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Kirsokava (Chrysokava)

Kyrenia, North Cyprus

Kirsokava viewed from the sea
Kirsokava Quarry From the Sea

It is thought that this area takes it name from the fact that gold was mined here ("gold" translates as "chrysos"), however there is no definitive proof of this. What is known is that 2000 years ago, the Romans used the area, initially as a cemetery, and then as a good place to quarry the limestone for their buildings and to construct the harbour and castle. In fact, the Roman, Byzantine, Lusignan and Venetian castles were all built with stone from these quarries.

At the same time, the workers realised that the quarry walls could double as walls for their houses by the simple expedient of inserting timber beams to hold a roof structure, and you can still see the remains of these post holes.

These 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.

Kirsokava is located between the old and new harbours in Kyrenia. However, for the moment it is inside a military area, and is therefore only occasionally open to the public.


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