The Moms Church and the Ex migrants
The ancient Christian town of Kokkina is situated in the province of Nicosia on the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is renowned for being the site of one of the most important Roman military bases in the world. The city has been a site for archaeological excavations throughout the past two centuries. The chief attraction in Kokkina for historians and archeologists alike is the Great Temple of Artemis Agrotera that sits on the parapet of the Santuary Hill. This colossal structure is nearly six hundred years old and is the original setting for the immortal play The Merchant of Venice.
There are a number of interesting sites to be found in and around the Great Temple. One must-see landmark is the Akton Hotel which looms almost thirty metres above sea level. On the southern side of the hotel there is the Medieval Citadel which was destroyed in World War Two but rebuilt to grandeur. On the northern side of the island there are beautiful Georgian town houses, an old Basilica and a phosphate mine. Today, the phosphate mine is closed to visitors but many pilgrims still visit the ruined town. At the other end of the island there is the Zrii Peninsula with its turquoise sea beaches and limestone caves.
Itineraries There are many travel and caravan holiday itineraries with plenty of nightlife, places to shop and sight seeing to be had on the western and northern coasts. Most travellers embark from the port of cruises in the resort of Nice in France and take a twelve or thirteen-day trip to the Greek border. Many travellers make a return visit to the peninsula to spend a few days relaxing in the traditional Turkish style villages. By the end of the trip many visitors will have spent time in the Turkish side of this once beautiful country.
Travel Information If you are planning a trip to the eastern side of Turkey there are several ways to get there and back. One option is to hire a car with driver from the town of Vanuatu which has good public transport links. If you prefer a journey on your own, you can book a one way van or minibus from Marmaris, the capital of Vanuatu, and take yourself or your family to the Greek islands where you will remain for three or four days. A one way journey by road is also possible but will involve longer hours drive time. One thing to note is that there are no rail services to the Greek islands so you will need to arrange transportation to get around.
When asked if they would go back to the Turkish side of the island again, the majority of the Cyprus Muslims (about eighty per cent) said yes. The main reason cited as to why they chose to go to the Greek islands was the strong Christian influence in the region and the prospect of meeting other Greek Christians. In addition to this, many said that there was little political or social difference between the two sides of the island, apart from the occasional tension between the communities. In fact, many of them said they had never met a Greek Cypriot before and so meeting fellow pilgrims would be an important part of their trip.
When reaching their destination, most travelers reported that their only wish was to spend the rest of their lives in the Greek islands. Although they were not aware that this was actually a possibility, many said that they would be eternally grateful if they could return. Although it has only been less than two weeks since the eruption of the MOM, many pilgrims are already looking forward to another trip to the MOM. For now, the best thing to do is try not to think about the possibility of a return to Turkey.