Myrtou village is located Southwest of Kyrenia at a
height of 270 metres above sea level. It is on the south side of Pedadaktylos Mountains
and because of its position it was considered to be the administrative centre of the area
From the village there was easy access to two towns
Nicosia (the capital of the island) through Asomatos and Kyrenia through Panagra. It was
also connected with Morphou through Dhiorios. Administratively the village is in Kyrenia
Because of its advantageous geographical position
the village had a progressive growth.Though in 1881 the village had only 280 people in
the 1973 official census the people residing there came to 828 with increasing prospects.
The 1974 barbareous Turkish invasion in Cyprus put an end to this growth.
There are several traditions as to how the village
got its name .One of them says that the name comes from the plant MYRTOS or MYRTIA
myrtle. On the western side of the village there is a whole area full of myrtle as well as
other plants and bushes.
This particular area is known as Mersinia. According
to the writing of ancient writers myrtle was a plant dedicated to Goddess Aphrodite and
God Apollo. There is a probability that in this area was a sanctuary dedicated to Apollo
and even a small villa ge with the name Myrtos.
Myrtou area was inhabited prehistorically.
Archaeological excavations in two areas of the village Stephanie and Pegades brought to
light valuable findings. Oxford Ashmalian museum and a mission from Sydney Australia
University carried out the excavatio ns
The finding proved the religious political and
trading connection of Cyprus with other islands of Greece and especially Crete.
Short History of the Village until
the 1974 Turkish Invasion
The village for many years had a limited number of
people because the administrator of the monasterys property was the Metropolis of
the Kyrenia. When the Metropolis decided to start dividing the land to smaller plots, the
village begun to grow bigger and bigger. People could buy a plot of land build their house
and stay in their village rather than to move to the towns.
The Majority of the people living at Myrtou were
farmers cultivating their fields or raising sheep goats and cattle. Other were working at
Nicosia or Xeros. Of course you could find carpenters, mechanics, butchers, storekeepers
and so on.
During the liberation fights against the English in
1955-1959 many young people fought under E.O.K.A (an organisation that fought for the
liberation of Cyprus). Later on during the Turkish invasion of 1974 again the young men of
Myrtou responded to the cal of their country and fought against the Turkish army
Four young men are missing. These are Karaolis Panicos ,Christakis
Nicolaou , NeophytosCharalambous and Lazaros Thrasyvoulou. Two others, Charalambos
Meraklis and Panayiotis Georgiou Koratzitis were captured prisoners by the Turks,
transferred to prisons in Turkey, wh ere they suffered the most. Fortunately these two
were among the lucky ones that returned home safe and alive.
When the Turkish troops entered the village they
found 70 people mostly elders. These people decided to stay home rather then became
refugees, but the Turks tried to make their life difficult in every way. They broke into
their house stealing money and other valuables. Two villagers Costis Kotsapas and
Christospher Tsaggaris were murdered and no body knows where they were buried.
The Turk s were using the village as a military base
and on the southern part Turkish officers and their families were settled. Because of that
they were threatening the Greeks that were enclaved in their own village, until they
manage to send them all away to became refugees in their own country. Later on they
brought Turkish Cypriots from Adrolikou, Paphos to live in Myrtou.
The monastery of Saint Panteleimon remains since
then empty with no monks or priest. The Turks not only broke into the monastery,
destroying and stealing valuables but they out they also tried to change the Christian
Character of the village. In the ce ntre of the village they changed a building to a
mosque by erecting next to it a huge minaret.
The people of Myrtou became refugees in their own
country and scattered all over Cyprus. The majority are today living in the Nicosia area.
They never forgot their place and together with the other refugees are fighting and hoping
for their return home . In 1984 Syndesmos Myrtioton was founded. The main purpose of their
association is to keep the people of Myrtou in touch with each other. To create friendly
relationships between themselves and offer help to those that need it till the day we
return to o ur fatherland, beautiful MYRTOU and SAINT PANTELEIMON monastery.