lefkosa is the Turkish name) is unique in that it is the only (apparently) existing divided and occupied city with the UN holding the limbo section in the middle. At the crossing point is this sculpture.

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It’s easy to cross from one part of the city to another but you have to go through passport control on both sides each time. I am always struck by how different the two sides are. The Greek side (perhaps due to its EU membership) is much more modern, affluent (and expensive) while the Turkish side retains an older, timeless quality. But both sides have their charm and some very interesting buildings – still to be explored.

travel theme: symbol

Nelson Mandela’s death prompted Ailsa to challenge us to share images of what ‘symbol’ meant to us.

The dove and olive branch are found together in the account of Noah’s ark in the Bible, and were used symbolically by early Christians and eventually were used as a secular peace symbol. This was popularized by Pablo Picasso in 1949 and became widely used in the post-World War II peace movement. Beginning with the Egyptians, the dove was as symbol of quiet innocence. The Chinese felt the dove was a symbol of peace and long life. To early Greeks and Romans, doves represented love and devotion, and care for a family. The dove was the sacred animal of Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of love and friendship. The dove also symbolized the peaceful soul for many cultures.

In Cyprus, sadly divided into two, it seems that peace is a long way away and there are many symbols of the desire for peace to be seen around the island.




Visit Where’s my backpack for some more wonderful symbols

Daily Post: daily photo prompt: WORDS

The Daily Post daily prompt: photographers show us WORDS

words photographed in Barcelona

words in Ledra Street, Nicosia, Cyprus

inscription on the fountain of Hasan Kavizada Hüseyin Efendi in Kyrenia, northern Cyprus

travel theme: pathways

This week Ailsa challenged us to share our photos of pathways.

a cobbled path in Joucas, Provence

path inside the chateau of Chartreuse de Bonpas, Provence

path in the village of Bellapais, northern Cyprus

Birdcage Walk, Bristol

the spiral garden, Parc de Wesserling, Alsace

Easter in Cyprus

We recently went to stay with a friend who lives in the southern part of Cyprus.  The last time we had been was in June when most of the greenery had already been burned dry by the fierce sun. This time however, and after an unusually wet winter, now in Spring time the island was very green and there were masses of wild flowers everywhere.

We arrived on Greek Easter Sunday and were whisked off for lunch with friends of our hostess.

Once the traditional greeting has been exchanged “Christos Anesti,” friends and neighbors exchange the same, saying “Christos Anesti” and, in response, “Alithos Anesti” (truly, He is risen) or “Alithinos o Kyrios” (true is the Lord) we tucked into a hearty lunch which consisted of different barbecued meats (pork, lamb and chicken), roast potatoes, grilled halloumi cheese, homemade ravioli, tahini salad, hummus and cucumber and yoghurt, salads (the best one was made with just coriander and rocket with a lemon and oil dressing). Afterwards we played a game called “tsougrisma” and it involves two players and red eggs (the eggs are usually dyed with onion skins). Each player holds a red egg, and one taps the end of her/his egg lightly against the end of the other player’s egg. The goal is to crack the opponent’s egg. When one end is cracked, the winner uses the same end of her/his egg to try to crack the other end of the opponent’s egg. The player who successfully cracks the eggs of the other players is declared the winner and, it is said, will have good luck during the year.

Most of the Greek Cypriots in the village have spent many years in the UK and have brought up their families there. If you closed your eyes and listened to the conversation going on around you, you could be forgiven for thinking you were back in Birmingham or Glasgow and many of the villagers had returned to celebrate Easter (which is celebrated even more than Christmas). Evidence of this was provided in the form of decorations on roundabouts, roadside verges and in the villages themselves.

After our huge lunch we went for a walk around the village, a wonderful photo opportunity for me.

olive oil tins make excellent containers for geraniums

the prettiest garden in the village

an old cart

two different types of mimosa (wattle) trees

view of the countryside behind the village

a perfect example of the “Serpentine road” if ever I saw one

a stop for more refreshments, a chat, and a sit-down in the late afternoon sun

A skein of geese or maybe some other large birds flew overhead

The next night a huge barbecue was provided for all the villagers, with free food and drink. I have never seen so much meat on a barbecue before!

A dance by firelight in the “square” in front of the church. Are these orbs I have captured in the photo?