Welcome back to more ways to be grateful that we live in the air-conditioned world of 2019. We have spent the week, diving into the classified ads of old Cyprus. Let’s cleanse our palate with ladies on looms or doing needlework.
Clothes were important, especially for these deacons in the courtyard of Kykko Monastery, which had fancy new electric lights.
This fine figure was the prelate (not the pre-early) of the Myrtou monastery dedicated to Saint Panteleimon (not pantemime), where he presided as bishop. As to what he is holding, do not ask me.
Less impressive garb was worn by the mountain maids of Platres, a popular summer resort.
The clothes of this young girl working in the bakery seem festive and refined.
But this toddler had the best job of all, grabbing the rear saddle handlebars as she rode her donkey backwards. “Away from Cyprus, mule! Let us be gone!”
Yesterday, we got a taste of the laborious jobs on the island of Cyprus in 1928. But one post could not do the many jobs justice.
The men below are taking a reprieve from sacking, weighing, and carrying heavy bags of carob pods. Carob is the nasty chocolate substitute that my folks made me eat from Whole Foods. No wonder it was so expensive. Most of this crop went to England, France, Spain and Egypt to feed cattle. What? Yes, for energy-rich fiber. But some of it was made into sweets and syrup.
Understandably, men’s work differed from women’s work, though both wore them down. In front of this dyeshop hung with yarn dyed a deep blue for men’s trousers, this elderly woman spins yet more yarn. The trousers had full seats that were tucked into the belt for cross-country walking.
Speaking of walking, here we see another baker (similar to yesterday’s baker), carrying an entire bread counter on his shoulders.
If you didn’t like carrying, you could spend the day tossing, like this man and boy at a Famagusta pottery pile. The ones he neglected to catch would up in the dovecote.
The broken jars became shelters for doves, who made their way into lore in the tale of the Cypriote king who kept himself cool by causing doves to flutter around him. This was before boxed fans.
If you looked like a Mediterranean Charlie Chaplin, you might find yourself in this job, where another version of Chaplin scrunched down inside a kiln.
There they fired oil, wine, and water jars. I would suggest a pair of shoes.
This might be hard to detect against the backdrop of the Sea Gate Tower, part of the city’s Venetian fortification, but here we see a two-man sawmill.
That kind of work calls for Gatorade. But that wouldn’t be invented till ’65.
Join us tomorrow for yet more fun and fabulous career choices! I leave you with this image of a 12-year-old on her day off from breaking rocks, enjoying a day of rest.
Finding work in 2019 can be a problem. Otherwise, I’d be working right now and not typing up a free blog post. But the Craigslist jobs of today pale in comparison to the backbreaking jobs available in the country of Cyprus in 1928.
First off, we have the arduous task of rockbearing. Don’t let the smiles fool you; as soon as the sun went down, they were off to the local chiropractor and physical therapist to straighten up those spines.
For those of you who enjoy being bent over all day (but don’t like transporting rocks), consider washing laundry with your feet, like the women of Kalopanayiotis traditionally do. Bonus duty: using a paddle to bludgeon the water out of the clothes.
Helene and her mother seem to have found a more suitable alternative to leaning forward. However, they were only briefly upright for the picture, as their job entailed breaking rocks to make them usable for road work.
This farmer may have found the best seat in town, seated on his sledge as the oxen move forward. The children serve as makeweights.
While none of these jobs seem to be pleasurable in any way, the next one offers gluteny fruits of one’s labors. The “itinerant Cypriote bakery” must delight all those who encounter it–despite the dust, flies, and stray dark hairs of the baker who made it. If nothing else, he clearly has the best work uniform among the bunch.
Tomorrow, we’ll peruse yet more want-ads of the Cyprus papers, and perhaps you can find your niche!
Imagine yourself in Famagusta, a city on the east coast of Cyprus, over 90 years ago. The tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus currently has a population just over a million, or a scooch more than the capital of Texas. So you can imagine how sparsely populated it must have been in 1928. You could hit the open-air market early for coffee in the cafe on the left. Then you could purchase fresh fruit and grab a goat carcass to go.
Or if you were feeling especially fancy, you could travel 30 miles to dine at the restaurant in nearby Nicosia. There they would serve you a meal of nutty breads, ripe olives, sour cheese, roast goat, and you could wash it all down with a draft poured from a pink-clay pitcher.
While gnawing on tough goat, you could enjoy the lovely view of the Ayia Sophia mosque, as it was known back then, meaning “Holy Wisdom” in Greek. Take in the scars of Turkish cannon balls hurled at her walls, the broken buttresses and ruined belfries, and the one Gothic turret elongated into a minaret. Today it is known as Selimiye Mosque. The foundation stone is from 1209, so yeah, it’s old.
Stop by tomorrow for more images and history from the little island of Cyprus!