Nicosia is the last divided capital in the world and has been since 1974. Today we drove into the Turkish side, a journey of about 30 minutes from home. We drove into the walled city, parked up and walked a few minutes into the bazaar area, all wonderfully atmospheric. There are so many shops here selling all manner of goods from clothes shoes, bags, dressmaking materials, wool shops, spices, Turkish delight, nuts, jewellery.... great for shopping.
We then went into the Great Han, an old hostelry for pilgrims and crusaders which is now an arts and crafts centre with little cafes in its central courtyard. It's a real favourite place, so characterful. We had coffees here and watched a lady preparing tiny pies for lunch, rolling out the most enormous sheet of filo pastry onto a marble topped table. Had a good look around all the little artisan shops. I managed to get two more Roman oil lamps which I have been trying to get for ages having been so pleased with my original two. A potter copies the designs from the archaeological museum right down to the coarse string wick. You put olive oil in and they burn brilliantly, a great design unchanged for 2000 years.
We wandered out of the Han and towards Santa Sophia Cathedral, now a Mosque. We arrived at a couple of minutes to 12 just before there was to be a Whirling Dervish display in the next door cultural centre. We have seen this a number of times before and it is an excellent experience. I would not call it a show because the people involved are genuine devotees and their whirling is in large part a part of their mediational worship. The cultural centre manager explains the symbolism of various movements and the clothing and then we had two chaps dancing and whirling for about 30 minutes. How they do it I have no idea but it is a rather moving experience to watch. It would feel wrong to applaud.
We came out and wandered around the city some more looking into the shops and just admiring the old streets and lovely houses and mansions. Got hungry and went into Bibliotheque which is a restaurant in a converted run of buildings. Had a nice lunch and a cool off. It was very hot.
After lunch we went into the covered market built by the British in 1929. There's a great Turkish Delight shop inside and Maureen and Mick bought a load of stuff to take home. Some interesting stalls in there.
Wandered through the bazaar again and back to the car and home. Had a bit of a laze out by the pool.
This evening we cooked for the first time on the brick bbq our friend Dave built us back in February. Clearly a lot of guests have used it since then but this was our first go. Worked brilliantly and we had a lovely dinner out on the terrace. Shevlaki sausages, UK sausages and pork and pepper kebab sticks, corn on the cob. Such a very warm night so it was great to eat outside.
Went to bed tired but happy.