Bellapais, Kyrenia (Girne) -


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Bellapais village, Kyrenia  

Bellapais, 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 Abbey

Perched 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.
"Bellapaix, 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.

"But 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"

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