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Karavas is a municipality in the Kyrenia district, situated twelve kilometers west of the town of Kyrenia. The locals call Karavas the sister village of Lapithos. The name Karavas is believed to have derived from the word karavi which means “ship.” Before 1974, this village was exclusively inhabited by Greek Cypriots. In 1975 Turkish Cypriots changed its name to Alsancak, meaning “red banner.” Alsancak is also a place name in western Turkey. 
Historical Population

As can be seen from the chart above, in the Ottoman census of 1831, Christians constituted the sole inhabitants of this settlement. At the turn of the century there were only one or two Muslim inhabitants living in the town. The population steadily increased during the British period, from 1,580 in 1891 to 2,416 in 1960.


All of the village’s inhabitants were displaced in 1974, as in July and August they fled from the advancing Turkish army to the southern part of the island. Currently, like the rest of the displaced Greek Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots of Karavas are scattered throughout the island’s south, with some pockets in towns. The displaced Greek Cypriot population of Karavas can be estimated to be around 2,230 since its population was 2223 in 1973.


Current Inhabitants:

In 1975, the village was used for the settlement of displaced Turkish Cypriots from the southern part of the divide. They are mainly from Paphos villages such as Mandria/Yeşilova(322), Fionikas/Finike(304), Axylou/Aksu(297), Choulou/Hulu(298), Koloni/Yolüstü(311), Timi/Ovalık(340), Amargeti/Amarget(289), Anarita(329), Eledio/Eledyu, Agia Varvara/Engindere(283), Faleia/Gökçebel(301), Pelathousa/Karaağaç(330), Kourtaka/Kurtağa(313), Kouklia/Sakarya(312), Geroskipou/Yeroşibu(306) and a few people from the towns of Larnaca(361) and Limassol(269). According to the 1996 census almost half of the inhabitants were born in south Cyprus. The same census also showed that 250 citizens living in this small town declared their birthplace as Turkey. During the last ten years, many European citizens have bought property and settled here. The 2006 Turkish Cypriot census puts the village’s population at 4,638. Due to the new summer homes built in the village, the latter number can easily go up to 6,000 during the holiday seasons.  

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