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Trakhonas, Kızılbash or Kızılay, is a suburb of the city of Nicosia. Before 1974, it was located on the north edge of the capital city. According to Goodwin, Trakhonas means “rough and stony place” in Cypriot Greek. Kizilbash (Kızılbaş), on the other hand, literally means “red head.” Kızılbash was also the name of certain Alawite tribes of Anatolia. Some Turkish Cypriot historians believe that the current location of Trakhonas had once been used as a settlement for these Alawite tribes. During the Ottoman period, Trakhonas was called Kızılbaş. However, in 1975 the Turkish Cypriot leadership changed the name from Kızılbaş to Kızılay, perhaps because of the associations of the name Kızılbaş with a “heretical” branch of Islam that was not consonant with the Sunni Islam affiliated with Turkish nationalism. In addition, during the 1970s the Alawite communities of Turkey were very active in leftist movements. Kızılay means “red crescent.”

Historical Population:

At least since 1831 Trakhonas/Kızılay has been predominantly inhabited by Greek Cypriots. In the 1940s, with the development of new settlements such as Gelibolu, Turkish Cypriots started to move into the vicinity of Trakhonas. Sometime after 1946, Turkish Cypriots began to settle in the village, as well. In 1960 there were 921 Turkish Cypriots living in Trakhonas/Kızılay (including the Gelibolu neighborhood). Trakhonas became part of the Nicosia municipality in 1968.


The first conflict-related displacement took place during the intercommunal disturbances of 1964. Most of the Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of Trakhonas/Kızılay (apart from Gelibolu) fled the village in January and moved to the Turkish Cypriot-controlled part of Nicosia(074). Some went back to live in their houses (especially those near the Turkish Cypriot-controlled part of the city) in 1968, but the majority stayed where they had sought refuge.

All the Greek Cypriots from this village were displaced in July and August 1974, fleeing from the advancing Turkish army. Currently, like the rest of the displaced Greek Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots of Trakhonas are scattered throughout the island’s south, with large pockets in towns. The number of the Trakhonas Greek Cypriots who were displaced in 1974 was around 2,500 (2,361 in 1960).

Current Inhabitants:

Currently the village is mainly inhabited by its original Turkish Cypriot inhabitants and displaced Turkish Cypriots who moved there after the1974 war. Many families of “martyrs,” or what the Turkish Cypriots call those who died in the intercommunal fighting, were given houses in this neighborhood. Many of the displaced Turkish Cypriots from Omorfita(077) of 1963 also live in Trakhonas/Kızılay.  

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