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Leonarisso is a village in the Karpasia/Karpaz peninsula, located six miles southwest of the small town of Yialousa/Yeni Erenköy. The village has had two names since the Ottoman period. The villages’s first name, Leonarisso, means “lion’s garden” in Cypriot Greek. The Ottoman name Ziyamet can be translated as “fief.” Turkish Cypriots continued to use Ziyamet as the sole name of the village after 1974.
As can be seen from the chart above, Leonarisso/Ziyamet was always solely inhabited by Greek Cypriots. In the Ottoman census of 1831, Christians constituted the only inhabitants of the village. During the first half of the 20th century, the population of the village increased steadily, from 546 in 1891 to 1017 in 1946. However, a significant drop occurred between the latter year and 1960, as the population fell by more than 300 to 707. The decline continued during the 1960’s, dropping to 617 persons in 1973.
Most of the Greek Cypriots of Leonarisso/Ziyamet were displaced between 1974 and 1980. While some fled during August 1974, 420 of them (out of 617) remained in the village until October 1975. By October 1976, the number of Greek Cypriots living in the village had fallen to 333, and by 1980 only 30 of the village’s original inhabitants remained. UNFICYP had and still has an operation post there, but no Greek Cypriots are left in the village. Currently, like the rest of the displaced Greek Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots of Leonarisso/Ziyamet are scattered throughout the island’s south, with large pockets in towns. The number of the Leonarisso/Ziyamet Greek Cypriots who were displaced after 1974 was around 620 (617 in the 1973 census).
In the 1970s, some Turkish Cypriots from nearby villages such as Platanissos/Balalan(185)
settled in Leonarisso/Ziyamet and were given land and property. However, the village has mainly been used for the settlement of peasant families from Turkey, most from the Muş, Osmaniye, Araklı, Kağızman, Bitlis and Adana districts and provinces of Anatolia. The 2006 census puts the village’s population at 715.
Books and Reports:
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- Mavrogordato, Alexander (1901), “Report and general abstracts of the census of 1901, taken on the 1st April, 1901,” Nicosia: Government Printing Office.
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Perry, Frederic W., 1884. Report on the Census of Cyprus 1881, Eyre and Spottiswoode, London.
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TRNC Prime Ministry State Planning Organisation Statistics and Research Department, Census of Population: Social and Economic Characteristics of Population, December 15, 1996, TRNC Prime Ministry, Nicosia, 1999.
- Standing Cypriot Commission for the Standardization of Geographical Names (2007), “Οδηγος Τυποποιησης Ονοματων (Guide to Standardized Names),” Nicosia: Ministry of Education and Culture.
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- Yorgancıoğlu, Oğuz: Kıbrıs’ta Türkçe Yer Adları ve Veriliş Yöntemleri Üzerine Bir Araştırma Kıbrıs Araştırmaları Dergisi, Cilt : 2, Sayı : 3, Yıl : 96