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This village is situated in the Kyrenia district, almost three kilometers west of Laphithos and below the Koronos peak of the Kyrenia mountain range. It was a mixed village until 1964. The name of the village was Vasileia, meaning “Kingdoms” in Greek. However, in 1975 Turkish Cypriots adopted the alternative name Karşıyaka, meaning “The Opposite Bank,” in reference to Anatolia across the water.  
Historical Population

According to the 1831 Ottoman census, Muslims constituted the majority (61%). It is claimed by some elderly villagers that many Muslims left for Anatolia following the departure of the Ottoman administrators in 1878. The other major Muslim emigration to Anatolia took place between 1910 and 1931, reducing the Muslim population ratio from 38% (1891) to 26% in 1931. One explanation for this exodus may be the general anxiety that prevailed among the island’s Muslim population during the Balkan and First World wars, when the Ottomans fought against Greece in the former and Britain in the latter. It should also be noted that the other reason for the drop of the Muslim ratio was the inclusion of Vavilas village in census records as part of Vasileia village from 1921 onwards. Since the majority of the population was Greek Cypriot in Vavilas, this naturally increased the Greek Cypriot percentage of the population ratio during the censuses. The Turkish Cypriot population ratio continued to decrease until 1960 (20%).


Due to intercommunal strife, all of the village’s approximately 230 (213 in 1960) Turkish Cypriot inhabitants were displaced from the village on 16-17 January 1964 and took refuge in Templos/Zeytinlik(248) and Boghaz(215) villages. The Turkish Cypriots of Vasileia remained in enclaves until the end of 1974, when they returned to Vasileia after the flight of the village’s Greek Cypriot inhabitants. Currently the displaced Greek Cypriots of Vasileia are scattered throughout the island’s south, with large pockets in Nicosia and Larnaca. The number of the Vasileia Greek Cypriots (including those from Vavilias) who were displaced in 1974 was around 950-60 (950 in the 1973 census).

Current Inhabitants:

Apart from the original Turkish Cypriots of Vasileia who returned in 1974 and 1975, there are displaced Turkish Cypriots from the island’s south, including from villages such as Agioi Iliofotoi(003) in Nicosia (south) district and from various villages in the Paphos district (e.g., Sarama/Kuşluca(335)). There are also persons from Turkey, mainly from the Maçka and Sürmene regions of the Black Sea. During the last twenty years, many European citizens and Turkish Cypriots from elsewhere (including returnees from the UK) have also bought property and settled in the village. In addition, the town hosts many immigrant workers, mainly from Turkey, who are employed primarily in construction and tourism. The 2006 census gives the Vasileia (including Vavilas) population as 2,110, but this number can exceed 3,000 during holiday seasons because of summer houses in the area. 

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