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The Legacy of Joseph Barnabas in Cyprus

Paul's mentor and missionary traveling companion

Held against our will for a day in the north

December 4th, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Really Frustrating

Church at the monastery of St. Barnabas. It is now an icon museum.

On Friday, I paid the 50 Euro for auto insurance that one has to purchase in order to drive in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (or Occupied North, depending on your perspective). Saturday started fine. We drove east to the Monastery of St. Barnabas near Salamis and arrived before the tour busses arrived. Because there were so few people there, we had unrestricted ability to take photos of the icons in the church. And, as it turns out, the rooms formerly used by the monks in the monastery now house some nice collections of ancient pottery and other artifacts (mostly pre-Christian).

When we finished photographing the monastery and the artifacts, we drove NE out into the Karpas Peninsula. The drive was lovely, with occasional nice views of the Mediterranean, nice farmland, and an occasional wild donkey. But when we reached our destination, the Monastery of St. Andreas near the end of the peninsula, things got depressing. Later we were detained.

Crumbling church at the Monastery of St Andreas

The once thriving facility, located on a dramatic rocky outcrop, has through neglect been allowed to crumble. The TRNC will not allow Christians who love the monastery to maintain it, so it is literally falling apart. Watching a handful of Orthodox Christians who made the long drive to visit the once highly revered monastery was truly sad. Actually, seeing the condition of churches as we drove past them on the peninsula was disheartening. Conditions varied from partly demolished and/or vandalized to 40 years of forced neglect. The Christian graveyards that we drove past were also sad cases of destruction.

We decided to spend the night in Bogaz, located at the beginning of the Karpas Peninsula, because it is near to the

Note the crumbling stairs.

remains of the Kantara Castle, which we wanted to see. I made a hasty decision to stay at the Bogaz Hotel, which turned out to be a disaster. The place is a dive. Once it must have been a nice facility, but the owner has allowed it to crumble through neglect. I consoled myself that at least we would have a good hike to see the castle the next morning.

HOWEVER, Sunday morning as I drove through the first village, a policeman pulled me over. He asked where we were from. I pointed to the map that we spent the night in Bogaz and were headed to the castle. He called another policeman who spoke English, and the man explained to me that Sunday was a census day and that people were to remain home until 6:00 PM. I told him that I was a tourist did not live in the area. He said that it did not matter. I would have to return to the hotel in Bogaz and spend the day there. I asked why no one at the border crossing on Saturday mentioned anything about the census on Sunday. He would not comment. He added that if I did not return immediately to the hotel, that I would be in violation of a state law.

An example of the neglect and mismanagement of tourist buildings at Bogaz. Think twice before staying in this location.

The TRNC demands that everyone stay in their domicile so that census takers could physically go to each home or business and physically do a head count. So I had to return to a hotel that I despised and remain in that area until 6:00 PM—forced to lose the entire day. Angry is a bit mild of a term to describe my mood. I won’t give the details of the rest of our Sunday misadventure. It makes me mad to think about it. I could also post a number of photos of Bogaz Hotel and the other businesses in the area that are grossly neglected with respect to maintenance. But I will stop there.

We left Bogaz promptly at 6:00 and finally got back to CAARI.

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