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Mediterranean Sea near the island of Cyprus

       Twenty years ago, at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea near the island of Cyprus, was found the Greek merchant ship lay under water, twenty-three centuries. By the next port he was given the name “Kyrenia”. According to archaeologists, it is the best preserved ship of the late classical period, the Hellenistic civilization.
The problem of navigation in the ancient Aegean and eastern Mediterranean has long been of concern to scientists, so the Greek Institute for conservation of marine tradition decided to make an expedition under the title “Kyrenia II”, building a ship-to-copy of an ancient ship. Participate in it was invited by the Bulgarian yachtsman Teodore Troev – one of the leaders of scientific and expedition Club UNESCO member travelers tourist bureau “Pirin”. Shortly before the events T. Troev was a party to an international expedition “Following Odyssey”, organized by Tim Severin. (See: S. Kupriyanov, Babenko V. On the ridge abounding sea, “Around the World”, 1986, ? 10.)

       From the standpoint of modern seafarers, the term “ship” sounds too loud for the vessel, such as “Kyrenia”. Judge for yourself: length 15 meters, the width of four and a half – even some boats, which were immobilized in pireyskoy Bay Mikrolimano, looked impressive. But in his age “Kyrenia” was not a small trading vessel – it can take on board up to thirty tons of cargo. When the ancient ship raised from the seabed near the port of Kyrenia, it has the goods – more than 400 amphorae and 29 millstone, served as ballast.
Only looks like a ship on which I floated before, was galley “Argo” Tim Severin. Common in many courts: both odnomachtovye the one reey and a direct sail. Similar rigging, some elements of the Construction Corps, as well as the principles of the steering device: instead of a central steering wheel – steering oars. Approximately the same length of the hull, apart from the ram to “Argo”.
But beyond the differences begin: “Argo” – ship military intelligence, “Kyrenia” – trade. In addition, the main engine of his – the sail. Two pairs of oars, we are rowing, standing on the deck (and not sitting!), Used for maneuvering in harbor. At “Argo” ten pairs of oars, we are free to develop the speed to four knots, and fear not calm.
But the main thing – a “Argo” was legendary predecessor, and “Kyrenia” copied from the ship, actually existed.

       The vessel, which in the XX century, received the name “Kyrenia”, furrow water during the reign of Philip II and Alexander the Great. At that time the geographical horizons of the Greek maritime industry has expanded considerably.
It is on this topic, I talked for several minutes before departure with a young marine archaeologist Janis Vihosom, one of the organizers of the scientific program of the expedition “Kyrenia II”:

       - At that time the Greek seafarers reached Gibraltar – told Janis .- A Greek geographer and navigator Pifey even dared to go into the ocean for Gerkulesovy poles. He reached
British Isles, North Sea, and may have been, and on the Baltic Sea, amber in the country. Another well-known fact: Nearh, Admiral of the fleet of Alexander the Great returned from India to Babylon by sea, along the coasts of South Asia …
       - Leave the history and let’s move on to modern times – we interrupted the captain “Kyrenia II” Antonis Vasiliadis .- Wind, it seems appropriate. Raise the sails!

