Title: "Cyprus," Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and monthly record of geography (December 1889) [Electronic Edition]

Author: Biddulph, Robert, Sir, 1835-1918.
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Title: Cyprus

Title: Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and monthly record of geography Volume 11 Issue 12 (December 1889) 705-719

Author: Sir Robert Biddulph
Publisher: Edward Stanford
Place of publication: London
Publication date: 1889
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"Cyprus," Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and monthly record of geography (December 1889) [Electronic Edition]



Honorary President.
PresidentRight Hon, Sir MOUNTSTUART E. GRANT DUFF, G.C.S.I., C.I.E., &C.
TreasurerREGINALD T. COCKS, Esq.
TrusteesRight Hon. Lord ABERDARE, G.C.B., F.R.S.; Sir JOHN LUBBOCK, BaRT., F.R.S.
SecretariesDOUGLAS W. FRESHFIELD, Esq.; Colonel Sir FRANCIS W. DE WINTON, R.A., K.C.M.G.
Foreign SecretaryLord ARTHUR RUSSELL.
Members of Council.
Assistant Secretary and Editor of TransactionsH. W. BATES, Esq., F.R.S., F.L.S.
LibrarianJ. SCOTT KELTIE, Esq.
Map CuratorJOHN COLES, Esq., F.R.A.S.
Chief ClerkS. J. EVIS, Esq.
BankersMessrs. COOKS, BIDDULPH, and Co., 43, Charing Cross.


Candidates for admission into the Society must be proposed and seconded by Fellows, and it is necessary that the description and residence of such Candidates should be clearly stated on their Certificates.
It is provided by Chapter IV., 1, of the Regulations, that,Every Ordinary Fellow shall, on his election, be required to pay 3 as his admission fee, and 2 as his annual contribution for the year ending on the 31st December then next ensuing, or he may compound either at his entrance by one payment of 28, or at any subsequent period by the payment of 25, if his entrance fee be already paid.
All Subscriptions are payable in advance, on the 1st of January in each year.
The privileges of a Fellow include admission (with one friend) to all Meetings of the Society, and the use of the Library and Map-room. Each Fellow is also entitled to receive a copy of the New Monthly Series of the Proceedings and the Supplementary Papers, the former of which is forwarded, free of expense, to addresses in the United Kingdom, and the latter obtained on application at the Society's office.
Copies of the Regulations and Candidates' Certificates may be had on application at the Society's Office, 1, Savile Row, London, W.


VOL. XI., 1889.


1. This electronic text includes the complete text of Sir Robert Biddulph's "Cyprus," from the December 1889 issue of Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society (volume 11, issue 12, pp. 705-719). The front and back matter for the volume are also included, but no other articles.
Authors are alone responsible for their respective statements.
No. 1. January.
A Journey to Southern Morocco and the Atlas Mountains. By Joseph
A Visit to Sheshouan. By Walter B. Harris 18
A Journey from British Honduras to Santa Cruz, Yucatan. By William
Miller, Assistant Surveyor-General, British Honduras
Nilometers. By Colonel J. C. Ardagh, C.B., R.E. 28
Geographical Notes 38
Obituary 44
Report of the Evening Meetings 46
Proceedings of Foreign Societies 47
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 51
MAPS.Route from British Honduras to Santa Cruz, Yucatan 24
South-west Morocco 64
No. 2. February.
Journey from Natal to Bih and Benguella, and thence across the Central
Plateau of Africa to the Sources of the Zambesi and Congo. By F.S.
Further Exploration in the Regions bordering upon the Papuan Gulf. By Theodore F. Bevan 82
Note on the Origin and Orthography of River Names in Further India. By Samuel E. Peal 90
Geographical Notes 95
Report of the Evening Meetings 108
Proceedings of Foreign Societies 109
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 114
MAP.West Central Africa, from Benguella to the Sources of the Congo 128
No. 3. March.
The Gran Chaco and its Rivers. By Captain John Page, Argentine Navy 129
Explorations in the Glacier Regions of the Selkirk Range, British Columbia,
in 1888. By Rev. W. Spotswood Green, M.A
Geographical Notes 170
Report of the Evening Meetings 180

Proceedings of Foreign Societies 180
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 185
MAPS.The Gran Chaco 130
The Selkirk Range, British Columbia 196
No. 4. April.
Explorations on the Chindwin River, Upper Burma. By Colonel R. G.
Woodthorpe, R.E., C.B.
Letters from Mr. F. C. Selous on his Journeys to the Kafukwe River, and on
the Upper Zambesi
Formosa: Characteristic Traits of the Island and its Aboriginal Inhabitants.
By George Taylor, Imperial Chinese Customs Service
Geographical Notes 239
Correspondence 245
Obituary 246
Report of the Evening Meetings 248
Proceedings of Foreign Societies 249
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 252
MAPS.The Chindwin River, Upper Burma; The Upper Zambesi and Kafukwe
No. 5. May.
Letter from Mr. H. M. Stanley, on his Journey from Yambuya Camp
to the Albert Nyanza
The Transcaspian Railway. By the Hon. G. Curzon, M.P 273
The River Antanam balana, Madagascar. By L. H. Ransome 295
Geographical Notes 305
Report of the Evening Meetings 310
Proceedings of Foreign Societies 311
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 313
MAPS.The Aruwhimi River. Mr. Stanley's Route 262
Russian Central Asia and the Transcaspian Railway; Antanambalana
River, Madagascar
No. 6. June.
Explorations on the Welle-Mobangi River. By Captain Vangele 325
The Congo and the Ngala and Aruwimi Tributaries. By J. R. Werner 342
Further Explorations in the Caucasus. By A. F. Mummery, H. W. Holder,
C. T. Dent, and D. W. Freshfield, SEC. R.G.S.
Geographical Notes 374
Report of the Evening Meetings 378
Proceedings of Foreign Societies 384
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 390
MAPS. AND ILLUSTRATION.Koshtantau, from the Salananchera Glacier 352
Central Gongo Region; Elbruz and the Central Caucasus 404

No. 7. July.

The Annual Address on the Progress of Geography: 18889. By General R. Strachey, R.E., F.R.S., President 405
A Visit to the Glaciers of Alaska and Mount St. Elias. By Harold W. Topham 424
Geographical Notes 435
Correspondence 440
Obituary 441
The Anniversary Meeting 442
Proceedings of Foreign Societies 454
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 458
MAP AND ILLUSTRATION.Mount St. Elias and Vicinity; View of Mount St. Elias from the Malaspina Glacier 468
No. 8. August.
Journey across the Inland Ice of Greenland from East to West. By Dr.
Fridtjof Nansen
The Local Distribution of the Tribes inhabiting the Mountains of North-west Morocco. By
W. B. Harris
Explorations in the Region of the Upper Gascoyne and Ashburton Rivers, West Australia. By Ernest Favenc 492
Colonel Labre's Explorations in the Region between the Beni and Madre de Dios Rivers and the Purus 496
Geographical Education: the Year's Progress at Oxford 502
Geographical Notes 504
Report of the Evening Meetings 507
Proceedings of Foreign Societies 507
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 508
MAPS.Greenland and Southern Greenland, Dr. Nansen's Route; North-west
Morocco, Distribution of the Tribes; Madeira, Purus and Beni Rivers, illustrating Col. A. P. Labre's Explorations
No. 9. September.
New Guinea: Narrative of an Exploring Expedition to the Louisiade
and D'Entrecasteaux Islands. By Basil H. Thomson
Expedition to the Cockscomb Mountains, British Honduras. By J. Bellamy 542
The Geographical Congress in Paris. By E. Delmar Morgan 552
Geographical Notes 559
Proceedings of Foreign Societies 563
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 566
MAPS.Cockscomb Mountains, British Honduras 543
The Louisiade and D'Entrecasteaux Islands 580
No. 10. October.
Lake Tanganyika. By Edward C. Hore 581
The Bijouga or Bissagos Islands, West Africa. By Edward Stallibrass 595
The Geographical Congress in Paris. By E. Delmar Morgan 601

Geographical Notes 605
Correspondence 611
Obituary 612
Proceedings of the Geographical Section of the British Association, Newcastle
-upon-Tyne Meeting
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 630
MAP.The Tanganyika Basin 640
No. 11. November.
Geographical Co-ordinates in the Valley of the Upper Nile. By E. G.
Wind-action in Egypt. By W. M. Flinders Petrie 646
An Expedition across Australia from South to North, between the Telegraph
Line and the Queensland Boundary, in 18856. By David Lindsay
Explorations and Ascents in the Caucasus in 1889 671
Geographical Notes 677
Correspondence 683
Obituary 684
Proceedings of the Geographical Section of the British Association, Newcastle
-upon-Tyne Meeting
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 696
MAPS.Environs of Gondokoro 645
Sketch of the Adai Choch Group, Caucasus 675
Lindsay's Route across Australia, between the Queensland Boundary and the Overland Telegraph 704
No. 12. December.
Cyprus. By Lieut.-General Sir Robert Biddulph, G.C.M.G., C.B 705
Letter from Mr. H. M. Stanley, on his Journey from the Albert Nyanza
to the Southern side of Victoria Nyanza
Lieut. Stairs' Ascent of Ruwenzori 726
Mr. Rockhill's Attempt to reach Lhassa 730
Geographical Notes 735
Obituary 738
Report of the Evening Meetings 740
Proceedings of Foreign Societies 742
New Geographical Publications and New Maps 746
MAP.Cyprus 706


By Lieut.-General Sir ROBERT BIDDULPH, G.C.M.G., C.B.,
late H.M. High Commissioner, Cyprus.
(Read at the Evening Meeting, November 11th, 1889.)
THE island of Cyprus is the third largest in the Mediterranean, being inferior in size only to Sicily and Sardinia. Its area is 3584 square miles. Its principal features are two mountain ranges, running pretty well parallel to each other from east to west. The northernmost of these two ranges extends almost the whole length of the island from Cape Kormakiti on the north-west to Cape St. Andrea at the end of the horn-like promontory which stretches for 40 miles from the north-east of the island. This promontory is called the Carpas, and the low mountain chain running through it is called the Carpas range. The westernmost and higher portion of the northern range is called the Kyrenia range, and rises to an altitude of 3340 feet. This range is of a remarkably picturesque outline, in some parts extremely rugged. It is mostly a single ridge without any remarkable spurs, and its summit is about two miles from the northern coast. It can be crossed in many places, but there are three well-defined passes over it, viz. the Akatou Pass, which separates the Kyrenia and Carpas ranges; the Kyrenia Pass, which is due south of the town of Kyrenia, and forms the approach to it from Nicosia; and the Myrtou Pass, further west. The chief mountain peaks of this range are Kornos, 3105 feet; Buffavento, 3140; and Pentedaktylos, 2400. The last named is a remarkably shaped rock in the centre of the Kyrenian range, owing its name to its shape, the word Pentedaktylos signifying in Greek five-fingered. Beneath this rock there rushes out southward from the mountain side, at an altitude of 870 feet, a torrent of water, which never ceases to flow summer or winter, and which descending into the great plain in the centre of the island, carries its fertilising streams to the lands of several villages, its course marked by mills, gardens, and trees, until its water is exhausted by various irrigating channels. The principal village watered by this


