North Cyprus, 8th Yiğitler Artichoke Festival Review

By Margaret Sheard …..

The 8th Yiğitler Artichoke Festival was held on Sunday 2nd April, and having never attended this before or visited the village we decided to put this right this year.

It was a warm but slightly overcast day with some rather black clouds, but luckily the rain held off and when we arrived in Yiğitler there were huge crowds of people and many stalls selling foodstuffs, plants, clothes, toys and of course many of the stalls had the beautiful wild artichokes for sale.  I purchased some and now need to decide how to cook them!

There was a lot going on and the master of ceremonies was encouraging the children to go up on the stage and join him to sing popular Turkish songs.   He was also wandering around with his microphone and cornered Chris for a short interview, as we were moving away.

We spotted the  Değirmenlik Folk Dance Group who were to be performing later and stopped for a chat with one of the dancers.  He was originally from Famagusta and now lives in Nicosia and he said, like me, it was the first time he had visited Yiğitler.  The group looked very nice in their very colourful folk costumes but unfortunately we did not have time to stay to see them dance.

Yiğitler is the home village of my Turkish language teacher, Ilnur, and we bumped into her with her husband Cemal and daughter Shanel, taking the opportunity of visiting her village for the festival.

The village itself was very nice, although we didn’t see a lot of it on this occasion but on our journey back we drove through some of the villages while we were in the area and then stopped in Gaziköy at Sohbet cafe/restaurant for a coffee and a snack. This was very enjoyable and we chatted to the owner, Aziz, who told us some 30 years ago, as a young man,  he worked for our friend John Aziz Kent in the building of Chateau Lambousa where he installed the stone balustrade on the balconies.   Small world!

It was a long day and a long way to travel to Yiğitler but the scenery in that part of the world is lovely, and shortly after we left Gaziköy we were pleased to see the old 18th century Ottoman Arif Pasha aqueduct, a very impressive structure, so the festival and area was well worth the visit.