Büyükkonuk or Komi Kebir is a beautiful village in the Karpaz peninsula with a population around 1000 people living there. According to a legend, the name Komi is connected to a Saint called Auxentios (İksendi). According to the story, He was a commander in Anatolia around 4th century. After seeing Virgin Mary in his dream, he decided to move to a cave and spent rest of his life for worshiping to God. When he get on to ship, with a divine power he found himself in Cyprus. Saint Auxentios, started a religious life in a cave that is called İoution (Yudi) region, which is very near to Büyükkonuk. After his death, the villagers from Komi and Eftakomi found his body and started to fight for it. After a while, they decided to put his body to a car with one cow from each village, and they agreed to bury the body to the point where cows stop. After a long walk of cows, they stopped next to Aya mavra chapel in Komi. Unfortunately, that didnt stopped the fighting. In the most tense moment of the fight, Saint come alive and said the Word ‘Gomi’ which means to here and went back to death. His miraculous intervention stopped all the fights, and they buried him there and changed the name of chapel to Saint Auxentios and named their village as ‘Gomi’. On the other hand Kebir added during the Ottoman era, they added kebir to Komi which means noble, great and it became Komi Kebir. When the calendar came to 1958-1959 the name changes once again to ‘Komi Kebir, Büyükkonuk’. Finally in 1999, Büyükkonuk became official as only name.
Today, Komi Kebir became an inspiring entrepreneurship story with its actions on becoming an eco-village. I found the opportunity to visit that village, with a group of young people from Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Cyprus within the winter camp organization of Maraş-der, a youth association located in the open part of Varosha. We stayed in Pine View Bungalows that is owned by the municipality. With its walking distance to village, it made possible to enjoy the great nature and also discover Büyükkonuk.
We arrived to Komi last friday afternoon with 40 friends, and left the village on Sunday afternoon. Our only wish was to stay a bit more on the way back to Famagusta. Because it was such a relaxing and fun weekend.
What we did there? What we learned about village and each other.
First of all, I highly suggest Pine view Bungalows for accomodation. The houses has choice from 1 bedroom to 3 bedroom. Its restaurant has an amazing breakfast service specially village breads were so delicious in the first hours of the morning. And guess what? Breakfast is also included to the price that you will pay for staying. The facility consists a picnic area, restaurant, bungalows, football pitch, and of course all of those are happening in an amazing natüre with non-stop songs of birds. We were lucky to go at the beginning of spring, there is no doubt that the beauty will get double in March and April. On the other hand, you can rent bicycle from the facility to discover this amazing place much quicker and in a more joyful way. In the afternoon, we visited eco-bazaar of the village where villagers were presenting their organic and locally produced products ranging from carob to olives and olive oils and many others. You can find everything that is local and traditional to Cyprus. To be honest, ı was amazed with the numbers of tourists that visited the bazaar. You can visit the bazaar everyday between 14.00-17.00.
On the other hand, eco-day festivals that is organized by Municipality twice a year became a great part of this brand of being eco-village. Thousands of Cypriots and foreigners visit village during this festival. It started approximately 7-8 years ago, and the concept of eco-day festival spread to other villages as well, but ofcourse nothing is good as its original. During this eco-day handcraft products, agricultural products, kebaps, halloumis, olives, and many others presented to guests. Concerts, folk-dance shows and walking-tours add great joy to all those variety. It offers a full-day to people coming from abroad for experiencing the village life, food and the amazing natüre. Additionally, Büyükkonuk became a member of Slow food İnternational movement, and also applied to become Slow city movement member. Each day, it is increasing its brand as a eco-village with this additional features. I am so excited to say that, there will be a ‘Mediterranean Slow Food Festival’ organized in the village this May.
As you can see, Büyükkonuk, Komi Kebir is an inspiring entrepreneurship story with its developments on being eco-village. There is no doubt that, we need more of those stories in the northern part of Cyprus to change the ongoing bad situation of economy and negative psychology of the people towards the future of the island. Only with this way, we can protect the beauties of our island and provide a better life to our own people.
Lets come back to our weekend camp. Our 40 people were consisting high-school students from Famagusta who speaks very little English and international students mostly from EMU who speaks very little Turkish. Our main aim of the whole organization was to underline the importance of diversity, the richness that comes with our differences plus exchanging some stories. In the end, people made new friends from different background, they learned some new words in a new language and gain a greater motivation to learn more of this language and discovered an amazing village and its surroundings.
At this point, I want to give an example of a happy moment for me . In our bicycle tour, I was very happy when my friend Omar said ‘ I didnt know that Cyprus has this much beauty’.
To conclude, It was a great opportunity to appreaciate the diversity we have in Cyprus and enjoy the fun that comes out of it. It was so good to be in Büyükkonuk, Komi Kebir in terms of enjoying the peace that it provides and witnessing its development as an eco-village. I invite everyone to visit this village and have a great couple of days.
“Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”