Saturday, 24 November 2012

Our little bit of Cyprus

Can you point out Cyprus on a map?

Before we decided to live here I don't think I could have done!  Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea  (after Sicily and Sardinia in case you were wondering!) and although part of Europe we are closer geographically to the Middle East.


Even if you know where Cyprus is, I'd be fairly certain you couldn't point out the village of Deryneia (Sometimes also spelt Dherynia or  Derynia but it's Δερύνεια in Greek) It is a fairly well know village though in Cyprus as it lies on the Green Line against the UN Buffer Zone. Since the Turkish invasion in 1974 75% of the village is under Turkish control.

There are a couple of places you can visit in the village to find out more about the invasion and borrow binoculars to look towards the abandoned city of Varosha. It's unbelievable and so sad that so many people have been cut off from their homes for so long.

Cultural Centre of Occupied Ammohostos (Famagusta)
It's slightly surreal being so close to the buffer zone and it really surprised me how the boundaries as sometimes so difficult to spot. Often all that stops you is a little bit of barbed wire and several roads lead to nowhere with just a small barrier at the end.

Varosha in the distance
A road to nowhere.
Note the Greek and Cypriot flags flying this side of the barrier, and the Turkish flags in the distance.
A popular attraction in the village is the Folkloric Museum, which I've written about previously,  a lovely 'non-touristy' way to spend an hour or so.

Deryneia is one of what are known as the 'Red Soil Villages'  (the Kokkinochoria) which are so called funnily enough because of the soil which is deep red in colour. It is this area that the famous Cyprus potatoes are grown before being exported all over the world.

We chose to live in Deryneia because it was not a typical expat destination, many places here become 'little Britain' where expat Brits retire to live as if it were England in the sun. That was not our intention so this is a perfect choice, living here are mainly Cypriots but other nationalities too, not just Brits. Considering how little time we had spent in Cyprus before making our choice we picked very well indeed!

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