Cyprus: Historical and Descriptive.
From the earliest times to the present day». New York., 1878
This city, called by the Greeks Levkosia, and by
the Turks Lefkoscha, impressed me more than any
other Oriental town I have visited. An indescribable blending of Eastern and Western characteristics
meets the eye at every turn, and imparts a familiar
appearance to the strange and interesting scene.
How shall I give an idea of the uproar that
roused me from my slumbers early next morning?
Trumpets were sounding, muezzins were chanting in
drawling tones from the tops of all the minarets,
countless crows and ravens combined with cocks
and hens to outvie in their performance the braying
of asses and groaning of camels. Whilst over all
clanged the bells from every belfry in the city.
The following day being Easter-eve, this music commenced at midnight, and continued without interruption till morning, varied, however, by the firing
of every old gun that could be mustered for the
In passing through the streets of the town, I observed through the gates of the high-walled gardens
many varieties of fruit trees, apples, pears, and figs;
orange, lemon, mulberry, and pomegranate trees also
lent their blossoms to give the finishing touches to
the scene. The garden walls are high, but not so
lofty as to exclude from view the slender white
minarets, dark cypresses, and waving palms that
they inclose. Half Nikosia is made up of these
lovely gardens. Everywhere water-pipes are gently
pouring forth their offerings to the thirsty ground,
and the whole town is redolent of perfume. The
Cyprian sky resembles that of the Nile Valley in its
cloudless, deep blue, and is equally beautiful in its
clear expanse; while as for the climate, a very few
days in its soft, delicious, balmy air makes one understand why, of all the Grecian islands, Cyprus should have been allotted the privilege of being regarded as the favorite residence of the Goddess of
Love. At first I felt inclined to linger in this lovely
spot and make myself acquainted with its literature;
but a nearer view showed me my time would not be
profitably spent. Society there was none, the few
Europeans the city contained being entirely engaged
in striving to make a little money.
Domestic life in Cyprus is generally confined
within the precincts of its beautiful gardens, and in
most of its relations is strictly Turkish.