Selected and rare materials, excerpts and observations from ancient, medieval and contemporary authors, travelers and researchers about Cyprus.
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GIOVANNI MARITI. Travels in the Island of Cyprus


frequent repairs. However houses so built and roofed resist the shock of earth­quakes, which stone houses do not, as quite recent experience has taught the Cypriots. The floors are paved with a very soft white marble, which flakes off very readily, this too a product of the island. The windows are all glazed, and every house has its own garden.
The largest houses in Larnaca, which for their size and good condition deserve to be called palaces, are these: that of Mr Tredues, who was English consul, now in the posses­sion of MM. Pory, of French origin, where there is a hall capable of receiving comfortably 500 persons; it is adorned with ancient tapestries and pictures by good painters. The other apartments also are distinguished by equal good taste and proportions. It has stabling for 50 horses, and a most charming garden. The house inhabited by the French consul belongs to Terra Santa. This too has its merits, as well as those of the English consul, Sr Saraf, a Tuscan merchant, M. Saint Amand and M. Montagne, French merchants; that of the Venetian consul is worth a glance, and among private houses that of Sr Zambelli, a Venetian merchant, which is not yet finished, but whose cost will eventually reach 12,000 Florentine crowns. Consuls in Cyprus hoist over the consular houses the flags of their several sovereigns on all church feasts of obligation, on those of the patron saint and birthday of each prince, on the arrival of vessels carrying the same flag, of war vessels of the Grand Signor or other sovereigns, as well as on occasions when they pay official visits to the local authorities, or to their European colleagues. The same formality is observed on the death of a consul, officer or merchant, when the ensign is kept at halfmast until the funeral is over; and lastly during a riot, to protect from outrage the premises over which the flag flies. Besides their flags consuls can put up the arms of their sovereigns over the doors of their houses; some however prefer to set them in a reception room, so as not to expose them to chance insult.
There are both Greeks and Turks who own fine and spacious houses, though not such as need particular mention, for they are of a wholly different and irregular style.
Larnaca formerly was much straitened for want of good water, the old conduits of Citium were ruinous and never repaired. But now, as I said in my account of Salines, since the water of Arpera has been brought to various fountains in the town by new aqueducts, it is most excellent.
Larnaca is governed by a Digdaban or Commissioner, appointed by the Governor of the island, after whom he is next in rank. His officers are the Sirdar, or captain of police, with the Su-bashi or corporals, and a very small personal staff. Here is the Court of Justice, the seat of the Qazi and Khoja-bashy persons of good life and advanced age, whose advice is loyally received and followed. Their court can give no final decision except in matters of small moment. In grave cases a statement is drawn up and sent to the Supreme Court at Nicosia, which issues its judgment thereon.
Three hours after sunset every night a patrol of several men called Qol-aghas starts from the Digdaban's house, to prevent disorders in the town. Everyone found abroad after that hour without a light or lantern is arrested, but natives are lodged in the public prison, Europeans in the houses of their several consuls. If there is no other charge against them they are released on giving a gratuity to the guard.
In the town of Larnaca and the island generally there are colonies of six European nations, England, France, Naples, Tuscany, Venice and Ragusa, with their several consuls, except that Tuscan subjects are under the protection of the English consul, as Tuscan vice-consul. There used to be also Austrians, Danes, Swedes, Dutch and Genoese, who came recommended to one of the consuls above named, but it is a long while since they did any business there in person, their commissions being now addressed to business houses of other nationalities already established there.
Outside the town there are found in all directions under­ground large cisterns lined with so durable a glaze that they are still fit to hold oil; they were made, it is said, for this very purpose, when the island abounded in this product. It is supposed that the glaze was made with sea sand and lime mixed in boiling oil: if it be so, the island must indeed have produced olives abundantly.
Towards the western end of the town at a distance of 100 paces from the last houses there is a property belonging to the MM. Pory, a French family long domiciled in Cyprus: in one of the fields was found a subterranean chamber, full of figurines and terra cotta lamps only, so it is supposed to have been a shop where such things were made. The Turkish government forbids excavations, and MM. Pory, fearing that they could not without risk allow the search which curious persons were making there, had the shop again filled up with earth, and its position is now unknown to all but a few who are well acquainted with the place. In 1766 Sr Zambelli, a Venetian merchant, in opening the foundations for the house which he was building to the north of

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