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Paleosophos is situated on the northern slopes of the western part of the Five Finger mountains, only a mile and a half southeast of Karavas/Alsancak and five miles west of the town of Kyrenia. This small village was always exclusively inhabited by Greek Cypriots. Goodwin suggests that Palaiosofos could mean “old (paleo) and wise (sophos) man” in Greek. The village’s name was changed to “Malatya” in 1975 by Turkish Cypriots, after the Turkish name of a village in the Paphos district (Meladeia) from which most of the village’s current inhabitants derive. It merged with the nearby tiny village of Motides in 1980s, and since that time the two villages have been counted together during censuses.
Historical Population

As can be seen from the chart above, the village was almost always inhabited exclusively by Greek Cypriots. During the first half of the 20th century its population showed a steady increase, growing from 110 in 1901 to 148 in 1931. However, for reasons that are not clear, its population declined to 139 persons in 1946 and increased again to 151 in 1960.


All of the village’s inhabitants were displaced between 20 and 22 July. Currently, like the rest of the displaced Greek Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots of Palaiosofos are scattered throughout the island’s south. The displaced population of Palaiosofos can be estimated at around 150, since its Greek Cypriot population was 148 in 1973.

Current Inhabitants:

Following the displacement of the Greek Cypriot inhabitants of the village in 1974, the village was repopulated by displaced Turkish Cypriots from various parts of Paphos but particularly from Meledhia/Malatya(324) village. There are some people originally from Turkey who also currently live there, while over the last twenty years, many European citizens and wealthy Turkish Cypriots from elsewhere in the island’s north have bought property and built summer houses there. The 2006 census puts the de jure population of the two villages (Motides and Palaiosofos or Malatya/İncesu) at 150, but during the holiday seasons this number can go up to well over 250.  

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