stream is called in Greek Kythrea, and in Turkish Deyrmenlik (the place of mills). It is situated about 10 miles to the north-east of Nicosia.
A similar stream of water gushes from the northern side, about 12 miles west of the Kyrenia Pass, above the village of Lapithos, which, with the adjoining village of Caravas, are probably the most prosperous villages in the whole island. Smaller streams descend on either side of the range at various placestheir waters are used for irrigation in the valleys.
The southern range of mountains is of a much more extensive nature than the northern range, which I have just been describing. The easternmost point of this range is the mountain of Santa Croce, so called from the church of the Holy Cross which stands on its summit. This mountain, which is 2260 feet in height, is of a peculiar shape, and from its isolated position it forms a prominent landmark, not only for vessels approaching the port of Larnaca, but also for those entering Famagusta. Beginning then from this point the southern range rapidly rises to considerable altitudes, finally culminating in Mount Troodos, the highest point in Cyprus, 6406 feet above the sea-level. The other chief peaks in the southern range are, Adelphe, 5305 feet, and Machera, 4674 feet. But it is not only in altitude that the Troodos range is distinguished; numerous spurs run down to the north and south, and as we proceed further west these radiate out to greater distances, so that half way between Troodos and the sea, the mountain range is not less than 20 miles wide. Here there are very considerable forests, many miles in extent, rarely visited save by wandering flocks and by wood-cutters, and affording shelter to the moufflon, or wild sheep of Europe, some 200 or 300 of which still roam over these hills.
On the map it will be seen that numerous rivers descend from both sides of the southern range. These are mostly dry in summer, but after rain their waters descend with violence, filling up the river-beds in the plains, carrying away trees and cultivated patches, and often rushing in a turbid stream into the bays of Famagusta and Morphou.
Between the two mountain ranges which I have thus briefly described there lies a great plain called the Mesaorea, which is the most fertile part of Cyprus, growing large crops of wheat, barley, and cotton. It was evidently once the bottom of the sea, for in many parts are large beds of marine shellsgigantic oysters and othersall clustered in masses. A noticeable feature of this plain is the number of flat-topped plateaux of various sizes, where the rock seems to have resisted the action of the water. The tops of these plateaux are clothed with short herbage, affording a scanty provision for flocks, and are usually from 100 to 200 feet above the plain.
The rivers which descend from the hills carry down large quantities of alluvial soil, and this forms in the eastern part of the Mesaorea a rich deposit, something similar to the Delta of the Nile.


The two rivers which mainly contribute to this plain are the Pedius and the Idalia, the former taking its rise from the northern slopes of Mount Machera and the latter from the eastern slopes of the same mountain.
The Pedius flows northward to Nicosia, and encircling that city, continues its course eastward through the Mesaorea, receiving the drainage of the northern range during its course, and falls into the sea near the ruins of the ancient city of Salamis. The Idalia, passing to the south of Nicosia through the classic valley of Dali, also flows eastward, and falls into the sea at Salamis, about half a mile from the mouth of the Pedius. The beds of these rivers have, however, become so choked up with alluvial deposit towards the end of their course, that their waters overflow the plain and mingle together, so that their separate mouths can with difficulty be distinguished.
The only other considerable river rises on the northern slopes of Mount Adelphe, and after flowing to the north for about 20 miles, turns to the west, and passing the populous village of Morphou, flows into the Bay of Morphou.
The normal condition of these rivers is to be without water, but whenever there is a heavy rainfall in the mountains, the river comes down, as it is called, and runs for one, two, or more days. During the winter months, from December to February, this frequently happens, and I have known the river Pedius to be running for six weeks together, but this is rare.
It occasionally happens that the water descends with great suddenness and violence, causing disastrous floods. In December 1880, a storm of rain of the greatest violence burst over the valley of the Garilis, a small river which flows into the sea at Limassol. Six inches of rain were registered in three hours at the military cantonment at Polemidia, 3 1/2 miles from Limassol. The water overflowed the narrow channel and flooded the town of Limassol, washing down many houses, destroying much property, and causing the death of several persons. A similar calamity is reported to have occurred at Nicosia about twenty-five years ago. The river Pedius, bursting its banks at a point just outside the western gate of the city, forced open that gate, which had been closed, and rushing through the town to the Famagusta Gate on the east side, the waters closed that gate, and, finding no egress, flooded all the low-lying central parts of the city, causing great damage and loss of life. The inhabitants of the Mesaorea are never more pleased than when the rivers come down abundantly, but from the want of proper storage and direction, much of the water runs waste into the sea, and much land is rendered uncultivable from being flooded. Since the British occupation an ancient canal has been repaired which carries off some of the surplus waters of the Pedius, and irrigates a considerable tract of country, but the question of water storage in Cyprus is one for which there is much scope.


