Back to Akıncılar, the Hidden Village
By Chris Elliott
Louroujina or Akıncılar is the most southern point of North Cyprus and can be viewed on Google Maps or Earth as a tear drop on the map and its recent history has proved it to be… just that.
Louroujina was one of the biggest Turkish villages prior to the Turkish Peace Intervention in 1974 and following heavy fighting it was finally secured and remains as the most southern part of North Cyprus. It has remained protected, being almost surrounded by a UN buffer zone, but it has a road for access through a Turkish Military area.
The village, following the 1974 Peace Intervention, swelled to around 3,000 residents with nearby villagers seeking safety but this has dwindled to around 300 today with the villagers earning a living from working mainly on the farmland. Many village buildings have suffered with the passage of time and fallen into disrepair due to the owners moving further north or in many cases moving many years ago to other countries when they were concerned for their future safety.
The village lies some 8 kilometres to the south of Ercan Airport and for the past three years there have been festivals held in the village once a year when many Turkish Cypriots have returned to their roots. During this past year a number of film crews from Turkey and North Cyprus have gone to the village for various film projects and a small number of foreign nationals have visited the village as guests of the villagers.
There are some fascinating buildings in the village, many needing tender loving care and some Turkish Cypriots from abroad are now returning to their family homes to breathe life into them and try to refurbish them and settle back into that very unique, Cypriot village lifestyle.
There have been a number of projects to improve some buildings in the village with support from the Turkish Embassy and the UNDP but there is so much more to do and it is through visitors that perhaps, the life blood will return to the village.
Discussions have been progressing for some while and the Turkish Military have consented for Raziye Kocaismail, who comes from the village and is also the President of Help Those With Cancer Association – Tulips, to take the Association’s mini buses to visit the village with guests including some English speaking Foreign Nationals through the holiday season until September.
The villagers will be able to greet visitors to their village where hopefully they will be taken on a tour of interesting places and buildings. Then they can enjoy a local cooked Fırın Kebap (Kleftico) meal and visit Raziye’s family home which is a treasure trove of artifacts and local memorabilia. There should also be time to stop and have refreshments in the local cafes or perhaps visit the few shops in the village.
This is good news as these visits will bring visitors to the village and also more people to help Tulips in their quest to help those people suffering with cancer. Raziye Kocaismail is delighted to have received help and support from the Turkish Military to make these visits possible.
Tulips have just made their first guided visit by taking a party of student teachers to the village of Akincilar and to the much revered Kırklar Türbesi (ancient Arab period tombs) close to Ercan airport and it is hoped there will be further visits soon.
To read more of the Hidden Village of Akıncılar click here