The village “Motides” was the smallest in magnitude village yet the closest to the town of Karavas.
There are no reliable records on the origin of the village’s name. Some people believe that the village took its name from the Italian word “Monte” which means mountain, because the village itself was built between two hills. Others think that the village took its name from the small pottery workshop situated at the west of the village in which the craftsmen used to make the famous “Mpotides” vessels used by people to store drinking water.
Nearchos Klerides, in his book “Villages and Cities of Cyprus” claims that the name of the village comes from the name of the village’s first immigrants called “Motides”. Their name was associated with their occupation. Their job was to visit the acres and lands of the farmers and determine the amount of products they would take for taxation purposes. It is well-known that during the years of the Turkish rule, farmers used to pay for every product they owned, 1/10 of their harvest to the government as tax payment. This was compulsory for all the main products produced by the villagers. The village “Motides” was therefore inhabited by these property surveyors which people used to call “Kastellanoi” or “Tatsiarides”.
The village might have been a “tsifliki”(estate) in the past which belonged to a wealthy individual. This story is reinforced by the fact that there is a half-ruined big house with big rooms and arches in the village. Inside some of these rooms, there were large food containers in which the owners of the house kept the olive oil.
In the ancient years, there used to be an oil mill in the village but it seized working at the end of the 19th Century.
The main products of the village were: olives, lemons and almonds. Lemon growing increased and expanded a few years before the Turkish Invasion.
The village belonged to the commune of Saint George in Karavas. Children used to attend the Primary School of Paliosofos or the Primary Schools of Karavas.
The area developed much during the years before the Turkish Invasion and new and modern houses were built. Several foreigners who visited the village and loved the beauties of the area bought properties in the village and built lodges.
Before the Turkish Invasion, the village had 50 inhabitants.
During the Turkish Invasion, from July 20 to August 6, 1974, the village served as the headquarters for the fighters who defended the town of Karavas. This group of fighters, under the instructions of Yiannis Kitsios, remained in its position and fought off the Turkish invaders.
Paliosophos is on the northern side of Pentadaktylos, at an altimetre of 210 metres. It is one of the four small villages near Karavas and is just 2.5 km away from it.
There is no historical data as to when the village was established. However, it is believed that the first inhabitants of the village were from Lapithos-Lambousa, when in the 7th century (653/4) it was surrounded by the Arabs and the inhabitants were forced to abandon the town. The inhabitants of the destroyed town of Lambousa, in order to protect themselves from the continuous invasions, fled to the slopes of Pentadaktylos and formed today’s Lapithos, Karavas, Motides, Elia, Fterycha and Paliosophos.
Paliosophos, as the other villages of the area, excluding Lapithos, do not refer to medieval sources. The name of the village refers for the first time to the years of the Turkish occupation.
There no records on the name of the village, which is quite strange. Paliosophos – Palaiosophos – Palaios (ancient) sophos (wise). But who is the wise man and when did he become connected to the area. We do not know this.
Of course, if we look back to the years of the Frankish occupation, we know that a wise scholar named Georgios Lapithis used to live in the Lapithos-Karavas area. Indeed Georgios Lapithis was a Greek Cypriot who lived during the first half of the 14th century. He held a senior position in the society and had knowledge of Greek and Western wisdom.
In Cyprus during that time the Lousignan house reigned and the king was Ougos IV. Georgios Lapithis was a friend of the rulers of the Lousignan royal house and their supporter. History has it that Ougos IV (1324-1358) studied continuously, loved philosophy and often withdrew himself to his manors in Lapithos and Ayios Ilarionas, to meet with wise Georgios Lapithis, with whom they discussed various philosophical issues.
It is possible that the truth is in this point regarding the name of Paliosophos village. Because for Georgios Lapithis to travel from Lapithos to Ayios Ilarionas, he had to pass through Paliosophos village. There, he would probably sit at the village’s spring to rest after his long and uphill path, to drink the cool water of the spring and continue his travel to Ayios Ilarionas, rested. It may also be that at the village’s spring, under the shady plane trees and the coolness of the waterfall, wise Georgios Lapithis would elaborate to the villagers on some moral teachings, as well as practical rules of political, social and family upbringing.
Morphology of the terrain – Vegetation
The morphology of the terrain in almost the whole of the village’s area is uneven with narrow and deep valleys and crevices, the sides of which are steep. Springs run through many of these valleys, originating from Pentadaktylos. The terrain has a great variety of strata. The altitude increases from the village to the south and in the Gomatistra area, southern borders of the village, reaching 731 metres.
The wild olive and carob trees, Mersin, pine trees, cypress trees, and the plant “spalathkies” comprised, among other plants, the dense wild vegetation that covered the surrounding hills and reached the borders of the dense pine forest of Pentadaktylos, at the south of the village.
The arable land of the village was restricted, and before the Turkish invasion the inhabitants cultivated lemon, olive, almond and carob trees. There were also many berry bushes, which indicated the breeding of silkworms in the past and recent years.
Farming was also restricted due to the morphology of the terrain.
The inhabitants of the village were quiet, progressive and laborious. Most of them were obliged on a daily basis to travel to Karavas, Kyrenia or even Nicosia to work, and returned in the evening. This commuting was exhausting as there was no regular communication from Karavas to the village and thus they had to walk. For this reason, many of the inhabitants abandoned the village and moved to Nicosia, Karavas or Kyrenia. This gradual abandonment of the village did not allow it to increase in population. Thus, the population of the village from 1910 until the Turkish invasion was around 150 only. Rosa, the mother of Iacovos Patatsos, hero of the 1955-59 EOKA struggle was from our village. His father was from Karavas. During the last years before the Turkish invasion, none of the inhabitants abandoned the village. On the contrary, many Cypriots from Nicosia and foreigners bought old houses in the village and renovated them to use as holiday homes, or bought land and built houses.
