Spirals of Time

For some reason my attention today has been on the Roman Empire and its rise and fall. Here in North Cyprus there are remnants of Roman occupation all over the place – from the huge complex ruin of Salamis on the south coast to five minutes from here where I live on the north coast to view the Roman fish baths and rock tombs nearby (although I’m not sure if the rock tombs were associated with Roman or earlier history).

To me it’s a reminder that nothing is fixed, that we are now seeing the dying stages of the US and British empires and the rise of India and China, not overnight of course, but underway in a slow, inexorably process.

It’s the same in our own lives – things which once assumed importance can die away to be replaced by new beliefs, practices and identity, in the great spiral of life. Once we recognise the impermanence of life, we can move more freely and accept the new, knowing when it is time to let go of that which no longer serves us.

Grasses Whisper History

Grasses Whisper History (2)

I created this image from a photo I took of grasses close to Lambousa, an ancient historical site close to where I live in Alsancak, on the north coast of North Cyprus.

We visited this area a while back – it’s about five minutes from where we live – to view the Roman fish ponds, built around two thousand years ago, and rock tombs whose age I don’t know, but they’re pretty old, perhaps earlier than the Roman fish ponds.

Lambousa was a large, wealthy port probably established in 1000 BC, and its fortunes fluctuated until its inhabitants moved inland to avoid conflict with various forces invading the island as Cyprus has always been of strategic interest to the various rulers in this area – Arab, Turkish, Venetians, Lusignans, British and Roman, among others.

I have used hand-prints before because they remind me of those who  have lived before us – an energy imprint, if you like, of our predecessors in history, and when you visit Lambousa, you become aware of the ancient origins of this area – not just the rock tombs and Roman fish ponds, but the Roman pottery littered around the grass and sand.

I have added a black, uneven frame to depict looking back at images of the past, while the two hand-prints at the top portray past ancestors and the single hand-print in the middle represents the future ancestors.  The turquoise patterns at the top represent heritage from our ancestors – so many inputs from so many strains of ancestry.

I guess if we were to illuminate the strands of DNA in everyone, which is represented by the stars around the central image, we’d find that we’re all interwoven, regardless of race, colour, size, sexuality, religion, and so on. It seems to me the ties that bind us as humanity are far more important and grace-full than the issues used to divide us.

Wildish North Cyprus – Be A Weed!

Orange Blossom
Orange blossom – actually in our communal garden
Daisies
Yellow daisies
Be a Weed
Be a Weed

Lambousa - Wild cyclamen 1
Wild cyclamen, actually found at the Lambousa rock tomb & Roman fish pond site
Grasses 1
Wild grasses
Pink plant
Pink flowers – have no idea what this plant is.

Co-incidentally, as I was getting material together for this post, I came across the “Be a Weed” photo which I think is appropriate for this post!

I’ve been meaning to have a wander around the paddock next to our apartment for a while as it’s looking really lovely in spring – bright yellow carpet of flowers, grasses waving in the breeze, and in the distance we can see a tree with white blossom but have no idea what it is. North Cyprus is what I call a wildish place because it’s not kept in order, plants grow any where in any way and there’s a sort of chaos in the way areas of green space grow.

There are very few neatly manicured areas, more like chaotic disorganisation which is quite charming in its own way. I know it drives some ex-pats mad but I quite like the laissez-faire attitude towards vacant areas.

I didn’t wander far because the field is really overgrown and there are all sorts of obstacles in the undergrowth, not very conducive to long rambles, particularly with my dodgy back.  The paddock is also full of “camel plant” which my husband said was so named because it was too spiky for even camels to eat, they gave it a wide berth when he lived in Cyprus as a kid in the post-war period.

Wild Fennel starting to sprout flowers
Wild Fennel starting to sprout flowers
Wild Fennel Flowers
Wild Fennel Flowers

So here are a few photos of this wild little area, complete with my companion on my foraging expdition: Jezebel, our first rescue pet, who is usually very stately but who had a grand time hopping and skpping among the overgrown plants.

Jezebel in paddock
Jezebel in paddock
Wild cyclamen at Lambousa rock tombs & Roman fish ponds
Wild cyclamen at Lambousa rock tombs & Roman fish ponds
Camel Bush
Camel Bush
Jezebel in paddock
Jezebel in paddock
Paddock beside our apartment
Paddock beside our apartment
White-blossomed tree
White-blossomed tree
Wild grapevine sending out new leaves
Wild grapevine sending out new leaves

Lambousa – Ancient Roman Port in North Cyprus

Since I mentioned Lambousa in my last post, I thought I’d share some photos of this fascinating piece of history.

Lambousa was an ancient port with around 10,000 inhabitants and was renowned for the wealth of its inhabitants. Unfortunately it used to get raided a lot and eventually its people moved inland to the foothills of the Besparmak Mountain range, which runs parallel to the coast of North Cyprus, and established the village of Lapta which still thrives today.

We live about five minutes away from  Lambousa but as it’s tucked away on the coast, we only recently became aware of its existence.  We turned off the main road to Lapta and drove down a side road towards the Mediterranean, turning off just before Mare Monte, a former hotel, to head down a dirt track to the coast. There we came across open rock tombs in the earth and further on rock tombs with various numbers of individual tombs dug into the ground within the openings to the tomb space.  We also came across a still-existing Roman fish pond where the sea breaks over the edge and stale water drains away at the side, so that fish catches could be kept fresh.

I think what I liked about this site was the very peaceful feeling, and a sense of tranquillity when you walk into the quiet area where most of the rock tombs are situated. I find it fascinating to see history right in front of my eyes, and to be walking where centuries ago people lived, earned a living, went fishing and managed to amass quite a bit of wealth.

Here are my photos:

Lambousa - Interior, rock tomb
Lambousa – Interior, rock tomb, with small tomb for child at top left.
Lambousa - Interior, rock tomb 4
Lambousa – Interior, rock tomb
Lambousa - Roman Fish Pool 1
Roman Fish Pool
Lambousa - Roman Fish Pool - Copy - Copy
Roman Fish Pool
Lambousa - Rock Tomb 8
Entrance, Rock tomb
Lambousa - Interior, rock tomb
Interior, rock tomb
Lambousa - Open tomb 1
Open tomb
Lambousa - Open tomb 3
Open tomb
Lambousa - Rock  Tomb 4
Entrances to rock tombs
Lambousa - Rock Tomb 1
Rock Tomb Entrance
Lambousa - Open tomb 2
Open tomb
Lambousa - Rock Tomb 7 - Copy - Copy
Entrance to Rock Tomb
Lambousa - Rock Tomb 3
Entrance to Rock Tomb, at the end of the long open area, on three sides, where the rock tombs are located.
Lambousa - Rock Tomb 2
Another Rock Tomb Entrance