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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 317

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HASSELQUIST. 307 saw the sea on one side and the whole island on the other—a grand view. On ray return I expressed my surprise that the Franks had no country houses on the mountain for a change of air, especially when living in the most unwholesome and disagreeable spot in the Island. They told me they had never thought of country houses, nor of where to build such, but they admitted that my choice was probably the best that could be made. It is true that one could with difficulty build on the top of the mountain, which is all rocks and stones, amidst which the monks have just found room for their hermitage. But below there are many excellent sites. The lìchen (Jichenes imbricati) was the only natural curiosity 1 found on the mountain. It is rare, as far as I remember, in the Levant. Famagusta ought to be seen, less for itself than because it was formerly the strongest place in the island, and much talked of in history. Τ went there on June 13 with an English merchant of Aleppo and the interpreter of the English Consulate. We followed the coast, travelled all night, and arrived before daybreak. As- the gates are never opened before the sun is up, we waited at the house of a Creek deacon outside the town. The Turks here, as at Jerusalem and Damascus, forbid any Christian to enter the town on horseback. To conform to this absurd custom we alighted at the head of the bridge, and remounted our mules on the other side. At once we set out to examine the ramparts and all the quarters of the city. Mr Frudvord, an English merchant, had built at Larnaca the finest house in the island of Cyprus, in which was one of the most spacious saloons that I had seen in the Levant. He had caused several others to be built between Larnaca and Famagusta: most of thein had fallen into ruin. The first thing that we did on arriving at the latter town was to call on the Governor, to obtain permission to visit the fortress. He was as ill-looking as his surroundings, a man of low type, not a bit the Governor, for he had no crowd of servants such as Turks always have about them, however little their fortune may allow of it. The Governor of Famagusta was not one of these. Officers of this nation are wont to take from the military chest of their district enough to supply their wants, without troubling to think whether or no the money is owing to the soldiers. This man had but two or three hundred soldiers under his command, so that his revenues were very modest. The fort has not been repaired since the Turks took it from the Venetians, and is falling into ruin. I saw about two hundred cannon, not one of them serviceable. The garrison was composed of three hundred men, celled Levanti. They serve in the navy, and are the worst troops that the Grand Signor has in his pay. The galley harbour has been wholly destroyed. I never saw .so many true aloes as on the ramparts. We went next to see the church of S. Sophia, which the Turks have turned into a mosque. It is a Gothic edifice, and seems to have had ite merits bnt it was injured some years since by an earthquake, and the Turks, who are the worst architects in the world, have repaired it as they could. The tombs, monuments and chapels built by the Christians are entirely destroyed. I saw on the pavement a few Latin epitaphs in Gothic characters, and others in modern Greek: these were close to the threshold, which Christians are forbidden to cress. Opposite the church are the ruins of a palace, the former residence of the Venetian Governors; one may still see in it several columns of granite and porphyry, and on some points of the wall the Lion of Venice in low or high relief. The town is in far worse condition than the fort; all the houses built by the Venetians are utterly demolished or deserted. There are but three hundred inhabitants, chiefly Turks, who occupy the miserable remains of the famous city of Famagusta..

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