Sometimes when you look you don’t really see what’s there. And then there are the cases when you may have looked a thousand times but one day you might see it differently; notice a little something extra because you feel differently that day.
Last week I took a group of photographers to the abandoned village of Ayios Sozomenos (find out more on the village here), the ‘tsiflidji’ in Potamia and to Ayia Marina church, which overlooks Potamia. The trip was a collaboration between Old Nicosia Revealed (photography group) and my Cyprus, my Κυπρος, my Kıbrıs.
Having been a member of Old Nicosia Revealed since its inception exactly four years ago, I know how important it is to look and look again; and also to simply look up sometimes. Having taken countless walks around the old town and beyond, you realise that every time you pass a particular point you might notice something different, something that may have been there for 50 years but it’s taken this long for your eyes to finally settle on it.
This is exactly what I experienced during out trip on Sunday. I had a very good look, but I’m sure every time I visit these places I’ll notice something that I may not have noticed on the previous occasion.
During my childhood, I always recall our trips up to the Ayia Marina church as rushed. I may call it a ‘trip’ but in fact it was simply a point to turn the car round; and unfortunately just there, we had no choice but to turn the car round, as 300m from the church is a National Guard army post. And surrounding the then remnants of the church (a new church has been built recently) is the Green Line. If you hadn’t spotted the fact that you were being deterred from going any further you would spot the barbed wire and signs warning of the fields, filled with mines. All this I’d noticed before, what I had forgotten about though was the Turkish army guard post in the distance, to the right of the National Guard post, lest we forget.
And sometimes just as we change, so do our feelings about something we may have been looking at all our lives. The National Guard post was always closer, making it the more obvious deterrent, whereas the Turkish army post was close, but not close enough to have quite the same effect. On seeing it this time though, I felt different enough to have forgotten that it was there all along.
There we were, standing at the highest point of Potamia, in full view of a National Guard post, Turkish army post and minefields. And there I was, knowing that once upon a time I lived just a kilometre from this area.
Something else that grabbed our attention was what looked like a very small Turkish Cypriot cemetery in Ayios Sozomenos. Of course, this was simply an observation on our part, if anyone has more information on this, please feel free to write to me, as I would really like to know more about it – or what it could possibly be if it’s not a cemetery.
- Coming face to face with identity
- Talking Statues: How do monuments speak to us? (part 2)