Thursday, 17 November 2016

Cyprus - My 7 day circuit across the country - Day 2 morning (cont.) North Cyprus - Salamis - St. Barnabas 's Monastery - The Monastery gardens; the Archaeological Museum and St. Barnabas's Mausoleum - The 6th of November 2016


As we walked out of the Icon Museum we stepped onto the Monastery's gardens and its courtyard, surrounded on three sides by buildings which are said to have housed the monks and pilgrims who came to pray at the Monastery in the past.

We stopped for a short while by the arcades so as to drink a glass of pomegranate pressed juice, which tasted deliciously fresh while watching a local lady rolling the dough. 

We then walked into the first of three rooms (former monks's cells) turned into an Archaeological Museum displaying numerous  artefacts spanning from the Neolithic Age to the Ottoman Empire period arranged in chronological order.

Our attention was once more drawn to the rather curious items or special objects as according to Michel. I was particularly taken by the bowls with decorative figures, some of  the Archaic ware designs or even those of Byzantine influence on the glazed ware, as well as the terracotta figurines (namely the horse with wheels rathern than hooves) just to mention a few.

Fragments of red-on-white ware - Late Neolithic period - 4.000 B.C. (left). Red polish double spouted bowl with decoration - Early Bronze Age - 2300-2075 B.C. (right).

White painted black-on-red ware - 850-750 B.C. (left). Imported Syrian tankards - Late Bronze Age (right).

Bichrome free-field ware - Archaic period - 750-600 B.C.

Terracota  figurines - Archaic period.

Classical period black on red white painted plain bichrome red jug - 400-325 B.C. (left) and Classical period black-on-red ware (right) -  475-400 B.C.

Tubular ungentaria - Roman period - 150-395 A.D.

Byzantine sgraffitto ware - 4th and 12th centuries.

Terracotta head - Archaic period - 600-475 B.C. (left). Head of statue- Classical period - 475-325 B.C (right). B.C

A short distance east of the Monastery where some signs of recent archaeological digging could be seen stands a Byzantine-style rectangular domed Chapel-like Church erected over the tomb of the Apostle Barnabas to which we access via a stone staircase down to two chambers hewn into the rock.

The Saint was killed near Salamis for preaching Christianity, his body having been cast into the sea where it was fished out from by his disciples and then his body hidden. The important role he played as having been one of the founders of the independent Greek Orthodox is worth noting and so is mentioning the fact that he is the patron Saint of the country

It was a rather intense morning as far as historic and religious information is concerned but I felt none of us was overtired and we were all looking forward to the afternoon visits, as we stopped for the lunch break.

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