The Blue House

     The Mavi Köşk (the Blue House), home to Makarios’s Italian born Greek lawyer Byron Pavlides, was built in 1957 on the outskirts of Çamlıbel (Myrtou). Since 1974 it has been safely inside an Army camp and looked after by the military.
     A number of myths have grown up round Pavlides. What is known is that he came from a respected family involved in the motor trade. He was the main agent for General Motors, Vauxhall and Opel, with offices in Famagusta, Larnaca, Paphos and Kyrenia. What is rumoured (but without any proof), is that he was an EOKA gun runner, who built his house where he did in order to keep an eye out to sea for the arrival of his gun-running ships. Pavlides is accused of being the biggest arms smuggler of the Middle East of the day. There are also rumoured to be secret underground passages and chambers built to hide contraband and smuggled arms.
     Whatever the truth, Pavlides was no doubt an eccentric, flamboyant man who tended to build his houses in remote areas to ensure his privacy. He had earlier built the White House on the road to St Hilarion on the outskirts of Kyrenia, and he was there in 1963 when the persecution of the Turkish Cypriots was renewed. (The white House is now inside an army area and is used as an officer's mess.)
     Having fled what became a Turkish Cypriot area to the Greek Cypriot area of Morphou (Guzelyurt), he built the Blue House in a similar style, but with a blue theme. There are blue tables and chairs, a blue bathroom and a blue sunken fountain in the sitting room, among other blue-themed features. The views from the upstairs rooms are spectacular, and whatever reason he had, you can appreciate Pavlides' reason for choosing such a location.
     In 1974 Pavlides had to flee once again (supposedly through an escape hatch in the roof of the main bedroom) when the Turkish army took control of his hilltop retreat. The house was used as a residence for a Turkish general until recently, when it was vacated and turned into a museum.
     Any hope Pavlides may have had that he would regain his property disappeared with the partition of the Island, and he died (depending on who's story you listen to) either broken hearted and disillusioned, or shot dead by a Turk in Italy in 1986.
     To visit it you must head west from Girne on the road to Lapta and Güzelyurt, passing the newly enlarged Geçikoy reservoir and taking a right towards Çamlıbel off the Lefkoşa road. Leaving the village behind, the villa is signposted but as it is within a military area you have to leave your passport or kimlik card with the sentry on duty. The car park is at the end of a tree lined avenue where you will enter Pavlides’ luxurious home with its air conditioning, an impressive reproduction of a Greek Taverna, modern bathrooms and an earthquake resistant room. You will tour the house and garden armed with A4 sheets of paper providing an odd ‘English’ description that has been translated from the Turkish. Some of the information may be true or may be pure fiction.

Churches, Mosques and Monastries

Lapta has 14 churches, 2 mosques and 2 monastries. These include :
Saint Theodoros Church: This church was built in 1834. It has two white pillars with Byzantine crosses in its yard, a gallery section dated to the 17th century, with well-painted doors. It is rumoured to have previously been a chapel in a cemetery, and also has an olive press.

Saint Anastasia Church and Monastery: The church is located on a position that overlooks Lapta, where the former Lapithos Castle used to stand. It was built in the 18th century and has many religious depictions on the walls. It has a chapel dedicated to Ayia Evdokia.

Saint Paraskevi Church: It was built next to the ruins of an old church in 1892 and housed icons from this old church until 1974, when they were looted following the invasion.
Saint Luka Church: It was built in 1850. It has been renovated and is now used as a ballet school.

Timios Prodromos Church: The church is in the center of Lapta. It was built in the 17th century in the Gothic style. The bell tower has depictions of human faces, animals and plants. The west side has a Star of David on the walls.

Saint Evlalios Church: The church is located at the coast, to the east of the Ahkiropietos Monastery and is dedicated to Saint Evlalios, who was a bishop who once lived in Lambousa. The present-day church was built on the ruins of an early Christian church, whose remains still stand in the form of the four columns of the central arches of the present-day church. One of these columns has a Byzantine cross engraved in it. In excavations, three different layers of mosaic tiles from three different eras have been found. This indicates that the church has been renovated in the 6th, 11th and 14th-15th centuries.

Saint Evlambios Church: To the east of the Ahkiropietos Monastery, the church was used as a pagan tomb and was later converted to a chapel in the early Christian era. The niches are characteristic of Roman tombs and traces of frescoes are present. It has no narthex, but does have an abscess.
     There are many other historical buildings you can visit throughout Lapta including mosques and monasteries.