Due to the active inhabitants of the village, there were electricity, telecommunications, asphalt roads and water supply in the village from quite early.
The village’s church was dedicated to Saint Paraskevi, whose name day is on July 26. A hoard of believers arrived from surrounding villages on this day, to attend the liturgy and honour the memory of the Saint. The impressive iconostasis of the church bore the date 1857 or 1851, which means that the church had been built around that time. The church’s priest was Papa-Aristotelis from Karavas, who performed the liturgy in rotation at the churches of Fterycha and Elia.
The village had its own primary school, which was also attended by most children from Motides. The teachers that served at the village came mainly from the Kyrenia district and with great zeal transferred their knowledge to the young children of the primary school. We thank them all. Allow me to especially mention my teachers Savvas Xanthos (deceased) and Eftyhios Yioutanis from Karavas. They used to come to Paliosophos from Karavas either by bicycle or on foot to teach us our first lessons and enlighten us. The exhaustion of traveling did not defeat them. On the contrary, it armed them with patience, courage and laboriousness, and with the interest they showed in us they managed to give us the foundations for our further education. I hope the memory of Savvas Xanthos will be eternal. To Mr. Yioutanis I wish every success in his wishes and endeavours. Most of the children, after graduating from the village’s primary school, studied at the Lapithos Greek Gymnasium.
The site of the village that gathered the most interest was the spring and the waterfall. They were at the east of the village, on the road leading to Fterycha village. There, on a bend in the road, some 500 metres from the village, on the right, you could see a panoramic view. There was a narrow and quite high crevice. On the right and left there were sharp rocks. At the foot of one rock there was a spring will cool water. This water was used by the village inhabitants, in earlier years, for their water supply. Over the spring, from a height of about 15 metres, the water of a small brook originating in Pentadaktylos fell, forming a small but unique waterfall. On the right and left of the water there were Mersin, laurel and other plants, whose roots hung in the air, becoming entangled amongst themselves, forming a net, which held the earth carried by the water and thus formed a hovering mass over which the waterfall water ran and then splashed into a small pond near the spring water. The site and spectacle was magical. Next to this was a steep, dry in the summer, riverbed. This stream started on the mountain and its water, in the winter, poured into the sea between Zephyros and Saint Antria. The small square of the spring was covered by tall plane trees that reached over the whole area with their dense foliage.
The whole picture was complemented by the happy chirping of birds playing in the foliage of the plane trees. Truly, how could anyone forget this beauty?
The water of the spring and the waterfall was transferred to a reservoir in the village by a concrete channel and from there to the orchards to water mainly the lemon trees.
Today the village’s inhabitants live mainly in Nicosia and Limassol. We live with the hope of returning to our small, beautiful village, drenched in shades of green, olive, pine, carob and cypress tree green. Our village that is full of fresh air, tranquility, light and life!
Today our village is not called Paliosophos. The Turks, in an effort to eradicate all Greek names in the occupied areas of Cyprus, renamed it to Malatya and later to Sofular.
We wish and hope that soon we will return to our occupied village, Paliosophos.
The village of Ftericha is located at the hillside of Pentadactylos, 3kms away from the beach of Karavas. More specifically, it’s built at the periphery of a hill full of pine trees. The hill was known as “the mount of Kouseini”. It is not surprising that the hill has a Turkish name since during the Turkish rule, the neighbouring village “Elia” was a tsifliki (estate) under the Turkish occupation.
Ftericha is “drowned” by the silver colours of olives and the green colours of lemon trees, locusts and cypresses. During January of each year, the blooming almond trees gave a festive, dreamlike touch to the scenery which attracted many tourists from Cyprus and abroad. There were about 30 houses in the village and a church dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Pavlos. The church was built in the 30’s and so was the school of the village. It celebrated on June 29 of each year and pilgrims from the neigbouring villages visited the church to pray to the two Apostles. The priest of the church was for many years, Papa-Aristotelis. He was also the priest of the Church of Saint Nicolas in Elia and the Church of Saint Paraskevi in Paliosofos. During the religious celebrations of Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter etc, the church that performed the liturgy, gathered the citizens of all three villages which were about 300.
Next to the church was the single-classroom-school of Ftericha. The teachers who taught from time to time, at the school were: Kipros Proestos, Kostas Tsirtsipis, George Georgiades, Kostas Papadimitriou, Gregory Orphanides, Lakis Tsaggarides, Nikos Dramiotis, Ionannis Menelaou and Stelios Panagides. Due to the small number of students, the school was forced to shut down and students had to attend the schools of Karavas.
A few years before the Turkish Invasion, several foreigners and people from Nicosia, built lodges in the village of Ftericha. The manor of the English Lee Rodger was the one that stood out. There, the Turkish troops gathered all the villagers and foreigners who resorted to the village during the first day of the Turkish Invasion on July 20, 1974.
During the summer of 1974, there were only 20 families in the village. Most inhabitants were senior citizens since their children got married and moved to a different part of the island. Even though the village had electricity, telephone cabling and cemented roads, the transport system was a major disadvantage of the village because it was not developed and people had to walk great distances.
During the Turkish revolt (1963), the Turks took over the area just above the village Ftericha and raised their flag on the hill, called “Kourtella’’. A group of men from the village of Ftericha took part in the Mission on Pentactylos in 1964 in order to force the Turks to a retreat.
Today the village is called Ilkaz. The Turks changed the village’s name after the Invasion.