The time in North Cyprus is

Byzantine Church

Near Dipkarpaz, North Cyprus

The Byzantine church near Dipkarpaz
The Byzantine Church, Looking towards the Apse

This Byzantine church is known locally as the "Secret Church", for the simple reason that most people who look for it can't find it! (I did, but I was taken there by the owner of the Theresa Hotel). But at least if you're journey is unsuccessful, you can say you've seen some of the wilder parts of the Karpaz, particularly if you combine it with an expedition to look for the statues.

To get there, take the turning inland about 1km after the Theresa Hotel, just after the entrance to the Balci Plaza Hotel. The track, on the whole, is in good condition. Where you have a choice, keep straight on. Eventually, where the main track swings round to the left, you will continue ahead down a slope, to the point where you can't drive any further. (Unless, of course, you have a rather strange sense of adventure!).

The apse and recess in the southern wall of the Byzantine church near Dipkarpaz, North Cyprus
The Apse and Recesses in the Southern Wall

Those of a more normal disposition should park under the carob tree and continue on foot. After walking a couple of hundred yards up the hill, take the twisty, turny, path on your right into the woods.

The church, although listed as Byzantine, is considered by local historians to be earlier, which would make it one of the earliest churches in Cyprus. Largely in ruins, enough of the church remains to show that it had a single nave with an apse at the eastern end.

The dome of the apse is largely intact, as is the southern wall. There are recesses in this wall, which in other churches were used for the tombs of sponsors or other notables. However they seem a little small for that purpose. Sadly, the condition of this church will worsen, as this a good deal of vegetation eating into the walls.

Like so many places in Cyprus, why this location was chosen is not known. However for a church to be here, there must have been a community nearby, but that has yet to be discovered.

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