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Pyla Village on the UN-controlled Green Line

Entering Pyla village, the first thing one notices are the two large United Nations signs declaring this to be a UN-controlled area, and informing all and sundry that photography is forbidden.

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But despite the visible UN presence, Pyla is a warm, welcoming village

 
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Following the Turkish invasion of 1974, Pyla village ended up right in the middle of the United Nation's Green Line, which divides North and South Cyprus.

As a direct result, Pyla is now one of just three communities in the Republic of Cyprus where Greek and Turkish Cypriots continued to live side by side after the conflict more than three and a half decades ago. But although one might think that such a situation would spark friction, resentment and unrest, the denizens of Pyla manage to get along peacefully, and make the village's atmosphere an extremely welcoming one.

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The mosque of Pyla village

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Aptly named 'Gateway', Pyla sits along an important route from Cyprus' coast to the interior

Pyla's Medieval Keep

 

As previously stated, the name Pyla stems from the Greek word for 'Gateway or Portal'. The reason for this is the village's location, at one of the main routes between the south-eastern coastal plain, and the Mesaoria plain at the island's interior.

Consequently, the village was long considered to be of strategic importance to the island's security. Indeed, this importance, both past and present, is still visible today in the shape of a Medieval Keep which sits on one side of Pyla's main square, directly opposite the community's United Nations outpost.

Indeed, this juxtaposition of ancient and modern military presence is not the most immediate one found in plain sight.; there is an even more obvious one to be seen, if one only chooses to look up at the hillside adjacent to the village

Here, some hundred feet above Pyla's rooftops, a Turkish observation post keeps a constant vigil over the community's comings and goings. Itself a remnant of an earlier time, when relations between the Republic and the TRNC were still unquiet and subject to frequent bouts of posturing, this lookout is a constant reminder of turbulent times in Cyprus' recent history.

 

Turkish obervation post overlooking Pyla village

Pyla's main Greek Orthodox church, with the mosque's minaret seen to the right

 

But while the overt Turkish presence looming over the village is often commented on by first time visitors, it has little effect on the daily lives of Pyla's residents.

If anything, both the United Nations peacekeepers and the Turkish soldiers overlooking the community are utterly ignored by the local population. And so, life continues to go on day after day, with Greek and Turkish Cypriots living alongside each other peacably, and going about their business in much the same way they have for countless generations.

Over the years the locality has also attracted a substantial number of British expatriates, drawn here by some of the lowest property prices in the Larnaca region, and the fact that Pyla is seen by many as a quiet, peaceful place to retire away from Cyprus' mainstream tourist centres.

And so the village has continued to grow far beyond its original boundaries, with extensive villa developments having mushroomed on both sides of the main road running from Pyla to the nearby coast, and an ever increasing number of British expatriates adding to the local population.

 

The outskirts of Pyla village

In summary, while Pyla village is not as bustling, nor boasts the same kind of infrastructure, as the neighbouring Oroklini, it has nevertheless attained great popularity with a certain kind of independent British retiree who doesn't mind a few minutes' drive to the nearest supermarket, and wishes to enjoy the Cypriot lifestyle without being overrun by crowds of tourists during the summer months.

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Living in Cyprus

Over the past decade or so, a great many British expatriates have come to the shores of Aphrodite's Isle in search of the Mediterranean dream. Drawn here by overseas estate agents' promises that living in Cyprus was easy and trouble-free, many Brits ended up moving here without conducting any kind of research of their own, only to find that life in the Republic was not quite as straight-forward as the hyperbolic promises had made it out to be.
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Disclaimer. Please note that the information given on this website is displayed for guidance purposes only. It does not replace the need for professional advice, either legal or otherwise. E&OE

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