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[ Louroujina Village (English version only) ]

Location of Louroujina on the map

Source for the above map:

According to the book Historic Cyprus by Rupert Gunnis (Kemal Rustem & Bro. Edition), the village was the centre of the Linobambaki. In the same book a discription of the Linobambaki is as follows:

"...Linobambaki, that is, linen and cotton, a figurative expression which means a combination of Christian and Mussulman. While to outward appearance they are Turks, and are so recognized by the local aıuthorities, in reality they are Christians whose ancestors, at the time of the Turkish conquest, were forced to declare themselves Mussulmans and to embrace Islamism in order to save their lives and property. Many, if not all of them, had been adherents of the Latin Church, though it is still frequently a matter of dispute between the Greek bishops and the Latin priests as to which Church they rightfully belong to, each Church being desirous of claiming them as its adherents. The marriage and baptismal ceremonies of the Linobambaki are performed in secret by a priest of their choice. On the birth of a male child the rite of circumcision is evaded by means of a present of money to the Hodja. They adopt such names for their sons as are common to both Christian and Moslem, such as Ibrahim (Abraham), Moussa(Moses), Yusuf (Joseph), etc." 

Please read what George Jeffery F.S.A wrote about Louroujina in his book called "Historic Monuments of Cyprus"

My Note:

After the Turkish (Ottoman) conquest, Turks from Turkey came to live in Cyprus. Some of them were given the right to go to Cyprus and some were sent to Cyprus as exiles as a punishment for disobeying the law. According to our old villagers, the Turkish population in the village was in minority among the Linobambaki and the Christian population. Soon after the British took over Cyprus, the village priest induced quite a number of Turks to become Christians. It is also probable that many of the Linobambaki, then, return to Christian faith. The priest was successful and effective in his Christianization policy. However, the village priest's activities caused enragement amongst the Moslem Turkish villagers. One morning the priest was found murdered (about 1924) At that time what percentage of people of Louroujina was Moslem Turks and what percentage of them were Linobambaki or Christians, still requires researching into.

After the priest was murdered the Greek inhabitants gradually became the minority and the Moslem Turks the majority. Not counting those Moslem Turks who remained faithful to their religion and to their mother tongue during the Christianisation policy of the village priest, the people of Louroujina irrespective of their religious and ethnic origin spoke in Greek. This was probably due to: (a) People who were Linobambaki, and (b) partly due to Turks being converted to Christianity and compelled to speak in Greek. Louroujina grew and become one of the largest Turkish villages, with its people speaking in Greek. In about 1940s a campaign in favour of 'speaking in Turkish' was started by the village intelligencia. With the founding of the village youth club, Lurucina Türk Gençler Ocağı in 1942, this campaign gained momentum. The village club organized social activities and staged theatrical plays with the aim of educating the villagers. The main theme of the plays put on stage for those days was Turkish Nationalism. It is interesting to note though, that during the intermissions, jokes were told both in Turkish and in Greek. Often a mixure of both languages were used to make people like, appreciate and laugh for these jokes. 

It was not until 1950s that a more effective campaign was started, calling on the Turkish villagers to speak their mother tongue. This campaign was sparked off by rising nationalism among the Turkish Cypriots and was taken further on Celal Hordan's visit to the village in 1957 (I am not so sure about this date, but it might have been in 1958). C.Hordan was sent to Cyprus by the Turkish Government, then headed by Adnan Menders, to help organize and rally Turkish Cypriots behind Taksim (Partition of the island between Turkey and Greece). The young responded favourably and positively but the old generation found this very difficult and were unable to learn how to speak Turkish. For every Greek word that anyone used, especially during C. Hordan's visit to the village, had to pay a two shilling piece as a punishment. I distinctly remember that there were some villagers, who, purposely used Greek words while speaking in Turkish just to redicule, protest or make fun of this nonsensical punishment. 

In later years people speaking in Greek gradually became smaller in number. There are still good many who are able to speak both Turkish and Greek. Even today, people living in Louroujina prefer to speak Greek or speak half in Greek and half in Turkish. This may not be true for the young generation who may not even understand a word of Greek. 

People of Louroujina who left the village to live in other parts generally speak Turkish, but sometimes speak in Greek. They say,  speaking in Greek, gives them some kind of pleasure and satisfaction, because they remember their old days. "Telling old stories and jokes about our village is not possible without telling it in Greek or telling half of it in Greek and half of it in Turkish."

People of Louroujina, until recently, were  looked down at or even insulted by other Turkish Cypriots just because of their past. This may be true even for today. We should not deny our past; there is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to be insulted for. That is our history, the history of the people of Louroujina. Like everybody else on this island we are proud of our village, we are proud of our villagers, we are proud of our past and present, and like other people we have many villagers who are very successful in their professions or in what their doing.*  

S. Arifler. January 2000

Please feel free to send your comments about this article. If you think there are misleading or incorrect information, or some important points or dates that are missed out, please let me know. I will be very pleased. Further, if you have an alternative information or view in connection with the village of Louroujina, I will be happy to publish your contribution here in these pages. (Please contact me if you wish)

*Please read Süheyla Küsler's article:




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