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Myths and Legends of the Akamas

With the Akamas peninsula, located in the north-western part of Cyprus, in 48 kilometers from Paphos, is associated with many ancient legends and mythological subjects.

This unique nature reserve, created by nature itself, at the first acquaintance is amazing: it seems that nowhere has more clean air, so blindingly bright sun and crystal clear water of mountain streams. Maybe because of the rare beauty of flowers and herbs, preserved only in Akamas, and once it grows all over Cyprus, the legendary Homer called it - "the fragrant island flowers."

The ancient history of the peninsula is closely linked to Greek mythology. For example, the myth telling of Theseus, the winning Cretan monster - the Minotaur with the help of the king's daughter Ariadne, in one of his heavily modified variants takes us to Cyprus.

The ship on which Theseus escaped from Crete with his beloved Ariadne and her sister Phaedra persons rescued from the monster, a terrible storm came to the shores of Cyprus. Here the hero was forced to leave Ariadne, who was expecting a child and could not continue with all the swimming. After some time Theseus returned her and bitterly learned that Ariadne died during childbirth.

Returning to his native Athens, where he was a king, Theseus married the sister of Ariadne, who gave him two sons. Many years later, one of them - Akamas, famous for his strength and agility, Theseus succeeded on the throne. People are so loved and honored their new king, that he erected a monument in Athens.

After the abduction of Helen by Paris son of the Trojan king Akamas was sent to Troy to demand the return of Helen to her husband. When the Achaeans managed to carry out a cunning plan Odyssey Akamas was among those who had entered the city, hiding inside the wooden horse.

Even before the siege of Troy, the Trojan princess loved Akamas Laodike, which soon bore him a son. Unable to return to his hometown because of the connection with Laodike which was not interrupted during the siege, Akamas, looking a traitor in the eyes of the Athenians, arrived in Cyprus. Here he founded the city Akamantidu.

And myths tell of the tragic death of Akamas. According to one version, he was having an affair with a Thracian princess Phyllis, who, after the hero of her left, gave his daughter a mysterious casket. Akamas once opened it, but what he saw was so terrible that he fell from his horse and died naporovshis on his own sword.

There is a hypothesis that on a peninsula in ancient times was fairly advanced civilization, the center of which was Akamantida. But it should not yet detected.

Cypriot researchers have long been interested in the origin of the name of the peninsula. It is believed that the word "Akamas" means "akavtos", ie, "non-combustible". In favor of this view is the fact that the famous Cypriot chronicler Leontios Machaira wrote about how the Saracens (so the Europeans called the Arab conquerors), repeatedly attacking the island, plundered and burned it. After one of these raids Cyprus was burned to ashes to ashes - there was only a mountain Akamas.

Supporters of the other versions cited as evidence of his innocence word "akamat" that the Cyprus dialect means people Outback area.

Picturesque scenery of the Akamas, fossilized shells, fragments of pottery vessels, reminiscent of existing settlements here in ancient times, gave rise to many legends. Their echoes can be heard in such poetic names as: Fontana Amorosa, Rigeny Fortress, Baths of Aphrodite, and many others.

Tourists visiting this fabulous peninsula, especially popular Baths of Aphrodite. If you believe the myths, it is in this place took baths goddess of love and beauty, which is also called Cyprida. It broke the love between Aphrodite and Adonis. But as well as mere mortals, the gods of Olympus were envious and jealous. And the beautiful young man dies from wounds inflicted by a boar sent by Artemis. Aphrodite, bitterly lamenting her lover turned him into a beautiful flower. From the blood of Adonis roses bloom of tears of the goddess - anemones.

Akamas - a unique place where nature is preserved in its original form. Flora and fauna of the peninsula is rich and varied, as Cyprus lies at the crossroads of three vegetation zones: Europe, Asia and Africa. Here there are: Arbutus, wild plum, Royal Oak, green tree, oriental plane tree, myrtle tree, alder and others. From field and forest plants can be found: mountain flower and orchid, cyclamen and tulips, mountain lavender, as well as listed in the Red Book of pink-purple peonies.

Dwells on the peninsula 168 species of birds, among them - a rare griffon vulture and 20 reptile species. Also has majestic mouflon, pleases the eye varied colorful world of butterflies.

For many years, work is underway to save the sea turtles that live in the area of ​​Akamas. From year to year in the Lara Beach dunes sail green (Chelonia midas) and ordinary (Caretta Caretta) turtles to here in a small cove postpone hundreds of thousands of eggs. In the district of Paphos there station incubator dedicated to the conservation and artificial breeding of sea turtles. Systematic work on the protection of reptiles, protect their habitat, especially breeding sites, feeding and wintering.

Laon is located on the plateau of the three-kilometer gorge Avakas with its mysterious caves. Several years ago, at the depth of the Akamas forest 70 meters was discovered labyrinth, whose existence was known only to a few local shepherds, but did not dare to go down there because of its inaccessibility. The cave has two outputs that are now permanently closed precaution.

To get inside the cave, you need to go through one of the moves, the diameter of which is three meters, and then creep along the thirty-meter-long hole, after which a zigzag tunnel opens, a length of twenty meters, where a person can already become fully grown. Having overcome some distance, you get to the gallery with huge stalactites and stalagmites. Thousands of bats live here. It is possible to imagine the surprise of researchers who descended to such a depth with the help of special equipment when they discovered an ancient pottery and a copper arrowhead. How these objects were in a cave, probably, it will never be possible to find out, although scientists hope to solve this riddle.

There is a government plan for development of the Akamas, according to which this area given the status of a national park. State and public organizations strictly follow the order to prevent further occurrence of civilization on this virgin nook, inherited Cypriots inherited from previous generations. Must try to convey his descendants in such a condition that he continued to please all who truly loves and appreciates nature.

Lyudmila Papaconstantinou - historian, editor of "The Cyprus Kaleidoscope", published by the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) in Russian, as well as pages for Russian readers in the newspaper "Vima Ergatiko."

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