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 the fourth century. After seeing Virgin Mary in his dream, he decided to move to a cave and Spent rest of his life for worshiping God. When he got 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 in a car with one cow from each village, and they agreed to bury the body at the point where cows stop. After a long walk of cows, they stopped next to AyaMavra Chapel in Komi. Unfortunately, that did not stop the fighting. In the most tense moment of the fight, Saint comes 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 the 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 pointed out 1958-1959 the name changes once again to ‘Komi Kebir, Büyükkonuk’. Finally, in 1999, Büyükkonuk officially became the only name.
Today, Komi Kebir became an inspiring entrepreneurship story with its actions on becoming an eco-village. We 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 at 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 funny weekend.
First of all, we stayed at bungalows for accommodation that also serves an amazing, traditional breakfast. Especially loaves of village bread were so delicious in the first hours of the morning. The facility also consists a picnic area, restaurant, bungalows, football pitch, and of course, all of those are happening in an amazing nature 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 doubled up in March and April. On the other hand, you can rent a 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, I was amazed by the numbers of tourists that visited the bazaar. You can visit the bazaar every day between 14.00-17.00.
On the other hand, Eco-day festival 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 of course, 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 varieties. It offers a full-day to people coming from abroad for experiencing the village life, food and the amazing nature. Additionally, Büyükkonuk became a member of Slow Food International Movement, and also applied to become Slow City Movement. Each day, it is being increased its brand as an eco-village with these 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 the 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.
Let's come back to our weekend camp. Our 40 people were consisting of 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 backgrounds, 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 did not know that Cyprus has this much beauty’.
To conclude, it was a great opportunity to appreciate 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.