Considerable supplies of water for irrigation purposes are obtained by sinking wells. A long chain of wells are sunk at distances of five or six yards apart, and being connected by underground galleries, a channel is thus formed which conveys the water to a reservoir constructed at the foot of the last well, and it is thence raised to the surface by a waterwheel; or in some cases the level of the ground admits of the channel being brought out on the surface. In this way the town of Nicosia is supplied with excellent water, which is brought in two aqueducts from a distance of some miles. Larnaca and Famagusta and other towns have similar aqueducts.
Closely connected with the water supply is the forest question.
Cyprus was anciently clothed with forests. In Old Testament times much shipbuilding took place. In Balaam's prophecy we read that ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and it was with Cyprus timber that Alexander the Great built the fleets which he launched on the Tigris and Euphrates. At the present time the forests are confined to the mountain ranges, and threaten to disappear altogether.
At the time of the Egyptian occupation of Cyprus, vast quantities of timber were cut down and carried to Egypt. In this way the whole country round Larnaca was completely denuded of trees. Previous to that time, the low hills to the west of Larnaca were covered with forest. Now but a few dwarfed and scattered specimens remain. It is not till we approach the mountain of Troodos that we find anything like a real forest. Here, on the spot where the summer encampment of the troops is fixed, there are some magnificent specimens of the Pinus Laricio, which clothe the mountains from an altitude of 4500 feet upwards. The Aleppo pine furnishes, however, nine-tenths of the forests. It attains very fine dimensions in Cyprus, and flourishes on all sorts of mineral soils to an altitude of 4500 to 5000 feet. Trees of 10 feet in circumference are frequently met with. The forests continue westward from Troodos, though much encroached upon, and cruelly misused by reckless felling, and tapping for resin, until we pass the monastery of Kikko. Between this point and the sea, to the extremity of the watershed, there are real forests, and those of a very considerable extent, covering an area of over 200 square miles. These owe their immunity partly to their large extent; but more especially because the spurs and valleys leading to them are of so difficult a nature that the transport of timber is not easily effected. It is here that the few remaining cedars of Cyprus are to be found; occupying a space of seven or eight square miles, at a mean altitude of 4500 feet. They resemble the Atlas cedar; none of the trees exceed 80 years of age, an insignificant age for a species that reaches 2000 years.
The crest of the northern range is also fringed with trees, and there are other patches of forest land containing brushwood and a few trees. On the whole, the forest lands of Cyprus occupy an area of 400 square

miles. At the time of the British occupation, the ravages of the woodcutter were to be seen in full operation, and it cannot be doubted that it was only a question of time when the last remaining forests of Cyprus should entirely disappear.
The destruction of the forests dates, however, from modern times. For many centuries a vigorous felling went on, which gave to the wood of Cyprus an unique reputation in the Eastern world. I have already alluded to the fleets built by Alexander the Great from Cyprus timber; the Venetians also took immense quantities for their commerce and marine. But this would only affect the old and fine trees, because young trees are of no use for shipbuilding; hence the forests would always be renewed from the young trees. Great damage must, however, have been done by the mines which were so extensively worked by the Phnicians and the Romans, as trees of all sorts and sizes would be used for fuel. With the cessation of the mining, the forests must have again recovered themselves; and the true causes of the modern destruction of the forests are stated to be three in number, viz. fitful cultivation, fire, and the grazing of goats.
It is beyond the province of this paper to enter into detail on these points. They have been most ably dealt with by a French gentleman who was for three years the principal forest officer of Cyprus. But it may be interesting just to draw attention to the manner in which Cyprus is overrun by goats, which are the greatest enemies to forests in every country where they exist.
Taking five Mediterranean countries where goats abound, we find that there are:
In Italy 14 goats per square mile, 63 per 1000 inhabitants.
In Sicily 16 goats per square mile, 74 per 1000 inhabitants.
In Portugal 27 goats per square mile, 210 per 1000 inhabitants.
In Sardinia 25 goats per square mile, 374 per 1000 inhabitants.
In Cyprus 64 goats per square mile, 1430 per 1000 inhabitants.
Cyprus, in fact, contains more goats in proportion to its area and population than any country in the world.
The manner in which the destruction of forests is accomplished by goats, is described by Darwin and others with regard to the island of St. Helena. The goats were introduced into the island in 1502, and increased there in a short time beyond all measure. But as they only destroyed the young trees and respected the old, their ravages were not at first perceived. In 1710 the forests were still very thick; but in 1724 the old trees having arrived at the term of their existence, and having nearly all fallen, and those that ought to have replaced them not having sprung up, the forests disappeared almost suddenly, and were replaced by thick grass. The climatic disturbance thus caused to the island was very great and mischievous. In 1731 all stray animals were destroyed; but too late, as is always the case. Darwin, writing in

