Well it all started out with a local drive and a trip round Paphos to see what was going on in town however, as we got further along through Paphos to Geriskipou Beach and beyond we decided we would go and find the abandoned village of Foinikas. If you have read previous my previous blog “Abandoned” Vretsia Village we did try to get to it but without success due to the weather.
We followed the signs through Timi and beyond to see the turning for Foinikas and followed the road. Not sure what happened but we got to the end of the road and although we could see Foinikas in the distance we couldn’t get there. We weren’t sure if this was because the water is high in the reservoir of if this wasn’t the way to go but instead come in from the north of the village instead of the middle.
So away we went again and headed north to Choletria to follow the dried river leading to the Asprokremmos Reservoir. In the summer months the river is dry and it is possible to have a 3km bumpy ride along the dried riverbed to Foinikas. I think my body became detached from my head at that point.
After doing some research on the village of Foinikas I discovered that it was supposedly founded by the Knights Templar in the 12th century after the island was invaded by King Richard the Lionheart.
For many years, it was home to Turkish Cypriots. However, following the 1974 coup d’état and subsequent Turkish invasion this caused everyone to flee. Afterwards the government resettled displaced Greek Cypriots in the village.
Of course everything changed again when the government decided to build Asprokremmos Reservoir rendering it unsafe to live in the village and once
again all residents had to leave.
The building of the reservoir started in 1976 shortly after the Turkish Invasion and was finished in 1982. You can see from the photographs that houses are in the water when when the reservoir is full. In the wet months the village would have been cut off from civilisation as there was no road in or out only the river bed to drive along.
Now, the village is a ghost town.
Old stone houses and slightly newer, more modern models alike erode and decay. The weathered buildings stand like sad, forgotten memorials to the people who once called the settlement home.
It was definitely a worthwhile trip out and look forward to the next visit.