Did you know

27 Dec 2022

Did You Know? Kyrenia

Strolling through Kyrenia at sunset one would see the fishermen gathering their nets at the harbor, the Cypriots finding their way back home through the narrow lanes, the women sitting at the entrance of their homes crocheting lace or recounting the latest scandal, children chasing each other on the seaside promenade, while young girls stood under the knight’s statue at Trypiti hoping it would pee on them so they could get married within the year…Foreign visitors walking through this narrow passage leading to the harbor were warned that it may be fatal; within the year they would get married to a local, so the Turkish song goes:

If you should come to Kyrenia

Don’t enter the walls.

If you should enter the walls

Don’t stay long;

If you should stay long

Don’t get married.

If you should get married

Don’t have children.

But there was also a different scene: British snobs were on their way to the Kyrenia Club for their pink gins, British bohemians were heading for the Harbour Club at the port for their cool beers, Andreas Hatzipetrou, alias Texas, was seen with Mrs. Gomez at his side escorting her to dinner at the Dome where a group of elderly ladies were ready to attack with gossip. Elderly artists were gathering their easels, paint brushes and palettes happy with their day’s work; Gray, Sigmund Pollizer, Hermione Hammond, Marjorie Congreve, Selincourt, the “Hatter” as he was best known, would soon be exchanging views over drinks somewhere in the vicinity. And then there were the residents of the “House of Sin”; Humphrey Bourne, Ozzie Darrel and a once Royal guardsman would parade along the quay hoping for new adventures. One would hear all sorts of noises, voices chatting, fishermen teasing each other for the catch of the day, Mrs. Ella Woscester scolding her new servant, Lady Loch bargaining over a piece of antiquity for her collection, Courtney Manifold screaming at the hodja of Jafer djami opposite his house who was calling the faithful to prayer…’’ Shut up, for God’s sake, shut up!! One cannot find any peace in this place. I offer 500 pounds to whoever will demolish this djami and rebuilt it outside Kyrenia.’’

The ‘Did You Know’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus).

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