Abandoned Villages - Faleia
Faleia lies close to the abandoned village of Agios Fotios. It is abandoned because of the troubles, not because of any threat of landslides. According to online records, it has a population of two, and is in a desolate state. Judge for yourself just how desolate...
Follow The Arrow
We had never heard of Faleia, until we noticed the name on a signpost in Agios Fotios. I assumed it was another village, similar to Lemona or Choulou. As we had been exploring the area while researching our first roadtrip, I made a mental note to check Faleia out too.
The Road To Faleia
When you start down the road, you will pass through a working farm before your journey heads into open countryside. After a mile or so, you will begin to see buildings in the distance. There are also power lines. We don't expect to see them in abandoned villages, as they tend to be abandoned before the arrival of the grid.
The Wild West
Was this a warning, or just a bit of street art? It certainly sets the scene...
There are certainly some signs of life here still. But what is the history of Faleia? According to the PRIO database...
According to the Ottoman census of 1831, the village was solely inhabited by Muslims. This trend did not change during the British period. Throughout the British period, the total population of the village constantly fluctuated.
No one was displaced during the tensions of the late 1950s. However, after intercommunal fighting began in late 1963, the Faleia Turkish Cypriots decided to evacuate the village and seek refuge in Axylou(297) on 7 February 1964. They returned to their village after three months, and the village served as a Turkish Cypriot enclave until 1975. During and immediately after the war in 1974, more than 100 of the Faleia Turkish Cypriots fled the village clandestinely, making their way through forests and mountains to the northern part of the divide. The remaining 88 persons were taken to the north under UNFICYP escort on 30 August 1975. Many of the Faleia villagers were resettled in Agios Ermolaos/Şirinevler(209). Others were settled in places such as Kyra/Mevlevi(055), Lysi/Akdoğan(167), Karavas/Alsancak(226) and Famagusta(140). The total number of the Faleia Turkish Cypriots who were displaced after 1974 was approximately 250 (247 in 1973 census).
After the departure of the Turkish Cypriots, for a long time no one settled in the village. The 2001 census put the village’s population at four. Apart from a few shepherds who use some of the buildings, the rest of the village is in ruins.
The first buildings you will see as you approach Faleia are definitely in ruin. However, there is a picnic bench in one of the gardens, and on one of our visits there were a group of shepherds (we presume) having a morning break.