Into the Old City

It had been a very busy couple of weeks with work Christmas lunch, school winter concert, a couple of dinner parties with new friends, and a visit from the Santa Claus delegate from Cyprus at Piano Man’s school.

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(Lebanese food at women’s group)   (Indonesian food at friends’ house)    (Christmas lunch at Prof’s work)

After all of the busy holiday parties, we had a relaxing Saturday (December 22nd).  We parked and walked on Ledra Street to cross into the buffer zone.  Prof had been at this same street a decade ago, and he said that it used to be all blocked off several stories high.

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(If you look in the background, you can get a sense of what the buildings looked like back in the day.)

Once you cross over, the disparity and remaining ruined buildings from the invasion in 1974 are apparent. The streets are narrower, and the types of goods sold are all knock offs, such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry.

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Prof mentioned that we could go into an old church (St. Sophia Cathedral) turned into mosque (Selimiye Mosque).  Originally, the church was designed with a north and south orientation.  But because Muslims pray toward Mecca, the interior of the space is orientated in an east and west direction.

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You must take your shoes before you enter.

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Then you can walk in the vast open space. The carpet design is even orientated toward Mecca. So right off the bat, your eyes are confused looking towards the other end of the mosque, but your body wants to lean toward the dikka (a free-standing platform) and carpet on the east side.

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We walked to a nearby covered market and saw a store that makes fresh Turkish Delights. (Cross back through the buffer zone, and the Cypriots call it Cyprus Delights.)  We picked up a mixed box of several sweets.

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They had every flavor imaginable: strawberry, almond, pistachio, rose, mint, mango.  The flavors seemed endless. Oh, and the texture reminded me of mochi or dduk used in Korean patbingsu (ice cream/ice-ee dessert with sweet red beans and fruit).

The kids enjoyed every single bite. It’s better than any fruit snack in the States. Hands down.

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