By Chris Schubert (Kuzey-Kibris) ……
I knew about the ancient statues of Yenierenköy since my first trip to North Cyprus back in 2006, after I saw a picture of them in a guide book.
The ancient statues are located somewhere up the hill, opposite of Ayios Thrysos church near the Theresa Hotel, east of Yenierenköy. Both statues are unfinished and carved into the limestone. It‘s not known why they haven‘t been finished. Rumours I have heard, said the statues are from the bronze age period.
As well as the statues, there was the Vikla Fortress on the top of a small hill and some bronze age rock tombs. Also there‘s the Byzantine church Ayia Marina. There is not much known about it, but there are some parts of frescoes still visible. Locals know the church as the Hanging Church and it‘s believed the Ottomans took criminals up there for execution.
One day we visited the Ayios Thrysos church and the Byzantine chapel next to it. While straying around the church, I noticed a sign on the opposite side of the road. It was a big hand drawn map of the area showing all the sights in the area, but after a sceptical look up the hill, I decided to leave the statues alone…for this time!
I knew, it would be hard to find them and after all these years I had gained a lot of experience in finding places and also in getting disappointed. I know about missing hints and removed signposts. This can truly screw your day, so I waited and gathered information wherever I could.
Some years later, Google added cards with higher resolution and more details, so it was possible to get a better view over the whole area. After some research I found the Ayia Marina. The roads leading up to it matched more or less with a sketch of a map I found some years ago.
After some more research, I was able narrow down the possible location of the statues to a small area nearby. I didn‘t have an urgent need to go there, but I also didn‘t forget about it.
It was our last day and after an awesome breakfast at Osman Aga‘s, we went back to the hotel to get our suitcases packed as much as possible.
We were all finished by the early afternoon, so we started thinking about what to do in the last remaining hours. Fred had the idea to drive around a bit, so we went from the Hotel via Iskele to Ercan. We continued to Demirhan for a cup of ice cream at Mardo and then we drove over the mountain to the north coast road and towards home.
At the junction to Gecitkale, we decided to continue as it was still early and then the same at Büyükkonuk junction. We continued towards Yedikonuk and Balalan and made a short break at the Yudi stone.
Still following the north coast road, we arrived at the Karpaz main road junction and we still didn‘t have the urgent need to go back to the hotel, so I decided to continue until the Ayios Thrysos. After some time we arrived the church to take another break.
While standing there, I looked up the hill remembering the statues. Too bad I didn‘t have my maps with me. While trying to remember the route up there, I recalled another detail. I remembered a guy wrote somewhere, that he got up there with a normal car and I told Fred about it. Surprised I noticed the dirt track leading up there has been recently asphalted.
We followed the road up the hill and after a few meters it changed back to a dirt track. At least it was negotiable by car. Soon we passed the former Vikla fortress and after a while, we were able to spot the Ayia Marina.
After we passed the church, we decided to park the car. We walked around aimlessly for a while until we saw a bunch of goats and a shepherd. Yay! I asked him for the location of the statues but it turned out, his English was as bad as my Turkish. However, he knew what I was looking for and he pointed at some shrubbery up the hill. I went up there and after some looking here and searching there, I finally saw them! It took me almost 10 years to find them, but as we all know, patience is a virtue.
On our way back, we paid a visit to the Ayia Marina. We‘ve been close to it, but the grass was high and it was still snake time, so we didn‘t dare to enter. Now we know where it is, it‘s a piece of cake to come here again.