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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 34

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on charity : the French consul sends them yearly about 15 Tuscan crowns. It is worth noting that all the churches, Greek and Latin, stand in a walled enclosure. In the Greek churches one enters this kind of cloister through one or more doors just two braccia high and one and a half wide, purposely built so low that the Turks might not be able to bring in their horses or other animals. You see the same practice throughout Syria even in the Latin churches, but in Cyprus the gates of these enclosures can be high and wide, for there is no fear of any intrusion on the part of the Turks. Churches, convents, hospices and mosques are all built of stone. But houses and stores have for a braccio's depth of foundation, and two braccia above the ground level courses of stone laid in gypsum. The rest is built of bricks, made of earth taken anywhere and mixed with water and chopped straw. They are made in forms as in Italy, a braccio long and half a braccio wide : they are not burned but left to dry in the sun just where made. The same earth mixed with straw and used fresh is used to bind them together. This mode of building prevails throughout the island, except in the few villages which have stone handy, but they use the same mortar. Without the houses take a melancholy look from the colour of the earth, but within they are airy and comfortable, and plastered with the whitest possible gypsum, which is found abundantly in the hills near Larnaca. They are rarely more than two stories high, a ground and first floor : the roofs are made of earth mixed with clay, which during the winter rains plugs up the fissures caused by the summer heat. These roofs are half a braccio thick, supported by stout beams, with cross rafters and a double reed mat. But if thé rains are long and continuous the inmates are obliged to make frequent repairs. However houses so built and roofed resist the shock of earth-quakes, which stone houses do not, as quite recent experience has taught the Cypriots. The floors are paved with a very soft 30 Of the City of Larnaca [CH.

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