Our Trip to Cyprus

From May 22 to June 1 Sylvia and I will be on a trip to Cyprus, the third-largest Mediterranean island, situated in the corner between Turkey and Syria. Like most other such islands, it is filled with ancient ruins from the Neolithic age to the present.

In ancient times it was famed for its copper mines, linking the island’s name forever with the metal. My maternal grandfather, Charles F. Jackson, went to Cyrpus as a mining engineer in the years 1923-25, working with the Cyprus Mines Corporation, formed in 1914 by Godfrey Gunther and mining engineer Seely Mudd, two American mining engineers, to reopen the Roman copper mines at Skouriotissa.

The name Skouriotissa means, in Greek, “our lady of the slag (heaps).” His family, including my mother, accompanied him for this time and lived at an old monastery or mission compound nearby.

The first picture has my mother, age 9, standing in front of an old Greek church in the monastery courtyard.

Williams' mother standing in front of Old Court and Chapel in Skouriotissa

The second picture is of my grandfather, Charles Jackson, standing in the entrance to the building they called home.

Black and white photo of Charles F. Jackson

We are taking along a set of pictures like these two taken by my grandparents while they were living there to see if we can find any contemporary views, especially of the monastery. The mine, once a shaft mine, is now an open-pit mine. Like its predecessor, it too creates sizable environmental problems in the nearby farming areas.

The mine complex is located just on the Greek side of the “green line,” the boundary set up by the UN to bring an armistice to the warfare that erupted in the early 1970s when Turkish forces invaded the island to protect the Turkish-speaking population from possible eviction or destruction by the Greek-speaking population, which had led in the independence movement from Great Britain.

While Cyprus is an independent republic, it still exists with an “occupied territory” comprising about a third of the island. One of the things I want to do is visit the “House of Cooperation,” in Nicosia, an NGO that is seeking to help heal the divisions that have become a near-permanent state of affairs in the country.

In addition, we will be poking around some of the old Greek, Roman, and Crusader ruins, including the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, the patron goddess of Cyprus. And then, of course, there are the beaches, the food, and the people in their great variety. I’ll try to blog a little from there, but you may not hear from me until early June.

5 thoughts on “Our Trip to Cyprus”

  1. Dear Mr Everett
    I am a professor of archaeology teaching at the University of Cyprus. My research focuses on the production and trade of Cypriot copper. If you are interested you can visit my site on Academia.edu (https://ucy.academia.edu/VASILIKIKASSIANIDOU) where you can download my papers once you register. Or I will be happy to send you pdfs by email.
    I came across your blog and the entry on your trip to Cyprus while searching for a contact for the descendants of J. L. Bruce who was the resident director of CMC in the 1920s.
    It seems I was extremely lucky as I found you, since your grandfather was also working at the mine, and I saw that there was a comment by someone who says that they are the son in law of J.L. Bruce.
    The reason I was searching is that J.L. Bruce published in 1927 a paper on antiquities found in the mines of Cyprus. It remains the only eyewitness account of the ancient mines in Skouriotissa and Mavrovouni since both deposits were subsequently opened up. It has a number of photographs of the underground mine.
    I am looking for more photographs of the ancient galleries, of artifacts found in them and of the slag heaps in Skouriotissa which although still extremely impressive have now been greatly diminished.
    Do you have any photographs of this nature in your grandfathers archive and would you be willing to give them (scans of them) to me for my research?
    Also is there a way to get in touch with the person (stevey b) who wrote they are the son in law of J.L. Bruce?
    Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated
    Thanking you in advance
    Vasiliki (Lina) Kassianidou

  2. Your grandfather probably knew my father-in-law, James Bruce who was the resident director of Cyprus Mines between 1925-1935. I am working a book on Cyprus too.

  3. Dear Bill and Syl, great trip!
    I remember vividly having been in Cyprus in 1995 when I was with the Berlin Mission in order to meet with the Presbyterian Church in Sudan leaders and their mission partners. The delegation consisted of two parts, Northern half from Khartoum, Southern half from Malakal and Juba, most of them Nuer. Cyprus was the best place to meet because both groups could get visas to the place.
    Recently, I read in our church newspaper that the Cyprus government is planning to send a Bahai woman back to Iran, a clear violation of religious freedom. And then two days ago there was a report on Turkish aircraft having chased away an Israeli military plane from the coast of North Cyprus, the Turkish part. Background is the attempt of Cyprus and Israel to mine gas fields in the Mediterranean around Cyprus.
    Cyprus is just a hot spot – in many ways. May it be hot only in temperature and in excitement. Have an excellent time!
    Yours from the German North to the Cyprus South,
    Gerd and Gerit

  4. Have a wonderful trip and blog when you have the opportunity. I will look forward to your thoughts about the cultures and history of the area.

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