One of the reasons that travel is such an extraordinarily rich experience is that new places always have a story to tell if you take the time to ask the right questions! The thing is that the stories are not always happy ones. This being said, I believe in taking the good with the bad, as only by doing so do you truly experience the world out there in all its splendor.

Vretsia - Turkish Cypriot abandoned village in the hills

Vretsia – Turkish Cypriot abandoned village in the hills

On one of our recent scouting trips for new properties for Essque Residences, we visited the wonderfully diverse and culturally rich Mediterranean island, Cyprus!

Cyprus history goes back over 9000 years and it has seen romance, turbulence and an interesting variety of cultures…

Because of this, the island is literally one big open air museum. The remains of many of the civilisations are still visible today, from Byzantine art, Ancient Greek architecture, Venetian ruins and Ottoman restorations. Many legendary figures of history, such as Richard the Lionheart and Cleopatra, have also left their mark in the island’s legacy.

once a vibrant street filled with families now left to nature

once a vibrant street filled with families now left to nature

Our recent explorations however led me to highlighting one particularly difficult time in Cypriot history because of  my personal history being so similar. 3 months after my birth in Angola a civil war led my family and I to refugee camps in South West Africa. At around the same time and over 6000 KM away, many Greek and Turkish Cypriots were experiencing the same displacement. The occupation of North Cyprus by the Turks saw a division that today still stands with Nicosia, the Capital of Cyprus being the ONLY divided capital left in the world. Turkish Cypriots from the South of the island were forced to leave to the north and Greek Cypriots from the North sent south! As a result, many villages in the south which had been mainly Turkish Cypriot were abandoned overnight by their occupants who left with only what they could carry. We came across one of these villages in our wanderings.

the silence is both eery and deafening

the silence is both eery and deafening

Vretsia is  an abandoned Turkish Cypriot village in the Paphos District of Cyprus, located 4 km east of Koilineia. After the 1974 war, the Turkish-Cypriot natives of the village were forced to abandon the village and emigrate to the north of Cyprus.

We wandered through the streets of this ghost village with a sense of sadness but can honestly say the experience was worth every minute. To try and put into words how it felt would be impossible. So I decided to let my pictures tell the story instead.

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Sufficed to say that a visit to Vretsia should be on the cards for anyone Visiting Southern Cyprus. Vretsia also marks the starting point of some wonderful nature trails that lead through the Paphos forests where you will find The hidden Venetian bridges, a testimony to the Venetians rule from 1489-1571.

Venetian Bridge

Venetian Bridge

The bridges formed part of the old camel trail, built to aid the extraction of anything valuable the Venetians could find on the island, for example copper from Pera pedi.

Essque Residences will soon be adding some wonderful properties to our portfolio based in Southern Cyprus. Book your next holiday at one of these villas or apartments and explore this wonderful island for yourself! Remember our motto…. “hand picked by us, our guarantee to you”