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Melanarga is a small village in the Karpasia/Karpaz peninsula, located only two miles south of Yialousa village. The origin of its name is obscure. The ending “arga” could be the corrupted version of “agra” which means “wild” in Greek. Turkish Cypriots changed the name to Adaçay in 1975, meaning “garden sage.”
As can be seen from the chart above, Melanarga was always a mixed village with a Greek Cypriot majority. In the Ottoman census of 1831, Christians constituted almost 61% of the population. This percentage continued until the first decades of the British period. During the first half of the 20th century, while the Greek Cypriot population increased steadily, the Turkish Cypriot population declined. In the 1946 census, the Turkish Cypriots constituted only 21.6% of the population. This percentage had been almost 41% in 1891.
In 1958, due to the tension caused by the EOKA struggle, all the Melanarga Turkish Cypriots fled and took refuge in nearby villages and in the city of Famagusta, staying in these locations until 1974. After the 1974 war, almost none of Melanarga’s original villagers showed an interest in being relocated back to their village. The majority stayed where they had sought refuge in 1958 or resettled in other locations.
All the Greek Cypriots of Melanarga were displaced between 1974 and 1977. Although about one-third of the population fled during 1974, 108 remained in the village until October 1975. By December 1976, all but four of these Greek Cypriot villagers had left for the southern part of the divide. There were no Greek Cypriots living in Melanarga by December 1977.
Apart from one original Melanarga Turkish Cypriot family who returned in 1974, Turkish nationals from the Kahramanmaraş and Muş areas of southeastern Turkey settled in the village in the late 1970s. The 2006 census puts the village’s population at 88.
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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- 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.
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- 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.
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- 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