1836, adds: Sandy Bay is nowadays so arid that it was necessary for me to see an official record to believe that trees had ever grown there.
The French forest officer whom I have mentioned, M. Madon, made a very careful examination of the best-preserved parts of the forests, and showed the following results:
(1) For every hundred trees which were standing, there were 72 that had been felled and were left lying on the ground to rot.
(2) For the same number of standing trees (100) there were only 25 seedlings.
The first shows the result of wasteful and reckless woodcutting. The second is the result of the indiscriminate pasturage of goats.
I have dwelt a little on this forest question because it has very sensibly affected the wealth and productiveness of the island. As the forests disappeared, so did the soil that covered the hills. That soil was washed down to the plains, choked the river-beds and formed malarious swamps, the hills became bare rocks incapable of growing a blade of grass, and the locust at once took possession of the barren ground, whilst the absence of trees deprived the earth of its annually fertilising agent, leaf-mould. There is now a stony desert at the south-east of the island between Famagusta and Larnaca, where tradition says there was formerly a large forest, and to the east of the Mesaorea, on the now dry and desolate plateau, there are many lime-kilns now in ruins, which could not have been supplied except by a vegetation that has now altogether disappeared.
I have alluded to the appearance of the locust as being connected with the disappearance of the forests, and so much has been said about the locusts of Cyprus that I must not wholly pass them by without mention. The Cyprus locust is a small species, indigenous to the island, and is not the great migratory locust which is so well known. The young locusts make their appearance early in March, like very small flies in appearance, but they grow rapidly, and in a few days begin to hop along in masses. They do not begin to fly for about six weeks, and it is during the crawling stage that their destruction is effected. After they begin to fly nothing further can be done.
The inventor of the system used for destroying them is Mr. Mattei, a gentleman of Italian extraction, whose family have been long settled in Cyprus. He had observed their habit of moving straight in masses, so that on arriving at any deep ditch or well, they fell in and were unable to extricate themselves. On one occasion he was watching a large swarm which approached the city of Nicosia; on reaching the walls they climbed up them, and where the top of the wall was broken they entered the town, but in some places there was a smooth band of plaster on the top of the wall. He observed that they could not walk on this smooth surface, but fell back into the ditch. At once the idea flashed into his mind of making an artificial wall with a slippery top to it to

arrest their march. Filled with the idea he hurried home, and the first thing that met his sight was a table-cover of shiny American cloth. Dragging it off the table he began to cut it up into strips, in spite of the remonstrance of his wife, who thought he was out of his mind. These strips he sewed on to the top edge of lengths of canvas, and this originated the system which has continued with little change to the present time. Briefly the system was this: long screens of canvas about three feet high, with a band of oilcloth four inches wide running along the top edge of the screen, were stretched along the ground, supported by stakes driven into the ground at intervals. These screens often extend for several miles, and are placed so as to cross the line of march of the locusts. At the foot of the screen, pits about five feet long, 2 1/2 feet wide, and three feet deep, were dug, a wooden frame covered with zinc was put on the top of the pit so as to cover its edges. The locusts on arriving at the screen climb up it, but on reaching the top they find the strip of slippery wax-cloth, and fall down. After trying it over and over again, they turn the direction of their march and hop along at the foot of the screen, till they presently meet one of the pits and fall into it. They climb up the sides to get out again, but are met by the smooth zinc surface at the edge, and fall back into the pit; others come hopping in on top of them, and they are soon smothered by each other.
The system has been maintained by us in principle, but has been improved in detail. The wooden frames have been abandoned, and strips of zinc are used instead, which are laid on the ground, overlapping the edges of the pits. By this means they can be adapted to pits of any size, and a great saving is effected in the cost of transport, for when a swarm of locusts has been destroyed the screens and traps are taken up, packed on mules and donkeys, and carried off somewhere else. In places where the locusts are thick, or where they tend to accumulate, such as the mouth of a small ravine, very large pits are dug, covering a surface of 80 to 100 square feet. The locusts come pouring into these like a waterfall, and making the same rushing kind of noise.
When once the locusts begin to fly the traps are useless. The period for the locust campaign only lasts, therefore, for about six weeks, and everything depends on an active prosecution of the campaign during that period. If large swarms escape the whole work has to be gone over again the next year.
It was this consideration that led me to see that it was necessary to centralise the management of the locust campaign under one head. When each commissioner managed it in his own district, swarms constantly escaped from one district to another, and it was impossible to allot beforehand the screens and traps according to the wants of each district. Much time was lost in sending material from one district to another. I therefore placed the whole under the Government engineer,

and as public works were stopped for the time, all his organised labour was turned on to the work of locust destruction. The result was most successful. The number of locusts had been gradually increasing from 1879 to 1882. That year the conduct of the campaign was partially centralised, and the numbers of 1882 remained stationary. In 1883 the operations were thoroughly centralised under the Government engineer, and when the season opened in 1884 a large decrease was perceptible. The destruction was very complete that year, and thenceforward it was only necessary to have operations on a minor scale, so as to keep down any swarms that appeared. In 1885 I was able to report that the operations had practically come to a successful conclusion, and it has since been only necessary to prevent the few that annually appear, from increasing so as to make a fresh head again.
The greatest number which, it was calculated, were destroyed in one year was 195,000 millions in 1883, and the following year 56,000 millions. The estimated number of eggs laid by those that escaped in 1883 was 169,432 millions, and in 1887 it was 1216 millions, of which probably one-half would not come to maturity. The extraordinary fecundity of the locust is such that one pair of locusts left uninterruptedly to breed, would in ten years reach 2000 millions, even if one-half of the eggs failed to hatch out or were otherwise destroyed.
The total cost of the locust destruction from 1879 to 1885 was 66,000l.; but as the loss to the crops in a single year, had no steps been taken to destroy them, would have been not less than 80,000l., the outlay has been recouped many times over. The manner in which locusts destroy green vegetation is perfectly appalling. With marvellous rapidity, and regardless of any interruption, they strip off every green thing, and in a few hours the green fields which they attack disappear, leaving a few brown stalks issuing from what appears to be a fallow field.
The Cyprus locust lays its eggs in hard rocky ground. Each female deposits a cocoon, which contains usually thirty-two eggs. The female bores a hole in the ground to nearly the depth of her own body, and there deposits the cocoon, which she then covers over with earth. Attempts were made at first to destroy the locusts by collecting the eggs, but though as much as 1300 tons weight were collected in one year, it was found to be a useless expense, and that the screen system could not be dispensed with.
The prevalence of locusts in Cyprus is noted in an old chronicle of the thirteenth century, but it is only since the forests were destroyed that they have made head in the manner which has been so notable in modern times. It is not likely that the great breeding grounds of the locust will ever again be clothed with forest; and we must look for the disappearance of the locust when the population increases, and with it the cultivation.


The population of Cyprus at the census of 1881 was 186,000, of whom one-quarter are Mahometans, and the remainder of the Greek Church. It is said that under the Venetians the population was 2,000,000, but it is believed that it did not exceed half that number. An English traveller who visited Cyprus in 1815, states that the population then was between 60,000 and 70,000, and the produce of the island was then so small that the population must have been very scanty.
The people are almost wholly agricultural, the principal products being wheat, barley, cotton, carobs, olives, and grapes. From the latter is made an excellent wine, which has been famous from the earliest ages. It was the excellence of the wine which led to the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus by Selim II. That monarch, being very fond of wine, sent an expedition, in 1570, to take the island. The agricultural operations are carried on in a most primitive manner, and the wine is manufactured in the rudest way, the bunches of grapes being squeezed under planks, and obtaining a rough acrid taste from the stalks and grape-stones which are squeezed with them. The amount of wine made every year in Cyprus is about 1,600,000 gallons, of which about four-fifths is exported, chiefly to France, Egypt, and Turkey.
The agricultural prosperity of Cyprus is a matter of the gravest interest to the Government, for on that prosperity the revenue entirely depends. There are hardly any large properties in Cyprus, and still fewer instances of land worked on the tenant farmer system. It is emphatically a land of peasant proprietors, with the result that there are no wealthy persons and no beggars. Property is universally divided amongst the children, and again subdivided, so that one hears of a man owning the sixteenth part of a hovel that is not worth as many shillings. To such an extent is the subdivision carried out, that there are no less than 600,000 registered holdings of real property, i.e. more than three for each inhabitant. On each holding there is a land-tax of four per 1000 of its registered value, and the collection of such small sums from so many owners causes much labour and difficulty. The chief tax on land is, however, the tithe, which is, under Turkish law, the actual tenth part of the produce. It is not quite right to speak of it as a tax, it is really a reserved rent. In Mahometan countries all the land belongs to the State, i.e. the Crown. As each country was conquered the Sultan granted the lands, reserving one-tenth of the produce as rent, and the land passes subject to that reservation. Nor can it be said to be an excessive rent. In India we find one-sixth, one-fourth, and even one-third reserved. Joseph reserved one-fifth in the land of Egypt. In England the landlord is supposed to get one-third, leaving two-thirds for the tenant occupier.
as might be expected, in a country which is almost wholly occupied by peasants, the houses are poor, and exhibit little architectural skill or beauty. They are mostly built of sun-dried bricks; the villages usually

contain from twenty to eighty houses, and there are but few considerable towns. The principal of these are: the capital, Nicosia, situated in the centre of the island, and having 12,000 inhabitants; Larnaca, the chief seaport, with about 7000 inhabitants; and Limassol, also on the south coast, with about 6000 inhabitants. These two ports divide between them nearly the whole of the sea-borne trade, Larnaca taking nearly half the exports and three-quarters of the imports, and Limassol the rest of the imports and about half the exports. There is also a small export trade from the ports of Famagusta, Papho, and Lefka, and a moderate trade at Kyrenia, chiefly carried on with the opposite coast of Karamania. To facilitate trade, good iron piers have been built at Larnaca and Limassol; and a breakwater at Kyrenia, where the small country vessels suffered much in winter from northerly gales.
The town of Nicosia presents a pleasing and picturesque appearance to the traveller approaching it from the south. It lies compactly situated within a line of old fortifications, which describe a regular circle round the town. as there is no suburb outside the wall, the ramparts neatly finish off the houses, whose roofs appear above them in pleasing irregularity. The area enclosed by the fortifications is less than a square mile, but at least half of it is occupied by gardens, as nearly every house has a garden attached to it; and viewed from the heights above, the houses are mixed with palm-trees and orange-trees, the latter in great abundance, and scenting the air of the streets quite heavily when in blossom.
Rising above all the surrounding buildings is the old Latin cathedral, now a mosque, with two handsome minarets built on to it. This is kept in very good repair, and underneath the carpets which cover the floor may be seen the old gravestones with the names and effigies of knights and ladies with Latin or old French inscriptions.
Before the Turkish conquest in 1570, Nicosia occupied a much larger area than it does at present; but in anticipation of the Turkish attack, and probably in order to facilitate the defence, the old fortifications were thrown down, and the present ramparts constructed to enclose a much smaller area. All the houses outside the new line of defences were destroyed, and the old ramparts may still be easily traced although they are annually ploughed over.
The point where the Turks attacked was marked for future ages by the erection of a mosque on the breach. There it stands to this day, being called the Standard-bearer's Mosque. It marks the spot where the leader of the Turkish storming party planted the flag of the Crescent on the very summit of the breach, and there he fell. The Moslems, however, pressed forward and drove the Venetians backwards into the town. The defence of the latter must have been most gallant as they fell back on the Governor's palace. The track of the conquerors may be traced to this day by the tombs of their leaders who fell during their advance,

and, according to Turkish custom, were subsequently buried where they fell. The Standard-bearer was buried on the summit of the breach where the mosque now stands. At intervals along the streets leading to the old palace, now the Konak or Government Office, are the tombs of others of the Turkish leaders, and when we get to the Konak they are numerous. In the gateway itself is one, just outside is another, others in the courtyard and in the garden, and some upstairs in the rooms. You open a door of one of the offices, and in the corner is a tomb covered with a green flag. All the tombs are similarly cared for, and it strikes me as a fine soldierly trait of the Turkish character thus to hand down in perpetual remembrance the fame of the soldiers who achieved the Ottoman conquests, by the silent witness of their tombs on the spots where they fell. At the time of the British occupation, everything seemed to have been left untouched since the arrival of the Turks. On the ramparts there were the Venetian gunslarge bronze pieces, each profusely ornamented and engraved with the name of the founder and the badges of the Republic; the carriages quite unserviceable from the effect of time; the shot, round and barshot, neatly piled up by the side of each gun; the magazines filled with powder, and over the door of the principal one, the armoured headpiece of a horse, such as you may see in the Tower of Londonthe last relic in Cyprus of the Venetian Knights.
After Nicosia fell, Famagusta still held out for many months. It was the last stronghold of the Venetians, and its gallant defence by the Venetian governor, Bragadino, is a matter of history. For eleven months he withstood the constant attacks of the Turks, and at last, worn out by losses and famine, he surrendered. The Turks, destitute of all sense of chivalry towards a brave enemy, revenged themselves for the losses they had experienced by flaying him alive. His skin was ultimately given up to the Venetians, and was deposited in an urn which was placed in one of the churches in Venice, where it is still to be seen.
Famagusta was fortified like Nicosia, and was jealously guarded by the Turks. The walls were kept in good order, and the Venetian guns remained on the ramparts. Near the water-gate, in a casemated room, were found heaps of decayed and rusty armour, which evidently had been thrown there after the capture of the city, and had remained there ever since. But though the walls of Famagusta are in good repair, the city within is in ruins. Never was there such a city of ruins; in the midst appear open spaces of ground, some even being ploughed and sown. About 800 persons, all Turks, live within the walls. A new town, called Varoshia, has sprung up half a mile outside the gates, where all the business is carried on. The old cathedral of Famagusta is a very striking building, terribly ruined, but still used as a mosque, like the old cathedral of Nicosia, to which I have alluded.
The only other fortress of any consequence was the fort of Kyrenia,

a medival-looking castle picturesquely situated at the water's edge, and occupying one side of the small harbour of Kyrenia. It is now used as a prison.
Three ruined castles, dating from the times of the Crusades, are situated on the northern range of hills. The most important of these is the Castle of St. Hilarion, situated about half a mile to the west of the Kyrenia Pass, and 2380 feet above the sea. Parts of it are in a fair state of preservation, and from the extent of its walls it must have required a garrison of at least 500 men. It was besieged and taken by Richard Cur de Lion when he landed in Cyprus on his way to Palestine. It is easily approached from the east, but on other sides it is inaccessible.
The ruins of another castle are found on the top of Buffa Vento, which is nearly the highest peak on the northern range, and about half-way between Pentedaktylon and the Kyrenia Pass. Very little remains of this ruin, and the most perfect portion, containing a fine Gothic window, was much damaged by an earthquake five or six years ago. The castle is most difficult of access, and its building must have been a work of great labour. It can now only be approached by climbing from the foot of the hills.
The third ruined castle on the northern range is Kantara, situated in the Carpas at an altitude of over 2000 feet. It is in a better state of preservation than the castle of Buffa Vento, though not so good as St. Hilarion. It is called by the Greeks Ekatonspitia (hundred houses). From the castle of Kantara, looking westward along the northern shore, is one of the most beautiful views in the whole island.
There is another beautiful ruin in the northern range, viz. the old monastery of Bellapais, about three miles from Kyrenia. The refectory is still in good repair, and the rest of the building, though roofless, shows distinctly the monks' dormitories, the chapter room, cloisters, &c. The chapel of the monastery is still used as the village church. The tracery of the windows and cloisters is very perfect in many places.
These ruins all date back from the middle ages, mostly from the time of the Lusignan dynasty. Of ancient buildings of an earlier date there are but few remaining. Probably the oldest complete building is the church of the Holy Cross, on the top of the mountain of Santa Croce, which is stated by de Mas Latrie to have been founded in the fourth century. The lower part of the walls is evidently far more ancient than the upper structure, and it was possibly the site of some ancient heathen temple.
There are other places, mostly in ruins, of little architectural interest, but interesting by their traditions, such as the tomb of St. Barnabas (concerning which there is a curious tradition), the old Tower of Kolossi, near Limassol, and remains of ancient cities and temples, whose ruins yield old statues, of no very striking merit, to the antiquity hunter.


