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May 21, 2002

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Syria and Israel enclose Lebanon. The Lebanon-Israel border is closed. Rather than go back to Syria, we board a cheap flight to Cyprus. The plane levels off for a few minutes and then descends into Larnaca airport. By mid morning we eat breakfast on a beachfront cafť in Larnaca. Itís a workaday beach town. Larnaca first appears in the history books with its native son, Zenon the Stoic, famed among Athensís elite philosophers circa 500 BC. Cyprus sits geographically closer to the Middle East but it shares a closer tie to Europe. Although its human history stretches as far as any other country with ancient history, Cyprus has only been independent since 1960.
Lazarus, raised from the dead by Jesus, came to live here as Larnacaís first bishop. When he died again, the people buried him in this church that stands in the town center. Cypriots decorate most churches in a Greek orthodox style, frescoes cover the walls, haloed saints watch from the rafters over a heavy gold altar that covers the front wall.
Richard the Lionheart may have visited this castle on his way to the Crusade in Lebanon.