25 October, 2009
25 October, 2009
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Ayios Philon

Ayios Philon | Karpaz

Follow the signs marked “Oasis at Ay Philon” from Dipkarpaz and the route twists through the village eventually emerging above the north coast. Below on the shore can be seen the ruins of the 12thC church dedicated to Ayios Philon. There is only the shell and a partial dome remaining but next to it is the mosaic floor of the earlier 5th C basilica. In the surrounding lands can be found remains of the ancient city kingdom of Carpasia. Prominent from the 4th C BC the city was destroyed in the Arab raids of the 8th C AD.

 This was a significant site of pilgrimage from the middle ages, and it was expected that there would always be accommodation for pilgrims in which to rest after a long journey when a bed and food would be provided free of charge.  There are 20thC pilgrims’ dwellings still at the site, they have been restored and slightly modernised. For a modest rental, today’s travellers can still get a bed for the night.

Ayios Philon was built on the site of the old Roman harbour and the stone blocks that were once joined by iron rivets are easy to find. Go west across the headland and one of the most beautiful beaches of the Karpaz stretches away into the distance.

Lavinia Neville Smith
Lavinia Neville Smith
Lavinia Neville Smith first came to North Cyprus in 1995, and fell in love with the country and the Turkish Cypriot people. A self confessed dilettante, with a varied working career, it was not until she returned in 1997 and went into tourism that she was able to put to good use her knowledge of history, ancient and modern, acquired long ago at school. She is a co-author of the Landmark Visitors Guide to North Cyprus, and continues to promote this beautiful country as far afield as possible.