Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
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Map of Cyprus by Abraham Ortelius Antwerpen, 1573-1592

Map of Cyprus by Abraham Ortelius. Antwerpen, 1573-1592


Canon Pietro Casola's pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the year 1494

Translate by M. MARGARET NEWETT B.A. Formerly Jones Fellow in History Manchester at the University Press, 1907


Voyage through the Gulf of Satalia. -- Encounter with Seven Venetian Ships at Paphos. -- Supply of Wood and Water taken at Limasol. -- Description of the Ruins there. -- Plague Raging at Famagosta and Nicosia. -- Casola Vists the Famous Cornaro Sugar Plantations at Episcopia in Cyprus. -- Cotton Growing. -- Carob Beans. -- Fresh News of Turkish Pirates. -- Alarm of the Captain and His Efforts to Ensure the Safety of the Pilgrim Galley. -- Voyage continued to Jaffa.

On Wednesday, the 9th of July, at sunrise, we set sail with what little wind remained, and made good progress in that Euxine Sea, now called the Sea of Natalia, from a city held by the Turks, which is called Natalia.(1) When the sun was somewhat up, however, the sea so settled into a calm that every man feared to die of heat, and this continued until night; then a fair provenza arose and good progress was made that night.

1. i.e., Sadalia or Adalia, a city on the south coast of Asia Minor at the head of the Guld of Adalia. The Pilgrim who wrote the "Voyage de la Saincte Cyte de Hierusalem" (1480), relates, p. 54, that when they were passing through this gulf, Agontino Contarini, the Captain-owner, "nous conta que ung foys en passant par devant ledict gouffre il fut en si grant danger et eut si grant pqour que tout soubdainement sa barbe et cheveulx lui devindrent blancs et encoires a present sont tour gris."

On Thursday, the 10th of July, as the provenza continued, we sailed through that gulf, and at midday discovered the point of the island of Cyprus*, and came over against a fortified place called Paphos. There, seven Venetian ships, coming from Syria loaded with goods, had stopped, and because they had heard of the capture made by the Turkish pirates, of whom I spoke above, they were afraid of going further. When the captains of the said ships saw our galley a long way off, they sent the scribe or secretary off in a small boat. As we were not sailing fast and as he had good galeotti, he came up with us and, being aided by a rope, as is usual in similar cases, he climbed on to the galley and gave the messages of his captains to our magnificent captain. The latter encouraged them to continue their voyage, sending them back word of what had happened while we were at Rhodes -- that is, of the good provision made by the Grand Master for what had occurred and of the victory gained by Frate Furiano.
On Friday, the 11th of July, we arrived near Limasol at sundown, and the sails being lowered, we approached a certain place where preparations were made for taking a supply of wood and of fresh water. This water is obtained almost from the impossible. That night the men dug several large trenches some distance from the seashore. In the morning they were so many beautiful springs flowing into the sea, and all the galley was furnished with that water: I say all, because, besides the captain, many others kept a supply in barrels.
On Saturday, the 12th of July, when the sun had risen, the magnificent captain made the port, and ordered the anchor to be cast off the shore of Limasol -- an ancient city of the island of Cyprus -- because there is no harbour there. All the pilgrims left the galley, thinking to refresh themselves with something good, for they were excessively afflicted by the heat which they had endured on the galley during the preceding days. But they were all disappointed in their expectations, not having found on the journey so far, a more arid place than Limasol. I can assure you that everything was lacking there, so that it was necessary for those who wished to dine on land, to get supplies at once from the galley. As both the magnificent captain and the Venerable Fra Francesco went ashore, I determined to go with them, fearing I should remain hungry if I went elsewhere, as in truth would have been the case.
When we landed the galley we went immediately, as was fitting, to the Cathedral, which is indeed still upright, but which is on the point of tumbling down. It is enough to say, that it has a good revenue, from what I could hear. For the service of the said church there is no one but a certain priest from Mantua who has learnt to speak Greek.