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Monday, January 21, 2013

cyprus monday: vacancy

Prior to the 1974 invasion and war, Greek and Turkish Cypriots lived side by side.  They were neighbors, friends, and colleagues.  When war broke out, the demographics of the island changed drastically and quickly.  Where once the two cultures lived side by side, they fled to opposite ends of the country.  Turks to the north, Greeks to the right.  Everything happened in haste.  Homes and possessions were left behind as family members scrambled to find one another.  By the time things settled down, a closed border had been put in place and no one could go back.  This was the case until just a few years ago.

Even though the border is now open, the two groups are still constrained to their sides of the island.  The homes they left behind are still vacant.  Shops await their keepers to lift the dusty blinds.  The reason I share this is because these abandoned dwellings are everywhere.  The property rights still belonging to their original owners, so the buildings cannot be sold, repaired, or torn down.  They just sit there collecting memories of lives that inhabited them 40 years ago.

The home pictured is in our neighborhood.  There are at least three more down the street and a few empty businesses.  They were pillaged long ago and now sit dormant.  This house in particular has an olive grove behind it and several fruit trees.  No one touches the trees.  The fruit remains unpicked, uneaten.  Just like the home, it waits for someone to come back.

Is there anything you have been wanting to know about Cyprus?  Let me know and I'll try to figure it out!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting and sad. I know nothing of Cyprus so any posts are good with me. I love getting lost in blogs that transport me to another land :)