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Lakkia, or Latsia, is a suburb of Nicosia with a separate municipality. Lakkia, once a small village on the southeast outskirts of Nicosia, is today one of the largest and most populous suburbs of the capital. According to the Latsia municipality website, “The name “Latsia” is in fact pronounced “Lachia,” but it is conventionally written Latsia. The name derives from “lachin” (meaning a small well or shallow “lakkos”, i.e. a hole). Lachia comes from the numerous lachouthkia (i.e. small shallow holes) present in the area, used for irrigation and the hydration of the animals” (http://www.latsia.org.cy).
As can be seen from the chart above, although Latsia is currently home to over 12,000 people, it was only a tiny hamlet in 1881 (17 persons). According to the Latsia municipality website, the village was developed out of a former çiftlik (farm) owned by a Muslim landlord called Köroğlu who decided to sell it to the local villagers. The same source also claims that the first settlers who bought most of the farmland from the above-mentioned landlord were Greek Cypriot farmers from Lythrodontas village, twenty-one kilometers southwest of Nicosia. In the second half of the 19th century, some of these new owners began to live in Latsia. Between 1921 and 1931, more Lythrodontas villagers bought land in Latsia and moved to the village. However, soon after, due to World War II and migration, the population of the village significantly declined. During this period, many Cypriots migrated to the US, Australia, the UK and the Middle East to seek better jobs and a better life. From 1946 until Independence in 1960, the population increased again because of the close proximity of Latsia to the capital city of Nicosia, which offered many job opportunities (www.latsia.org.cy/english/history.shtm).
There was no displacement during the 1963-64 intercommunal fighting, nor was there any in 1974. However the village became a very important reception center for many displaced Greek Cypriot families arriving from the north of Cyprus as they fled from the advancing Turkish army.
Currently the town is mainly inhabited by its original Greek Cypriot villagers and displaced Greek Cypriots who moved there after the 1974 war. According to the Latsia municipality, In order to house the displaced families, the government built three large refugee housing estates in Latsia: “Ayios Eleftherios (with 796 housing units), Apostolos Andreas (with 236 housing units) and Apostolos Loukas (with 126 housing units). Moreover, the Archangelos Michael self-housing estate (two states) was financed by the government (247 housing units).” The municipality estimates that 76-82% of Latsia’s population can be traced to 125 villages in the north of the divide. This, in combination with the general trend of people from villages close to Nicosia to move to its suburbs, resulted in a population explosion that fueled Latsia’s rapid growth, turning it from a village into a town. The last census of 2001 puts the total population of the village at 12,195 (www.latsia.org.cy/english/history.shtm).
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