       Study of residual cargo in sunken ship, ancient gave presentation about the life of seamen of the longer period. Now we know what they ate on the high seas. Lead sinkers networks showed that the ancient seafarers caught fish, and stones of grapes, figs and olive seeds, remnants of the garlic – that was their last meal. The number of vessels and cutlery – four spoons, four bowls and four bowls – shows that, apart from the captain on board was at least three sailors.
The same was, and our crew “Kyrenia II”, which commanded a professional skipper Antonis Vasiliadis. However, on board was also a scientific team: Hari Kritzas of the department of classical archeology, Janis Vihos – an expert on ancient ships, Nikos Lianos – of the department of underwater archeology.
One member of our crew – Glavkos, Greek Cypriots, the son of a famous diver Andreas Kariolu, which two decades ago, found at a depth of tridtsatimetrovoy Amphorae congestion. Kariolu drew the attention of foreign scholars, and insisted on the need to explore the coastal waters of Cyprus. His discovery led to a remarkable find: a previously amphoras was found well-preserved body of the ancient ship. Glavkos taking part in the proceedings, told me that an international team of scientists took eight years of hard work to raise the spacecraft to the surface and restore the inhibited case. Now, he exhibited in the museum of the port of Kyrenia. Remains of the goods has been carefully studied by scientists, it has made it possible to determine the route of the last sailing ship – from the islands of the eastern Aegean to Rhodes and more, to Cyprus.
By this route went out to sea and our “Kyrenia II”. Shortly before departure, I met in the Bay Mikrolimano with the project proponent “Kyrenia” Hari Tsalasom. He was born in Alexandroupolis (in ancient times it was one of the most well-known ports), and has always lived by the sea. “I can not remember – he said as the Hari – was in my life so I have not seen the sea for more than a week”.
As a young Hari Tsalas entered the shipbuilding company, and since then all his professional activities connected with sailing. He worked in Egypt, Brazil, in the early 60′s created a small shipyard in Greece and became a specialist in yacht design.

       Work Tsalasa pelted at various Greek islands and had the opportunity to become familiar with the situation of small-scale shipbuilding in Greece. Concerned that this thousand-year maritime tradition disappears, Hari Tsalas appealed to the public, and in 1981 founded the Greek Institute for conservation of marine traditions.
- The idea to build the exact replica of the ancient ship and swim in it was born long ago, – says Hari Tsalas .- In fact, the task of our institution – not to disappear maritime heritage. We gather navigational charts, sailing directions, instruments, utensils, books. Intends to open later and a museum. Are going to prepare a series of mock-ups, they will trace the development of shipbuilding in antiquity. This work should not be given to a narrow circle of specialists, we want to attract many enthusiasts and lovers of marine antiquities …
At the port of Piraeus “Kyrenia II” accompanied the Minister of Culture of Greece Melina Mercouri. Naputstvennye remember her words: “In a good hour,” Kyrenia “! Associated to you and the wind calm sea! “

       The ship, accompanied by an honorary escort of dozens of yachts, boats and three-Training sailboat “Evgenios Evgenidis”, slowly walked toward the exit port. Small sudenyshko with only one sail filled with wind, “Kyrenia II” has taken a course at Cape Sunion – to the temple of the sea god Poseidon.
Here at Cape Sunion, during the first parking “Kyrenia II”, I met with Manolisom Psarosom, owner of shipyards, which have been built, our ship – the method used in ancient times. Psaros remained in good spirits: already during the first shift of his ship developed quite decent for an old ship’s average speed – about five and a half knots.
Pass Cape Sunion, “Kyrenia P” went to the Cyclades, in the central part of the Aegean Sea. We had to go to Kitnose, demand, Naxos. Then the path “Kyrenia II” lying to the south Sporades – Kos Island, Nisiros and Rhodes. From Rhodes – the last Greek island in the area – Kastelorizonu located off the coast of Turkey. To the east, the horizon, hiding the final destination of the expedition – Cyprus.

       Islanders on the road course “Kyrenia II” waiting for it and prepare the symbolic goods – such as that sent their distant ancestors. Thus, the hold of the vessel is gradually filled amphoras and other ceramic vessels, almonds, olive oil, wine, dried fruit, a millstone, the marine sponges.
During a stop at the Greek islands, we got acquainted with the traditional methods of construction of wooden ships. Visited and the famous shipyard in the city Ermupolise, located on the island Siroe.

