North Cyprus Heritage (8) Gaidhouras

  The Gaidhouras Church in Lefkoniko / Gecitkale is still in a good state. Until five years ago it was used as a mosque. Now the new cami is ready and the church stands empty. Pidgeons have conquered the side aisle and this becomes dirty. Locals say Greek Cypriots visit the church on a regular basis and told the church is much older than the presence of the Greeks in Northern Cyprus. I could not find any evidence about that information, no information at all actually about this church: if you have, it’s welcome!
The inside has a completely intact floor, very beautiful and a spectacular, undamaged wooden upper-floor.
 Gecitkale also has a cemetery that is largely intact, although clearly neglected, unlike some other places (see my posts the coming days).
This place has been a bit away from direct fighting, and that works out better for heritage.

2 thoughts on “North Cyprus Heritage (8) Gaidhouras

  1. From what I, and everybody else knows, is that Gaidhouras (Korkuteli in Turkish) is a village in the Mesaoria Plain and it means “place of donkeys” and it has nothing to do with Lefkoniko and certainly not with a name of a church which is actually very insulting. The village of Lefkoniko has two mean churches – the one in the “Upper Neighbourhood” is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savour (Christ) and the one in the “Lower Neighbourhood” is dedicated to Archangel Michael. The one you’re showing in the photo is that of the Transfiguration of Christ (Metamorphosis tou Sotiros). This church is relatively new since it was build during the 19th century in the place of an older church. The church of Archangel Michael is much older and was built in 1680. The presence of the Greeks in north Cyprus as in the rest of the island goes back 3,000 years, therefore it is historicaly groundless to state that the church pre-dates the Greeks, after all it was the Greeks who built it.

  2. ….and a side story about the village of Gaidhouras (which is not Lefkoniko):
    Because of its insulting name which in Greek means ”place of donkeys” (gaidhouri = donkey), the villagers of Gaidouras wanted to change the name of their village into Nea Sparti (New Sparta), and they applied to the government of Cyprus to have it officially changed. However, the Turkish invasion took place in 1974 and the application was not processed. However, on some maps of Cyprus, one can see it named Gaidhouras (Nea Sparti).
    As for Lefkoniko, the village used to be the center of the Cyprus wide famous Lefkoniko weaving and embroidery known as “Lefkonitziatika”. Unfortunately, with the Turkish invasion and the forced displacement of its Greek inhabitants, this centuries old tradition and fundamental part of Cypriot culture, had come to an abrupt end, and has today disappeared. Because of its weaving tradition, Lefkoniko was before 1974 very rich and had a very large population since the villagers used to sell their products all over the island. Today the village is derelict and poor and its hard to believe how rich it used to be in the past.

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