Saturday, 24 April 2010

Eliophotes/Alifodez was a Turkish Cypriot village. It had thirty-two houses, a mosque, a church, a school, a coffee shop, a cooperative, a fountain, and almond, fig and olive groves, as well as other farmland (Adalı, 2000: 130-137, cited by Constantinou and Hatay, 2010: 11).

Jack Goodwin (1978: 283) judged that '[m]ost residents had left for economic reasons prior to the 1963-4 intercommunal disturbances'.

During the intercommunal violence, though 'some also protected them', their Greek Cypriot neighbours in Kato Moni village 'intimidated' and 'forced' the remaining Turkish Cypriots in Alihodes to leave (Constantinou and Hatay, 2010: 10).


In November 1975-August 1976, Greek Cypriot refugees refused to live in the decayed abandoned houses, and in 1977, 'some of the old bldgs [buildings]' were 'demolished' during 'road improvement' (Goodwin, 1978: 283). Yet "road improvement" was not all that happened.

Their buildings damaged by looting in 1964 and/or by Greek Cypriot National Guard exercises after 1974, in the 1980s, Greek Cypriot society 'intentionally forgo[t]' the Turkish Cypriot community 'by demolishing the entire village' (Constantinou and Hatay, 2010: 13), apart from the church and the fountain.

Tragically, the local Turkish Cypriots had built and looked after the church for pilgrims, but their village was destroyed as 'a danger and an eyesore for pilgrims to the church' (Constantinou and Hatay, 2010: 13).

Ironically, the destruction of the buildings enabled quarrying in the village, which damaged the church (Constantinou and Hatay, 2010: 10).

Information, interpretation

This information affirms Turkish Cypriot journalist Hasan Karaokçu's (2003) report that the village was 'razed to the ground', and my interpretation of the archaeological remains as an 'abandoned village, destroyed' (Hardy, 2009).


Constantinou and Hatay's (2010) study of Cyprus, Ethnic Conflict, and Conflicted Heritage also confirms the official Turkish Cypriot claim that the village was 'erased [yok edilen]' (Erçakıca, 13th June 2007, cited in KKTCC, 2007).

However, their study apparently contradicts former Turkish Cypriot President Rauf Denktaş's (2004: 61) claim that the mosque was damaged or destroyed before the 20th of July 1974 (if only because it was demolished after). (Obviously, any evidence of damage done before 1974 would have been destroyed by the mosque's demolition after 1974).


The respectful coexistence of Turkish Cypriot Agioi Eliofotoi and Greek Cypriot Kato Moni was an example of the bicommunal life possible in Cyprus.

The remains of the Turkish Cypriot buildings in Alihodes are an important negative heritage; but the Turkish Cypriot-curated Greek Gypriot church is an equally important positive heritage, and still stands as a beacon of religious coexistence.


Adalı, K. 2000: Dağarcık [repertoire]. Nicosia: Işık Kitabevi Yayınları.

Constantinou, C M and Hatay, M. 2010: "Cyprus, ethnic conflict, and conflicted heritage". Ethnic and Racial Studies [iFirst, 13th April, 1-20].

Denktaş, R R. 2004: The Cyprus Problem: What it is – how can it be solved? Lefkoşa: Cyprus Research and Publishing Centre (CYREP).

Hardy, S A. 2009: "Eliophotes: An abandoned village, destroyed". Cultural Heritage in Conflict [weblog], 30th January. Available at:

Karaokçu, H. 2003: "The present conditions of Turkish Cypriot villages in south Cyprus 3". Diplomatic Observer. Available at: [Also available at:]

KKTCC (Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Presidency]). 2007: "Erçakıca 'Mülkiyet Sorununu Kıbrıs Sorunundan ayırmak ve sadece Rumların Sorunu diye lanse etmek İnsafsızlık' [Erçakıca: 'it is an injustice to separate the Property Problem from the Cyprus Problem and to present it as only the Greeks' problem']". Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Presidency], 13. Haziran. Şu adreste bulunabilir:

Goodwin, J C. 1978: An historical toponymy of Cyprus. Nicosia: Jack C. Goodwin.

[This was developed from an introductory post on Cultural Heritage in Conflict from 30th January 2009.]

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