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"Bellapais" Ayia Sophia Off The Beaten Path Tip by easyoar

Ayia Sophia Off The Beaten Path: 3 reviews and 3 photos

  Bellapais Abbey
by easyoar

Bellapais is a charming little village on the edge of a mountain, that is built around what is now a ruined abbey. This village was made famous by lawrence Durrell (brother of the more famous Gerald Durrell) who lived here in the 1950's when Cyprus was experiencing a lot of internal turmoil as relationships between the Greeks/Turks/British boiled up. A lot of British were assassinated during the troubles, but Durrell semed to be perceived as a neutral as he lived with the locals away from the British and taught in a school where he was friendly with the local kids.

These days of Course, Lawrence Durrell is long gone (and long dead), but some of his legacy lives on. He famously describes in his book about a large tree (that was appropriately nicknamed the "Tree of Idleness") which all of the villagers used to lounge around under in its shade and drink all day. Although there is some debate as to where this tree is today (or whether the original still actually exists).

The Abbey is definitely worth visiting and is very close to Kyrenia. It is also possible to walk up the hill and see the outside of Durrells old house (although whn I visited it, it belonged to a German couple!). There is a commemorative plate up on the house, although you will probably need to ask directions to find it!

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Mar 6, 2005
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