Is Traditional Cypriot Village Life Under Threat?

NathalieM By NathalieM, 20th Jun 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Other

The sunny Mediterranean island of Cyprus is a largely unspoiled, charming oasis of ancient architecture, sandy beaches and a truly individual culture. One of the country’s biggest draws is the laid back lifestyle of Cypriot villagers, however as one Paphos village faces the threat of having one of their most enjoyed traditions taken away from them, does this signal a worrying trend in historic island life being bulldozed in the name of “progress”?

Authorities to Rule on Tradition of Traffic Free Summer

OK, so I may have been a little dramatic in using the term bulldozed there, and nothing is actually going to get flattened (unlike in the proposed A7 motorway project). But the Paphos village of Kouklia, on the south west coast of Cyprus, is waiting on the outcome of an investigation by the local authorities into whether or not to allow the continuation of their established tradition of closing the village centre to traffic following a complaint from a local resident.

For the past seven years quaint and rustic Kouklia has come alive between June and September as the old village centre is closed off to vehicles, allowing the local tavernas and cafes to provide welcoming street dining, put on events and showcase local music in the picturesque car free surroundings. Naturally this has provided a real boost to the local economy as tourists flock to enjoy this charming way of life during the peak summer holiday season and most villagers have been unanimous in their praise for the success of the scheme.

Until now, that is. The Cyprus Mail have reported that one local resident’s complaint that his life is negatively impacted by the summer road closures each year has forced the local police to take action on whether to allow this tradition to continue.

Can One Voice Make a Difference?

It seems crazy that one person could potentially overrule the hundreds of villagers who enjoy the many benefits of cutting out cars, but it seems the police are taking the complainant very seriously and even the Muktar (head of the village) Michael Solonos has expressed his doubts as to whether Kouklia will be allowed to continue with this practise. When asked about the complainant Solonos responded “This is quite a serious complaint. He has said that the closure and noise levels affect his life, he cannot access his property freely and the late hours are a nuisance. It’s a personal complaint.”

And with the disgruntled villager making his feelings known through his lawyer there is a genuine fear that the police will be forced to bow to his pressure and prevent the annual traffic free period which could have a disastrous effect on local businesses, many of which are entirely reliant on the tourists who are attracted to the pleasant village plaza when there’s no obstruction or danger of moving vehicles.

Village Life

I visited much of the region a couple of years ago when renting a villa in Paphos and Kouklia was one of my highlights. There was such appeal to the charming laid back way of life that seemed to be complimented by the lack of traffic on the roads and I immediately fell in love with the place. For there to now be a danger of that magic that I experienced being taken away makes me really sad. It may be a tradition of only seven years but it has enabled the village to return to a way of life that would have existed centuries earlier before the nuisance of noisy, polluting vehicles and that’s a heritage to be proud of.


Cypriot Life, Cyprus, Paphos

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author avatar NathalieM
Hello! I'm Nathalie and I love writing about what makes my world tick! Fashion, weddings, interior design, health, property..You name it, I will write about it!

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author avatar WOGIAM
20th Jun 2014 (#)

I have never being to Cyprus, but from what i have read about travels and tourism, so many traditional and natural islands, villages are losing their values and structures.

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