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Yerolakkos/Alayköy is a village located in the Nicosia district of Cyprus, ten kilometers west of the capital city of Nicosia. Yerolakkos means “holy well” in Greek. After 1974, Turkish Cypriots changed its name to Eskikuyu, meaning “old well,” but they later renamed it Alayköy, meaning “village of the regiment.” The latter name referred to the Turkish regiment (Türk Alayı) of the 1960s which was established in the vicinity of the village as a result of the 1960 treaties of Guarantee, Establishment and Alliance.
Historical Population:

Until 1910, the village was a mixed with a tiny Turkish Cypriot presence. As can be seen from the chart above, in the Ottoman census of 1831, Christians (Greek Cypriots) constituted almost 95% of the overall village population. In 1891 this percentage increased to 97%. The few Muslim families who were living there left the village sometime after 1911 and moved to the Turkish Cypriot village of Gönyeli. Interestingly, Turkish Cypriots reappear in the census reports of 1946, but then almost entirely disappear again in 1960. The reasons behind these population movements have not been determined. On the other hand, until 1960, the overall population growth of the village showed an upward trend, increasing steadily from 457 in 1891 to 1865 in 1960.


All the Greek Cypriots from this village were displaced in August 1974, fleeing from the advancing Turkish army. Currently, like the rest of the displaced Greek Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots of Gerolakkos are scattered throughout the island’s south, with large pockets in towns. The number of the Gerolakkos Greek Cypriots who were displaced in 1974 was around 2,500 (2,455 in the 1973 census).

Current Inhabitants:

Today this small town is mainly inhabited by displaced Turkish Cypriots from the island’s south, including some families from south Nicosia(074), Kouklia(312), Limassol(269), Paphos(329) and Larnaca(361). However, the resettlement of this particular location was different from other villages in that it did not receive a large number of Turkish Cypriot displaced persons from a single location. Rather, the town’s current inhabitants came from various locations, including many civil servant families from Nicosia, as well as persons whose houses were near the ceasefire line and hence in what were considered dangerous locations. There are also many Turkish nationals living in the village. They mainly came from the Adana province of Turkey. The 2006 Turkish Cypriot census puts Gerolakkos’ population at 2,539.  

Books and Reports: