Geroskipou is a coastal town in
Cyprus, a few minutes ride east of Paphos. Its current population is approximately 7,000
and it is the second largest municipality in the Paphos District.
Yeroskipou, with its remarkable five-domed Byzantine church of Agia
Paraskevi, and its Folk Art Museum, is a popular tourist destination.
It is known especially for the production of Turkish Delight or "lokum"
(locally loukoumia or lukum). The town is the only place
in the world which has protected geographical indication (PGI) for the
History of Geroskipou
According to local tradition, and as is implied in the
etymology of the town's name, Yeroskipou was the site, in
Greek mythology, of goddess
Aphrodite's sacred gardens. Hence its name — "yeros" (holy) and "kipou"
( garden) — means "holy garden".
pilgrims from Nea Paphos passed through Yeroskipou before reaching
the temple of Aphrodite at
The Classical writer Strabo
mentions Yeroskipou, calling the settlement Hieroskepis. Many
other travellers have written that in the coastal plain of Yeroskipou
there were centuries old olives and carob trees.
In the 11th century, the five-domed Byzantine church of Agia
Paraskevi was built in the middle of present-day settlement. It is
also mentioned that at Moulia, a coastal locality of the town, the
miraculous icon of Panagia of Khrysorogiatissa was found by the monk
Ignatios, who carried it to Rogia mountain from where the monastery
took its name.
In 1811 Sir Sidney visited Yeroskipou and met
Andreas Zimboulakis, appointing him as a vice-consul of
Britain. Zimboulaki, who was born in
Kefalonia, settled in Yeroskipou and his duties as vice-consul
were to protect the interests of Britain. The house of Zimboulaki
where many personalities were hosted, was bought in 1947 by the
Department of Antiquities, to be converted into Folk Art Museum.
In 1821, the village had 30 adult male Turkish Cypriots and 76
adult male Greek Cypriots. By 1911, the village had a population of
602, with 477 Greek and 125 Turkish Cypriots. In the next decades, the
Greek Cypriot population grew rapidly while the Turkish Cypriot
population declined: in 1931, there were 751 Greek Cypriots and 105
Turkish Cypriots. In 1960, the village had a population of 1722, with
1552 Greek and 170 Turkish Cypriots.
A British firm set up a factory for silk production in 1925.
Hundreds of workers both from Yeroskipou and the surrounding villages
were employed in it. However, the factory closed in 1952. It is also
mentioned that at Yeroskipou there was also a linen-processing
In 1952, the small Turkish Cypriot population of the village mostly
spoke Greek. The village lived off agriculture and Turkish Cypriots
were mostly better off than their Greek neighbours, though many
villagers lacked titles to land and worked as daily labourers. The
village did not have a mosque and the Turkish Cypriot villagers at
times went to the church for their Muslim worship and practiced some
Christian rites at Easter. In 1952, efforts were underway to rebuild
the roads of the village, Turkish language courses were scheduled for
Turkish Cypriot children and the school building was in ruinous
In 1964, following the
intercommunal violence known as
Bloody Christmas and a battle in the town of Paphos, the Turkish
Cypriot villagers fled Geroskipou and sought refuge mostly in
Mandria. Some of these residents fled to
Northern Cyprus following the
Turkish invasion of 1974 through the mountains, whilst some were
escorted there by
UNFICYP in 1975. These 200-220 displaced people Geroskipou were
Agios Georgios.The village was home to a camp for Turkish Cypriot prisoners of war in
1974. At least 329 people were held here; in their interviews with
Turkish media the POWs claim that they were beaten and left hungry for
periods of 24 hours by their captors.