PANAGIA TON AMBELION -PAST AND PRESENT

Trip Start Oct 25, 2009
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Trip End Nov 02, 2009


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Flag of Cyprus  , Larnaca,
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

PANAGIA TON AMBELION





It is the 27th October, and I am having a car tour with a family friend, Lefteris, who is kind enough to drive me to the different places I want to visit, so that I take pictures and have them posted for my blog.  I have already done much walking yesterday, and these places I want to see today- especially this spot of Panagia ton Abelion (meaning the Virgin Mary protecting the vines) reminds me again of my childhood.

This little church is situated just a couple of miles from Larnaca, near Aradipou.
It is on the old road of Larnaca-Nicosia. 
Difficult for me to recognize the area because the village of Aradipou has so much stretched out and it is as if it has been united with Larnaca.
Everything is so different now, I believe the church is found very near the industrial area.
I can't see the fields we used to have our long walks, picking snails, mushrooms or asparagus!
Nothing is the same. What a disappointment for me, but I am still curious to see the church.


Every single time I visit this beautiful island seems to me that it was just yesterday that I have lived all these things here. The tragedy is that I can't find these things today.

We used to come during weekends here in this area with my parents, friends and cousins.  We loved walking then, just as I love walking these days, and always will, so back to those days the old main road leading to Nicosia was just a few meters from the Church.

After 1974 when I moved to Greece, I had never visited this place even once, and I was so anxious to see what has become of.
Well, I am here, but nothing is the same.



The area is unrecognizable:
The church is the same all right, but now I find it difficult driving here by myself even if I had a car.  The highway going to Nicosia has changed the whole area, and I am very disappointed when I walk pass the church,not to find that beautiful greenery of the area I had in mind, - the small bushes, where once in a while rabbits could be seen hiding and running here and there, or partridges flying in the round area!




In spring we used to come here to pick some of the most beautiful anemone flowers – they were huge with double petals, in fine colours!

Nothing of those nostalgic days reminds me of what I see today, but yet the church is still very beautiful, and the yard which surounds it is very beautifully decorated with flowers. A beautiful bell tower is built in the yard, and everything is so tidy and neat in there.  What I can't accept is how this highway leading to Nicosia which is so near, has changed the whole picture.

About 200 metres at the back of the Church, there were cliffs and a beautiful little river - I used to call it (my little white river) because the rocks were really white and flat and it was so beautiful!  Well nothing is here.  It is just the highway below with so much noise and cars going by. 
What a great disappointment indeed! 



AN ATTACHMENT

Some information I got today from a friend about this country-church here is that the church is built above the ruins of an older temple that was destroyed by the Saracens.

Many times it suffered damages from fires because of the lighted candles that the visitors leave.  With the occasional repairs the hagiographies that adorned the country-church were covered.



Virgin Mary is known with the double name of " Vines" from the lot of vines that existed in the area and “Aimatousa” (Bloody) from the tradition that wants the Virgin Mary to cure the women with hemorrhage.



On 8th of September the country-church functions and there is a big festival.  The beautiful natural environment of the area becomes an attraction for the outdoor visits of the local people, mainly on “Clean Monday” or Monday of Lent.




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