Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
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Nicosia. From the book: «Cyprus: Historical and Descriptive. From the earliest times to the present day». New York., 1878

Cyprus: Historical and Descriptive.
From the earliest times to the present day». New York., 1878

This city, called by the Greeks Levkosia, and by the Turks Lefkoscha, impressed me more than any other Oriental town I have visited. An indescribable blending of Eastern and Western characteristics meets the eye at every turn, and imparts a familiar appearance to the strange and interesting scene. How shall I give an idea of the uproar that roused me from my slumbers early next morning?
Trumpets were sounding, muezzins were chanting in drawling tones from the tops of all the minarets, countless crows and ravens combined with cocks and hens to outvie in their performance the braying of asses and groaning of camels. Whilst over all clanged the bells from every belfry in the city.
The following day being Easter-eve, this music commenced at midnight, and continued without interruption till morning, varied, however, by the firing of every old gun that could be mustered for the occasion.
In passing through the streets of the town, I observed through the gates of the high-walled gardens many varieties of fruit trees, apples, pears, and figs; orange, lemon, mulberry, and pomegranate trees also lent their blossoms to give the finishing touches to the scene. The garden walls are high, but not so lofty as to exclude from view the slender white minarets, dark cypresses, and waving palms that they inclose. Half Nikosia is made up of these lovely gardens. Everywhere water-pipes are gently pouring forth their offerings to the thirsty ground, and the whole town is redolent of perfume. The Cyprian sky resembles that of the Nile Valley in its cloudless, deep blue, and is equally beautiful in its clear expanse; while as for the climate, a very few days in its soft, delicious, balmy air makes one understand why, of all the Grecian islands, Cyprus should have been allotted the privilege of being regarded as the favorite residence of the Goddess of Love. At first I felt inclined to linger in this lovely spot and make myself acquainted with its literature; but a nearer view showed me my time would not be profitably spent. Society there was none, the few Europeans the city contained being entirely engaged in striving to make a little money.
Domestic life in Cyprus is generally confined within the precincts of its beautiful gardens, and in most of its relations is strictly Turkish.