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Morphou (in Greek Μόρφου , in Turkish Omorfo (pre 1974) or Güzelyurt post 1974) is a market town in the north-west of Cyprus. Morphou was founded by Spartans who brought with them the worship of Aphrodite. In the Middle Ages, the city was referred to as Morphou but also Theomorphou. The Morphou area grew more than half of Cyprus citrus fruits.

It contains one of the many churches in the country dedicated to St. Mamas, popularly believed to have lived as a hermit in a cave near Morfou. According to local legend, he was a hermit living in very poor circumstances and when the authorities tried to tax him, he evaded them. Soldiers were sent out and captured him but on the way back to town, he saw a lion attacking a lamb, escaped the soldiers, saved the lamb, jumped on the lion's back and in that way came to town. His bravery earned him exemption from tax, hence his traditional attribute.

Morphou was an almost entirely Greek Cypriot community. According to the 1960 population census it was inhabited by 6480 Greeks Cypriots, 123 Turkish Cypriots and 32 Maronites.

Morphou was attacked and taken over by the Turkish military during the invasion of the island by Turkey in 1974. As a result the whole of its Greek Cypriot population was forced to leave their homes and properties and flee to the areas under the control of the forces of the Republic of Cyprus. Since then, the Turkish occupation force and the illegal occupation authority have been prohibiting their return. Instead, the have resettled the are with Turkish Cypriots as well as thousands of Turkish settlers illegally brought in from the Turkish mainland.

Morphou Bay as seen from Evrychou, Photo : Augusta Stylianou Artist

The church is an icon museum now.

See also

Chrysiliou (Χρυσηλιού)

Images Cyprus, Nicosia District

Districts of Cyprus

Ancient Greece

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Modern Greece

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