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Bellapais village, Kyrenia
unchanged and unhurried since its colonial days, this enchanting
village has been immortalised in the book "Bitter
Lemons" by Lawrence Durrell. The centre piece of the charming
village and its main attraction is Bellapais
precariously on a natural terrace, the abbey stands guard over the
whole of the northern coastline, and is considered to be one of
the most beautiful and indeed most important Gothic buildings in
the Near East.
Here, you can while away your
days exploring the impressive remains of the abbey, or simply relax with a
during under the "Tree of Idleness", an ancient mulberry made famous
in Durrell's Bitter Lemons, and let the world pass you by.
Ancient folklore suggests that those seated beneath this famous tree, become
lazy and unwilling to work! The views from the village are superb, and from
every vantage point, the plains of Kyrenia and the azure blue Mediterranean
beyond, beckon and invite.
Above the abbey lies the
charming village of Bellapais. Tiny lanes and narrow streets, cris-cross
haphazardly away from the main square, and scattered amongst the whitewashed
buildings are many excellent and surprisingly inexpensive cafes and bistros.
Bellapais is an ideal haven for those seeking a calm and relaxing opportunity to
sample the Cyprus of a bygone era.
even in ruins, was a testimony to those who had tried,
however imperfectly, to grasp and retain their grip on the
inner substance of the imagination, which resides in
thought, in contemplation , in the Peace which had formed
part of its original name, and which in my spelling I have
always tried to retain. The Abbey de la Paix, corrupted by
the Venetians into Bella Paise. . . . It was to take me
nearly a year to gain currency for the spelling Bellapaix,
which is as near as one can get today to its original.
no such thought was in my mind that first spring morning as
I walked in those deserted cloisters, touching the rosy
stones of the old Abbey with an idle hand, noticing the
blaze of flowers . . . and here and there, bursting from a
clump of fallen masonry, cracking the rock triumphantly, the
. . . plumes of yellow fennel. . . . In that silence the
light airs of the plain climbed up to us, full of the small
sound of birds as they stooped and dived in the blue gulf
below. Somewhere near at hand came the rustle and dribble of
spring-water feeding the flowers."
Lawrence Durrell in Bitter
Lemons, "The Tree of Idleness"