By Chris and Fred (Kuzey Kibris and Nord Zypern) ….
Hard Luck! Or: How to find a Memorial Tank by accident!
Fred, who has been travelling to North Cyprus since 1981, told me once that a friend of his told him years ago about a tank from the war in 1974, which is still somewhere up in the mountains. Curious as I am, I was interested in this story, but I expected it to be somewhere unknown, so I dropped the idea of finding it, especially after some locals told me they had never heard of it.
One day, we made the decision to look for the Pigades Sanctuary, as it was one of the few last remaining tourist attractions named in almost every guide book, and we hadn’t visited yet. Too bad it is nowhere near where it was stated it actually was.
I had a chat with a friend from Turkey, who is married to a Turkish Cypriot. We were talking about this and that and which tourist attractions we both had already visited. I asked him about the Pigades Sanctuary and as he didn‘t know about it, he asked his wife. She is from Taskent village and told us, the Pigades Sanctuary must be somewhere in or near Hizarköy.
On our next trip to North Cyprus, we made the plan to go from Famagusta via the motorway to Güzelyurt and then to Kormacit (Korucam), as we were not very familiar with the side roads back in that time. We wanted to go to Maria‘s place for lunch and of course to meet with her and her family. On our way back, we wanted to go to Hizarköy and look for the Pigades Sanctuary. No sooner said than done!
We came to the road from Camlibel and took the first road to Hizarköy. After searching in the village and nearby, we gave up and took the second road back to the main road again.
Too bad the Pigades Sanctuary is located on the main road between those two roads leading to Hizarköy, instead of near the village. However, we found it anyway on our next trip to Kormacit and Maria‘s place.
We were heading towards Nicosia, when I noticed something interesting at the turn-off towards Kozanköy: A sign saying Anit Tank! After the failure with the Pigades Sanctuary this could really make my day! We followed the road to Kozanköy and passed the village. We enjoyed the stunning views of the beautiful area, and as the Panagia Katharon monastery aroused our interest, we decided to pay it a visit.
After a short while, and because it was getting late, we continued our journey, hoping to be able to find the tank, while we also enjoyed the stunning landscapes.
Half way to Karsiyaka, we found another sign saying “Tank: This way up the mountain“. We followed the narrow road on the mountains crest, while we spoke 100s of prayers before every bend and hoped there was no car coming our way. After some minutes and holding our breath many times, we saw some tank treads beside the road and a stunning view over the north coast. Some other cars were there and people were wandering around. We parked our car and after a few meters on the way to the tank treads, we saw a something like a memorial sign and a Turkish and TRNC flag next to it. The Tank must be close! And yes! After a few more meters we saw it on the hillside next to the road! Still there after all these years. The rumours Fred‘s friend told him once, were true!
We were excited! We had found the tank and also the Panagia Katharon monastery. The stunning views we had on our way were a perfect compensation for missing the Pigades Sanctuary.