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Life in the Armenian Quarter

Life in the Armenian Quarter

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Article for the life in the Armenian Quarter.
Article for the life in the Armenian Quarter.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra on May 11, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Until December 1963, within the walled Nicosia there was the Armenian district, which could be defined asfollows: to the north of Paphos Gate, to the east of the moat, to the south of the fountain of Zahra street andto the west of the virtual line that formed the extension of Athanasios Diakos street towards Mula bastion.Although the majority of the residents were Armenian-Cypriots, the Armenian Quarter was far fromctmonochromett, as many Turkish-Cypriots, as well as some Greek-Cypriots, Maronite-Cypriots, Latin-Cypri-ots and British used to live there. In act, until he first years of the British Era, the area was also known asthe Latin Quarter; later on
was split between the Karaman Zade and Arab Ahmed quarters.
tiful, whereas each celebrating house wouldoffer dishes to the neighbours too. The ladiessay that most Armenian foods are similar tothe Cypriot ones, their mode of preparationbeing the main differentiation.
The small forest
Mrs Elsie, whose house was located on Tanzi-mat street, facing the moat, makes particularreference to thesmall forest on Roccas bastion,the so-called <<andan>,rom the Armenian wordfor forest. Mrs Rosemary remembers that <<weused to go there after school and on the week-ends to rest),, while the rest of the ladies missthe small picnics they used to have there withschool.All of them remember that, when walking theneighbourhoods, <<you ould hear Armenian al-most everywhere,,, which is not the case today,as Armenian-Cypriots are scattered across Ni-cosia.
too remember, from conversations
hadin the past with the dear friend and ex-Head-master of Nareg Armenian Schools, Mr ArtinAivazian, that even the Greek-Cypriot grocer ofVictoria street, MrCostas, had Learnt Armenian.
Armenian-Cypriot associations
Several Armenian-Cypriot associations oper-ated in tt -ea: the <<ArmenianClub), [estab-lished in 21 had mainly local Armenians asmembers; the AGBU, which acquired a house in1957, was in favour of Soviet Armenia; theshort-lived, yet active, <<Friends f Armenia As-sociation>) Paregamats, 1944-19481; but mainlyAYMA, established in 1934 and ever since thecentre of Armenian-Cypriot social ife, organis-ing a multitude of social, athleticand entertain-ing events. Mrs Annig reminds us that ccHamaz-kayin,, [established in 19491, active today withinthe grounds of AYMA, was between 1938 and1949 a separate women's association called<<ArmenianWomen of Cilicia Association>). MrsSirvart adds the <<ArmenianPoor Body),, whichwas established around 1935.
Colourful people
The dear Armenian-Cypriot solicitor John Ma-tossian, living in London since 1973, has writ-ten the wonderful book <<My Father's House,an Armenian Boyhood in Nicosia,) [2005], inwhich the Armenian-Cypriot microcosm of Ni-cosia is recorded. Below, we quote a fewwords he wrote to us himself, on the occasionof this reportage:<<Ourswas a small community composed of theold LocalArmenians and the Genocide refugees.Our quarter became Armenian around 1567,when the Venetians rounded up the Nicosiawalls and almost 400 years afterwards, in 1963,the descendants of the Ottomans drove us out.

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