The Karpaz Peninsula
25 October, 2009
Ayios Philon
25 October, 2009
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Dipkarpaz | North Cyprus

This village is the centre of the Karpaz peninsula, it is here that a mixed community lives side by side just as they have done for hundreds of years. When the island divided in 1974 the majority of people residing in this area chose to stay put. There are Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and a mix of Anatolian farmers from mainland Turkey, carrying on their age-old way of life that mostly revolves around agriculture. For them, the political strife was something they preferred not to get involved with. They continue to farm and bring up their families, in a way of life that stays resolutely stuck in a time warp. Admittedly there are more tractors than there were ten years ago, a fact that is very evident at lunchtime when they are all parked outside the coffee shops, but they are the only clue that there is movement towards the 21st Century.

There is the mosque that caters to the spiritual needs of the Muslim inhabitants, and the church of Ayios Synesios does likewise for the Orthodox believers. The mosque is a late 20th century construction, whereas the church was built in the 14th century and enlarged in the 18th.

During Lusignan rule 13th – 15th centuries, Dipkarpaz was one of the twelve main provinces of Cyprus and very wealthy. In the 19th century mulberry trees were grown here to support the prolific silk industry, and today a majority of the vegetables and cereals that are needed on the island come from the surrounding villages.

Lavinia Neville Smith
Lavinia Neville Smith
Lavinia Neville Smith first came to North Cyprus in 1995, and fell in love with the country and the Turkish Cypriot people. A self confessed dilettante, with a varied working career, it was not until she returned in 1997 and went into tourism that she was able to put to good use her knowledge of history, ancient and modern, acquired long ago at school. She is a co-author of the Landmark Visitors Guide to North Cyprus, and continues to promote this beautiful country as far afield as possible.