By Heidi Trautmann
One of my favourite places is the area around
Akdeniz with its long beach when I am in need of finding myself, the centre of
myself, to balance out.
It is one of the longest stretches of an untouched
sandy coast we find in Cyprus, you can walk there for hours, alone with the
music of the sea and the wide sky. An area with lots of history behind the
dunes, not just the garbage that the sea has spit out and carried up to them. We
are here at the Eastern end of the Mediterranean, directly facing the West.
On the way here you come through Akdeniz Village, or
Agia Eirini or Irini, as it used to be called. There are two dirt roads at the
end of the village, the left one leads to the Caretta Restaurant on the beach,
the other leads to the Kings Tombs and a military post on the beach which is
now deserted by the military and open to the public. We took this last road to the beach
mid-February, it was a Sunday, mild with some cirrus clouds flying over the
wide sky. Fortunately we did not meet any hunters with their season finishing
this month. It is a fascinating landscape, the hinterland of this coast, small
trees, rather bushy, bent by the western winds, the ground sandy with the typical
coast macchia, towards the village the soil becomes more fertile, however, I am
sure that the groundwater contains salt. There are no tarred roads, you have to
drive slowly, and from afar you can see the wide surface of the sea with the
sun bathing in it. I am asking myself why kings were buried here 500 AD in this
lonely area, is it because they were supposed to face the setting sun? Or were
there more settlements than we know? It is not an area where a harbour could be
built, there is no shelter for boats, I also have never seen a sailing boat
anchoring here during day time.
Now that the military post has been deserted people
have started to come here onto the once fenced in hill where the military was
stationed; around the house they build up their Sunday picnic tables and the
smell of grilled meat reached us before we could see them. On one end there is
a canon still positioned covering the entire beach; when in last years we came
close to this post they always warned us off: do not enter! So, you know how it
is, when something is forbidden you want to know what might be hidden there.
We went around the house and found some dugouts,
what a lonely job, I thought, especially with strong winds and the waters coming
up high and exchange the masses of rubbish for new ones. Once we discovered
some 2 m fish skeletons along this beach and other funny findings, beach
treasures. In early summer the turtles come up the beach at night and lay their
eggs, that must be a sight, and a young soldier being there on duty was
certainly well entertained by the nature traffic at moonlit sand beaches.
We will explore the beach that was closed for so
long in early summer when it is a little warmer but this time we went towards
south again, towards the Trodoos mountains, as far as the Caretta restaurant
which has lots of room for visitors now, but you can see the power the sea
winds exert over the coast and how they have battered the octagonal
building; we have passed there many a
romantic late afternoon with the sun setting directly into the sea; for
newcomers it is a sight they will never forget.
We return to find our car, all in all we have met
three people in about two hours. We didn’t talk much, you don’t have to, the
sea and the wind are doing the talking and once in a while some birds. That did
The people of
Akdeniz, the villagers have a long established history of their own; there was
a book published by Erol Akcan with a rich collection of photos and biographies
of this place. They have started to do some renovating seeing that now people
have started to come regularly to enjoy a day at the beach.
Driving home via
the newly built dam behind which Turkish waters will soon fill the valleys up
to Hizarköy, we realized, that our souls
have caught up with us and finding us relaxed and smiling.