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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 82

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78 Salines [CH. think the characters are Pelasgian, or Etruscan, rather than Phoenician. I have laid before them the facts, and leave gentlemen of letters to exercise their wisdom thereon. A mile from the church of St Lazarus is the great Salt Lake. Its old circumference was twelve miles; now a great part of it is dry and cultivated. The extent over which salt is now formed is little more than two miles, and it is about two hundred paces from the sea. The winter rains fill up this hollow, and in summer the heat of the sun congeals the surface to the depth of a palm, in some spots the salt covers the same depth of water. It is quite certain that the sea water does not get into it, and there used to be several ditches which carried the rain water to the sea, when this collected in such quantity that it might have hindered the formation of salt. These ditches are now out of repair, as well as the bridges which crossed them. In August they break up the lake, and begin to extract the salt, taking care that it shall be all removed before the first rains, which would melt it. What they collect they pile in heaps like pyramids a few paces beyond the border of the lake. There it gets hard and resists all the winter rains, and in spring vessels begin to arrive from Syria to load it. This product belongs to the Governor of the island, who lets the lake every year to the highest bidder. The lessee, as soon as his contract has expired, and he has not sold all his salt, cannot sell any after the commencement of the new lease. The surplus however remains his own, and he may leave it where it is until he obtains the lease again, but he generally agrees to sell it to the new lessee. In the days of the Venetians enough of this natural product was extracted every year to freight 70 vessels. On the borders of the Salt Lake is a fine Turkish mosque called the Tekye. It is of octangular shape, and no expense has been spared to make the building solid : the foundations are good, and the stones large and squared. The Turks

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