Extensive ruins, three miles north of Famagusta, indicate the site of Salamis, once a most flourishing seaport, the place where St. Paul landed when he visited Cyprus. It evidently was a wealthy place, and ruined columns, still remaining, show that an aqueduct conveyed water to the city from the spring at Kythrea, a distance of 25 miles as the crow flies. At Larnaca is the site of the ancient port and citadel of Kitium (or Chittim). A hill called Bamboolah marks the site of the latter, and yields to the excavator large blocks of finely cut stone.
There are two ancient independent monasteries, both situated on the southern range, viz. Kikko, which stands on the watershed of the Troodos range at an altitude of 3800 feet, and Machera, which is further east, and is most picturesquely situated on the northern slopes of the southern range. Kikko was founded 800 years ago, but the old building was destroyed by fire in 1817, and then lost all its books and MSS. It is very wealthy, being a shrine of some sanctity, and receiving many pilgrims every year. It possesses property, not only in Cyprus, but also in parts of Turkey, both in Europe and Asia, and considerable property in Tiflis.
Machera is not so large or wealthy as Kikko, but it is in some respects a more interesting spot. Amongst other objects of interest, it possesses a picture of a former abbot, who subsequently became archbishop of Cyprus, and was hanged by the Turks with the other bishops in 1823. If we may trust to tradition, he was probably the ablest man who ever occupied the archiepiscopal see. The portrait is a striking one, and was executed, I think, in Wallachia, where he had been sent on a mission when only a young member of the monastery of Machera.
If time did not fail me, I should like to prolong this subject, and to take you with me in imagination to some of the beautiful spots which are to be found in Cyprus, to enter the houses and see the townspeople at their avocations, the women weaving silk at the primitive looms, of which specimens were shown in the Colonial Exhibition three years ago; to visit the villages; to listen to the shepherds piping to their flocks; to follow the mountain tracks, where amidst the murmuring of the streams, by the side of a hazel copse, or under a shady old walnut tree, you might listen to the cawing of the crows and imagine yourself in England. But there is something besides time that fails me, and that is the capacity to do justice to the infinite variety of scenery which Cyprus affords, to depict adequately the charm of travelling through every part of the island, pitching one's tent in every variety of spot; now on a village green; now on a mountain side; one day in the depths of the silent forests; another day by a babbling stream under the shade of magnificent plane-trees; or again seeking shelter from the sun in the old refectory of the monks of Bella Pais.
If my failure to depict such scenes would induce any of you to go and visit them for yourselves, you would be amply repaid. The

exhilarating air imparts a peculiar charm to the scenery, which is heightened by the simplicity and hospitality of the villagers. To be in a country so near to civilisation, and yet where news from the outside world arrives only once a fortnight, and where there are no railways! Such is the place to refresh the mind wearied with daily papers, telegrams, sensational news, and advertisements, with the postman coming ten times a day with letters which you don't want to get.
It is a remarkable fact that most of those who have resided in Cyprus want to go back to it again. For my own part there is no country which I would so gladly revisit for a holiday, and I can therefore conscientiously recommend it to those who wish to escape from England during the trying months of January to April in this country.
After the paper,
Captain G. A. K. WISELY, R.E., referred to the energy of Sir Robert Biddulph in visiting every part of the island. The inhabitants were very poor, having been subjected to terrible exactions by former rulers, but everything possible was now being done to give them justice and good government, and to improve the public works of the island. Still, it was well to recognise that the Government could only give them a limited assistance, and a great field was there open for the sympathy of the British public. Wherever Sir Robert Biddulph went in Cyprus, the time of the medical officer, in the evening and during the luncheon hour, was occupied in attending to crowds of people who were suffering from very ordinary complaints, without the slightest idea how to get at a remedy. He was glad to know that an organisation had been started as far as possible to meet their wants, and to bring within their reach the medical and nursing facilities of which they stood in need. The Cyprus Society had been started for that purpose, and a lady had recently volunteered to go out in order to organise nursing work in the island.
The PRESIDENT congratulated the Society on having spent the first evening of the new Session in listening to so interesting a paper from so distinguished a servant of the Crown. Sir R. Biddulph had placed before them in a most lucid manner the broad outlines of the geography of Cyprus, telling them of its mountain ranges, its great central plain, and its rivers, which might properly be called only winter torrents. He had also spoken of his brilliant and successful campaign against the locusts. It was not his fault that he had not been equally successful in dealing with the goats. A good many years ago, when he (the President) was at the Colonial Office, Sir R. Biddulph constantly pressed that subject upon their attention. Two years ago, he (the President) spent some time on the shores of Syria under Mount Carmel, and the manner in which the goats there seconded the evil work of the woodcutters in denuding the hills of Palestine led him to sympathise with the sufferings of those who were interested in the forests of Cyprus. It was to be regretted that the Fortunatus of the fairy tale, who was the son of a gentleman of Famagusta, had left no descendants. He was sure he interpreted the feelings of all present when he tendered to Sir R. Biddulph the sincere thanks of the Society for his excellent paper.

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Date: (unknown) (Electronic edition revised November 2005) . Author: Biddulph, Robert, Sir, 1835-1918. (Electronic edition revised LMS).
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