By Deveci Hasan
Chrysokava is located between the old and new Kyrenia Harbours, along the road that runs behind the Akcicek Hospital and towards the traffic lights on the new harbour road. Initially the area was used as a cemetery by the Romans around 2000 years ago. It was turned into a quarry and used for building materials for a period of around 100 years. The individual quarries were later developed into housing by quarry workers by placing wooden beams to support roof coverings.
The limestone from the quarry was used for buildings and to construct the harbour and castle. The Roman, Byzantine, Lusignan and Venetian castles were all built with stone from these quarries.
Early Christians also required a place of worship, so it seemed logical to carve an alter into the cliff face. Later Christians are thought to have enlarged an old stone tomb to build the Byzantine church of Agia Mavra. From the stone carvings and remnants of wall paintings, it is believed to date around the 10th century. These paintings were partially restored before 1974. (source – whatson- northcyprus.com)
Gepostet von Oya Kutsal am Sonntag, 28. Oktober 2018
This video by Oya Kutsal shows the shocking current state and condition of the site, which is being used for dumping rubbish and furniture, even an old vehicle has been left there. The video was taken on the 28th October 2018. The video questions the uncaring attitude of the authorities towards this historically important site where someone has even built an oven (which was being used during filming) and the area is littered with discarded bottles and cans.
The video by Oya is in Turkish but the visual environmental impact it creates is clear to see. The second video is in English and is from Cyprus Culture which can be found on Facebook
Oya is a keen environmentalist and is organising a clean up on Thursday 8th November 2018 at 9.30am and is appealing for volunteers. Oya is also starting a campaign to preserve the site by securely protecting it and having lighting installed.
Video by Chris Krzentz with Tuncer Huseyin Bagiskan
Further historical information (source cyprus44)
Kirsokava is a promontory that was used in Roman times first as a cemetery and then as a quarry for limestone. Blocks of stone would be taken by sea on boast or rafts to build Kyrenia castle and the harbour, a practice continued by the Byzantines, Crusaders and Venetians. You can still see traces of the ancient route the stones took to the seashore in the bay beyond, a wide sweeping road cut into the rocks. Imagine hauling great blocks of stone across to the sea in the searing heat of the North Cyprus summer, and you can’t help admiring the strength of those Roman workmen!
Roman rocks tombs of Kirsokava, Northern Cyprus
During the late Roman period, early Christians chose to live amongst the Roman tombs and in the quarry. Evidence of their houses can been seen in the walls of the quarry, where round holes indicate the original location of roof timbers. Also, the method of quarrying in North Cyprus meant that groves and slots were left in the limestone, ideal for inserting planks to build a house. In places, you can still see steps carved into the rock, that lead down into just such houses. However, the residents had no reliable water supply, so they built a water cistern to collect rainwater, the remains of which can still be seen today. The quarries are sometimes linked with tunnels, and one link is formed by a semi-natural bridge of sandstone, the original opening much enlarged by the quarry men to get easy access to the stone in the next quarry. These North Cyprus quarries were eventually abandoned, probably because of Arab coastal raids, but possibly because the water supply was not sufficient for the growing population.
The Church of St Mavra, North Cyprus
What makes Kirsokava so unusual is the church of St Mavra, which is built in one of the rock-cut Roman tombs. The church houses some rare 10th century frescoes fragments painted onto the rock face itself, depicting Apostles at the Ascension. In a neighbouring quarry pit, there is also a Byzantine shrine carved into the quarry rock, dating from around 900AD, and other smaller shrines.
Kirsokava and Gold
You can still explore the Roman tombs cut into the quarry and cliffs, but tomb raiders have long since removed any treasures the tombs might have held. In fact, the gold trinkets removed from these North Cyprus Roman tombs may have given the area its name, Chrydokava, from chrysos, meaning gold.