December 8, 2023

By Ismail Veli……..

The tiny Latin church of Aya Marina near Lurucina has been an interesting place for many people from Lurucina. Many even have picnics and often take friends to visit the site.

The only information I have is that in the 1643 Ottoman census there were 13 households. In 1735 there was a massive earthquake in Cyprus and it just may be possible that this is what sealed the fate of this tiny village that seems to have disappeared from the census.

The earthquake destroyed the mud brick houses but fortunately left the church intact. The population moved to Lymbia next to Lurucina. The destruction of the earthquake left crevices in the hills next to Aya Marina. Today we call this ”Shistra Tou Vrakou” “Dev yirtigi” in Turkish, which literally means “the den of the Dragon (or Giant)”.

Many people, unable to explain what happened, created stories and myths about the effects of the earthquake. In time the stories become myths. The local legend about how this came about goes something like the following.

The story goes that a long time ago (unspecified time in history) a giant or a very large strong man lived between the crevices of that hill. He was a constant menace to the local people and very often would come down to the local settlements to harass and rob the people of food etc. Due to the lack of authority this went on for some considerable time.

The local people would pray to God in order to save them from this monster of a man. One day the weather was very bad. Rain, thunder and lightning was striking the hills at an alarming rate. Once the weather improved the locals noticed that the giant had not been seen for a while. They soon wondered what happened, so a group decided to investigate. They soon found the Giant dead between the crevices. Their conclusion was that God had answered their prayers and struck the giant with lightning and torn the hillside apart forming a small canyon which then became called “Shistra tou Thragu”.

The above are purely based on local old time legends and not on factual evidence. But like many things associated with Lurucina, it makes a hell of a good story and as a result enhances local folklore.

 The story may sound far fetched but let’s look at the probabilities. Is it not possible that an individual living on his own at a massive disadvantage and poor, possibly of some mental difficulties as a result of his loneliness or for whatever reason, had no option but to steal and harass the peasants for his very survival. People in ancient times neither understood or cared for the disadvantaged. Living in such crude conditions would no doubt toughen an individual, and if the person in question was tall for his times he would be considered a giant.

As with all myths and stories our imagination often takes over reality. I may not believe most of it but to say I don’t enjoy such stories would be bending the truth. After all DON’T WE ALL HAVE A LITTLE CHILDISHNESS IN US. I think we do. WHY SHOULD KIDS HAVE ALL THE FUN.

The history and families of Lurucina/Akincilar can be read on my website on the following link:

My deep appreciation to my friend Wanda Forrest for sharing English news articles of the Cypriot earthquake of 1735.


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