iPhone Photoessay: Ruins of Salamis in Cyprus

Back in January of last year, I met my mom for nine days of vacation in Istanbul and Cyprus. We didn’t have much time on this little island, just two days and some family friends to meet, but those two days were days to remember. We spent one afternoon climbing Saint Hilarian Castle and another day walking here, through the ancient Greek ruins of Salamis.

The weather was beautiful, the ocean was lapping against the shore in the background and the sky was a bright cheery blue. As far as iPhone pictures go, these turned out about as well as I could hope. (But yes, I’m still kicking myself for not getting a DSLR already! Argh!) Sadly, my memory is a little foggy and I can’t tell you exactly what all these pictures are of exactly, but hey, they’re still pretty. That counts for something right? And I remember which picture is of the ancient Roman toilets. Good enough!

[For more information, you can also read the Wikipedia page about Salamis.]

salamis ruins cyprus photo
When you’re greeted by a cute dog, you know it’s going to be a nice day.
salamis ruins cyprus january
Entering the ruins… we were the only ones there.
cyprus salamis ruins statue headless
Oh no, the statues don’t have heads!
gymnasium salamis cyprus picture
According to Wikipedia, this was a gymnasium.
pillars gymnasium salamis cyprus ruins
These pillars have all been restored as far as I know, which admittedly isn’t very far, but they look beautiful nonetheless.
public toilets salamis cyprus ruins
These are the public toilets!!!! But don’t ask me how they work.
gymnasium cyprus salamis photograph
Another view of the gymnasium.
salamis cyprus ruins field photograph
The green and the blue and the sun and the spotty clouds combined into a purely delightful view.
salamis cyprus wall ruins
There were a lot of parts of a wall and half formed arches, all overgrown and crumbling. That’s how I like my ruins.
snails grass salamis cyprus
Life in the dead city! These little snails were all over the place.
salamis cyprus ruins ocean
I can only imagine how gorgeous this city must have been in its glory days, with the sea in the background.
amphitheater salamis cyprus ruins photograph
The amphitheater is huge and you can run and climb all over it, since it’s been restored and isn’t actually thousands of years old. Only kind of.
amphitheater cyprus salamis statue
What amphitheater would be complete without a headless statue?
salamis ruins pillars cyprus
Unsure of what this is, but it was large and there were a lot of pillars involved. Perhaps the Temple of Zeus?
pillar salamis cyprus photograph picture
It’s so cool that you can still see the carvings at the top of some of these pillars. Incredible!
carved stone salamis cyprus roman
SO COOL. Could I have a Roman travel forward in time and carve some pillars for me, too?
exit steps arch walls ruins salamis cyprus
Saying goodbye to the neat walkways and old rocks.

Salamis, you’ve been a treat. And I’ll be back… with a better camera.

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Have you ever been to Cyprus or to the ruins of Salamis? What do you think life was like in this city, back in Roman times? How did you like those toilets?

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iPhone Photoessay: St. Hilarian Castle in Cyprus

Did you know I went to Cyprus? And I barely even told you about it, shame on me. Almost a year later, I’m going to make this up to you. While I was in Cyprus, I wandered through the ancient ruins of Salamis (I just probably put those pictures up, too…) and spent lots of time with some family friends that live on the island. They introduced my mom and I to a gorgeous castle on a mountainside: St. Hilarian Kalesi. I can’t help but say the word “hilarious!” immediately following mention of the castle’s name. I dare you to try it and not do it ten times in a row.

Some history (thanks Wikipedia): the castle began as a hermitage site and then a church during the 10th century, and finally it became a castle. Once it was a castle, you know how castles with excellent lookout points go… people fight over them, over and over. Some 500 years later, people starting taking it apart to reduce the upkeep of the building. I presume the ceiling was about to fall in and they figured it was easier to just pull out the ceiling and give everyone winter coats than build a new one. Jerks.

In order to get to the castle (located in Northern, Turkish Cyprus), you need to drive there and past several military installations and soldiers. If they’re doing training in the mountains, you may have to choose another day to head up to the castle. If they’re not, you’ll probably have the entire place to yourself, except for the random Brit that seems to show up at all those deserted European sights, alone. Uncanny.

dog st hilarian castle north cyprus
When you get there, they’ll probably be a castle-residing stray dog that’s both super friendly and desperately in need of a bath.
architecture hilarian castle north cyprus wall
Looking up, it’s amazing to see arches that (hopefully) won’t fall on your head as you walk through.
north cyprus mountain climb hilarian castle
No, no, I’m not climbing rock formations at the top of a really tall and sheer cliff.
north cyprus hilarian castle view photo
But at the top of unsafe climbing await breathtaking views of the island.
north cyprus hilarian castle interier photo
Oh boy, these people even had interior design skills. Look at those stripes!
north cyprus hilarian castle mountain photo
If you get stuck at the bottom with fear, or only climb half, you can still enjoy the view of that top section instead of actually going there.
north cyprus st hilarian castle climb photo
Or you can climb, don’t worry, there are safety railings!
north cyprus st hilarian castle cliff landscape photo
Sheering cliffs, coastline and a panoramic view? Yes, please and thank you.
north cyprus st hilarian castle watch tower photo
A gorgeous old watchtower that was just a little out of reach for my hiking skills.
north cyprus hilarian castle wall mountain photo
The building blending in with the mountain makes it simultaneously beautiful and confusing. Am I on the mountain now or still in the castle? Hmm…
north cyprus hilarian castle photo
It’s best to climb immediately next to “danger” signs and live voltage.
north cyprus st hilarian castle cliff landscape photo
Because it’s prettier at the top of those rocks.
north cyprus hilarian castle view photo
The view is definitely breathtaking.
north cyprus hilarian castle interier window photo
I feel like a princess with really long, braided hair is missing from this photo.
north cyprus hilarian castle mountain photo
Goodbye, it’s been terrifying and fun!

Looking back, I really wish I would have bought a DSLR camera already, my iPhone does zero justice. I guess I’ll have to return! And to anyone thinking of visiting the Turkish side of Cyprus, it’s highly recommended and although Wikipedia describes it as “illegal and internationally-unrecognised”, I can assure you it’s also quite safe.

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