       Living Cyclades replicated our ancient rituals, which we watched with great interest. For example, on the island of Naxos in the temple of Apollo was sacrificed sheep – vymolit to the gods for the safe navigation of our ship. Following this ritual, I mentally moved hundreds of miles away – in the picturesque Sozopol on the Black Sea, known in antiquity as the Greek colony of Apollonia. And there existed a similar tradition, and he was accompanied by a similar entreaty.
Over two days we continued to move between the islands of Naxos and Kos. Songs and dances, typical for this part of the island of Greece welcomed the residents in the port of Kefalos Kos “Kyrenia II”.
       In those days, when the wind sail belly of this “Kyrenia”, here at the Spit, was built a new city at the site of the old, destroyed during the Peloponnesian War. New city prospered and soon became one of the largest maritime centers of the region. Sanctuary ASKLEPIY and School of Medicine have made it known throughout the ancient world. Perhaps ancient seafarers “Kyrenia” Asklepeyon attended and, as we, their diligent followers, admired the complex, built in harmony with the environment at the foot of Mount Oromedon.
Fresh northerly wind helped “Kyrenia II” get from braid to the next island of the Sporades group of the South – Nisirosa. The increased excitement led stretch from one side to the other linen awning, which was supposed to protect us from the onslaught of big waves.

       Living Nisirosa enthusiastically welcomed the expedition, a local historian Chartofilis acquainted us with the details of the distant past the island, which is a extinct volcano: local hot sulfur springs were well known even in antiquity. Hold the ship added to the load is ancient – almonds, and a millstone.
It was almond residue found in sunken amphora near Cyprus “Kyrenia”, have helped archaeologists to answer the question, how long lasted nautical life of the first vessel. Using precise modern methods, they found that the difference in the age of pine wood, which was built “Kyrenia”, and almonds, blew off before the last sailing was about a hundred years.
When I took part in the maritime expeditions, I always want to know what has led people into the sea, where life is never easy, often lie at risk. Here’s what he said to me, for example, a doctor manning “Kyrenia II” Dr. Thomas Skulis:
- From the beginning I was confident that it will not be a maritime entertainment walk. I wanted to test themselves, because always believed that the danger – one of the driving forces in life. As a doctor, I tried to get on this ship to explore the psychological compatibility of crew members, forced to live a long time in a confined space.
And since, except for a crew of sailors on board during the conversion of some present and archaeologist from the group, which developed the scientific program, I really wanted to know their attitude towards the experiment.

       - For me this is interesting to almost everything – to share a young archaeologist Janis Vihos recent graduate of the University of Aix-en-Provence (France) .- Experience “Kyrenia II” – this is a great school for anyone who is interested in ancient sailing. My diploma work called “traditional shipbuilding in Greece and in ancient shipbuilding”, so for me it was absolutely natural to monitor the project from the beginning.

       Antikensammlung “Kyrenia” certainly stopped, and the largest island of the Sporades group of the South – Rhodes. After all, found on its board of 403 amphorae were just here: they are marked and the island, and the names of the manufacturers.
At Rhodes, archaeologists have shown us an ancient port city of Lindos, where we saw the famous rock relief of the ancient ship. Bay Lindosa very convenient for parking courts. Here we are thoroughly prepared for the latter, the longest stage of our voyage: crossing Rhodes – Cyprus. Installed new steering oar that was part of the navigation program, designed by Greek archaeologists and historians.
       My Greek satellites for navigation of an interest in underwater archeology in Bulgaria. I am told, a quarter century ago, our first archaeologists descended beneath the waves. Then the diver searches in the port water area of dozens of our towns, the Institute has developed a special program frakologii “Thrace – Pontica”, and in Sozopol Center was established maritime history and underwater archeology. The challenge him – to coordinate the activities of various institutions: museums, institutions, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, universities, scientific expedition of UNESCO Clubs.

       In the Archaeological Museum of Sofia gathered the largest collection in the world of ancient anchors, which together with other findings complement the written testimony of ancient authors on marine traditions Thracians. Our predecessors in the Balkans were, it turns out active navigators. They maintained trade links with the port cities and islands of the Aegean – Troy, Crete, Mycenae – even from the middle of the second millennium BC, and their boats were quite large in those times. On the west coast of the Black Sea could be found several Thracian ports, which were lively trade with the Greek cities in between I and VI centuries BC, ie in the era when the swim and “Kyrenia”.
We approached to Cyprus – the island, off the coast of which was found sunk once “Kyrenia”. This is one of the most exciting moments of our expedition. At the wharf the ancient city of Paphos gathered crowds. As if not a copy, but a genuine, ancient “Kyrenia”, paid from the depths of history, returned to the home port

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