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Belapais village is situated on the northern slopes of the Five Finger mountains, only five kilometers from the town of Kyrenia. Before 1974, this village was exclusively inhabited by Greek Cypriots. Apparently Belapais means “beautiful peace” in French. The village was named after a Catholic Monastery named Peace Abbey (Abbaye de la Paix) which is situated in the middle of the village and was built in 13th
century, during the Lusignan period. In 1979 Turkish Cypriots changed its name to Beylerbeyi meaning “Lord of the Lords.” However the name Belapais is still used in signs and brochures for tourism purposes.
As can be seen from the chart above, the village was almost always inhabited exclusively by Greek Cypriots. At the turn of the century there were only one or two Muslim (Turkish Cypriot) inhabitants living in the village. Its population fluctuated between 600 and 700 persons during most of the 20th century.
Most of the Greek Cypriot residents of Belapais attempted to remain in the village during the 1974 war. In October 1975, the number of those who were enclaved in the village was 434 (including several people from the surrounding areas and Kyrenia). That number dropped to 411 in February 1976, 303 in May and only seven (7) in August 1976. By September 1976 there were no Greek Cypriots living in Belapais.. Currently, like the rest of the displaced Greek Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots of Belapais are scattered throughout the island’s south, with some small pockets in towns. The number of the Greek Cypriots who were displaced between 1974 and 1976 was around 680 (672 in 1973).
Today the village is mainly inhabited by displaced Turkish Cypriots from Mari/Tatlısu(363), Kalavasos(355) and Maroni(364). There are also some Turkish nationals and third-country nationals living in the village. Over the last twenty years, many European citizens and wealthy Turkish Cypriots from elsewhere in the island’s north have bought property, built houses, and settled here. Due to the recent construction boom and the development in tourism, the village also hosts many immigrant workers from Turkey and Pakistan, who work in these sectors. The 2006 Turkish Cypriot census puts the village’s population at 934. Due to the new summer homes built in the village, the latter number can easily go up to 1,500 during the holiday seasons.References
Books and Reports:
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Department of Statitstics and Research, 1997. Estimates of Turkish Cypriots and Settlers from Turkey, Ministry of Finance [Republic of Cyprus], Nicosia.
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- Giray, Halil: KKTC Yerleşim Birimleri, Yürürlükteki ve Eski İsimler Listesi KKTC İskân Bakanlığı : KKTC Coğrafi İsimler Kataloğu : (Cilt – I and II), Lefkoşa.
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- Mavrogordato, Alexander (1901), “Report and general abstracts of the census of 1901, taken on the 1st April, 1901,” Nicosia: Government Printing Office.
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Perry, Frederic W., 1884. Report on the Census of Cyprus 1881, Eyre and Spottiswoode, London.
- Republic of Cyprus, 1961. “Census of Population and Agriculture, 1960: Volume I: Population by Location, Race, and Sex,” Nicosia
- TRNC 2006 census preliminary results can be found at: www.devplan.org
TRNC Prime Ministry State Planning Organisation Statistics and Research Department, Census of Population: Social and Economic Characteristics of Population, December 15, 1996, TRNC Prime Ministry, Nicosia, 1999.
- Standing Cypriot Commission for the Standardization of Geographical Names (2007), “Οδηγος Τυποποιησης Ονοματων (Guide to Standardized Names),” Nicosia: Ministry of Education and Culture.
- Ministry of Finance (1973), “Micro-Census (April 1973) Population by Village and Ethnic Group, Volume I.” Nicosia: Department of Statistics and Research.
- Özad, Murat Hüsnü (2002), “Baf ve Mücadele Yılları,” Lefkoşa (Nicosia): Akdeniz Haber Ajansı Yayınları.
- Patrick, Richard (1976), “Political Geography and the Cyprus Conflict: 1963-1971,” Department of Geography, Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo.
- Percival, D.A. (1949), “Census of population and agriculture 1946 report,” Nicosia: Cyprus Government Printing Office.
- Republic of Cyprus (1962), “Census of population and agriculture, 1960,” Nicosia: Government Printing Office.
- Republic of Cyprus (1984), “Census of population 1982,” Nicosia: Department of Statistics and Research, Ministry of Finance.
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- St John-Jones, L. W., 1983. “The Population of Cyprus: Demographic Trends and Socio-Economic Influences” (with a foreword by W. H. Morris-Jones), Maurice Temple, Smith Limited, London.
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- Yorgancıoğlu, Oğuz: Kıbrıs’ta Türkçe Yer Adları ve Veriliş Yöntemleri Üzerine Bir Araştırma Kıbrıs Araştırmaları Dergisi, Cilt : 2, Sayı : 3, Yıl : 96