First-time events at week­end of fes­ti­vals

Cyprus Today - - NEWS -

OLIVES, pomegranates and the spirit zi­vaniya were on the fes­ti­val menu last week­end as a se­ries of tra­di­tional and first-time events of­fered vis­i­tors a flavour of Turk­ish Cypriot cul­ture.

The 17th Olive Fes­ti­val kicked off last Fri­day with a pa­rade and the un­veil­ing by town mayor Nidai Güngördü of a life-size statue of a Knight Tem­plar in Zeytin­lik, the fes­ti­val’s host vil­lage — once known as “Tem­p­los”, a name thought to have been de­rived from its role as a base for the 12th cen­tury Catholic mil­i­tary or­der.

Ad­dress­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony, at­tended by Prime Min­is­ter Tu­fan Erhür­man, min­is­ters, MPs and guests from coun­cils in Turkey, Ger­many and Ro­ma­nia, Pres­i­dent Mustafa Akıncı said “our his­tory and our lo­cal pro­duc­tion spring nat­u­rally to mind” when­ever he vis­ited Zeytin­lik.

“On one hand, this vil­lage used to be a set­tle­ment for the Knights Tem­plar, on the other it is named af­ter olive groves and olives,” he said.

“If we pre­serve [its] beauty, we can pass it on to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Olive trees are part of this beauty. We should be fruit­ful, hard­work­ing and pro­duc­tive, [and] . . . must spread our roots in this land like an olive tree.”

Mr Akıncı hailed a cap of five storeys on con­struc­tion, in­tro­duced this year, as a “pos­i­tive step” for the area, com­ment­ing: “Cross­ing the streets in [Girne], you can see what sort of disas­ter has been cre­ated in the town.”

Tourists and res­i­dents alike flocked to the five-day fes­ti­val, which fea­tured stalls sell­ing lo­cal pro­duce and hand­i­crafts and a range of en­ter­tain­ments.

The pres­i­dent and prime min­is­ter were also in the bor­der vil­lage of Akıncılar on Sun­day for its 12th Once Upon a Time Luric­ina Fair — af­ter the vil­lage’s Greek name — at which Dr Erhür­man de­scribed the area as “cap­i­tal of beauty, broth­er­hood and pro­duc­tiv­ity”. Mr Akıncı said his of­fice was “work­ing on” prob­lems in reach­ing the set­tle­ment, which is ac­ces­si­ble by a sin­gle road, and sur­rounded on three sides by the bor­der with South Cyprus.

Mean­while, the pair were among guests in Güneşköy and Mehmetçik for in­au­gu­ral cel­e­bra­tions: the Pome­gran­ate Fair and Ziva Fes­ti­val re­spec­tively.

In Güneşköy, where speeches were also de­liv­ered in sign lan­guage, Mr Akıncı noted that “to­day ev­ery­thing rep­re­sents Cyprus . . . from the mu­sic be­ing played to the fruit be­ing served”, and spoke of his de­sire to pro­mote both ris­ing pome­gran­ate pro­duc­tion and wan­ing cit­rus grow­ing. Point­ing to one-fifth of last year’s 1,000-tonne pome­gran­ate har­vest hav­ing been ex­ported, he said he be­lieved “this suc­cess could be taken to a higher level”.

The Ziva Fes­ti­val, or­gan­ised by in­ter­na­tional Cit­taslow move­ment mem­ber Mehmetçik Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and Con­vivium Slow Foot Galatya, fea­tured stalls sell­ing the Cypriot grape spirit zi­vaniya and re­lated prod­ucts.

A life-size statue of a Knight Tem­plar has been un­veiled

The Filipino Com­mu­nity in North Cyprus per­formed their tra­di­tional dance The Cypriot spirit of zi­vaniya was cel­e­brated at the Mehmetçik Ziva Fest

The Friends Line Dance Group per­formed on Satur­day

Pres­i­dent Mustafa Akıncı (cen­tre) and ‘first lady’ Meral Akıncı en­joy the of­fer­ings of pome­gran­ate

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