April 2009

Friday, 3 April 2009

Sights to See in Karmi

Karmi is a wonderfully small town and most sights are within a short walking distance from the car park at Church Square. Park Your North Cyprus car hire here where you can then begin your explorations of the town. The most important sight to see is the unique small village itself, but there are other historic sites to be seen as well.

St Hilarion Castle can be seen in the mountains above the town and reached by an uphill trail through pine forests. The castle is named after a little-known saint who was one of some 300 saints who sought shelter throughout Cyprus after the Holy Land was overrun by Arabs. Built in the late 11th century the castle became part of a network of defenses along the coast. After most defense of the island was moved closer the coast the castle became a home for Cypriot royalty.

A small museum is now located in the old Greek Orthodox Church in Karmi. The church dates back to 1860 and, unfortunately, is now just open mostly on Sunday. If you are fortunate enough to visit when the church is open you will find the icon screen, or iconostasis, of the church interesting. An icon screen is a screen composed of icons that separates the sanctuary of the church from the nave where the congregation gathers. It is one of the most important features of Eastern Christian churches. The industrious villagers created the screen at the church with discarded items from abandoned churches in the area.

Just outside the village you’ll find a collection of chamber tombs, or tombs in the shape of a room, known as the Karmi Necropolis. The tombs here date back to the Bronze Age between 1900 and 1600 B.C. Of the tombs that have been excavated the most important sight is the relief of a man carved into the corridor of Tomb #6. This weathered figure is believed to be the goddess of fertility and one of the oldest effigies discovered in all of Cyprus. Beads and bowls from Crete were discovered in tombs of the necropolis, indicating that there commercial trading between the village and its neighboring countries existed at least as far back as the Bronze Age.

Enjoy the sights of this small mountainside town and the walks that can be taken through the surrounding countryside. But be aware that there are few services available here including a village shop and only a couple of bars and restaurants.