Museum of Cypriot Ethnicity
aka Etnografya Muzesi in Taşkent
By Kathy Martin
Aynur Rigby had arranged with Levent Osman, her cousin, for a few of the Frozen Cypriots group to visit Taşkent, in Northern Cyprus, on 24th May 2016, to see the Taşçıoğlu Kültürevi (Taşçıoğlu Culture House) – Etnoğrafya Müzesi (Museum of Cypriot Ethnicity).
This is a fascinating place. Fevzi Taşçıoğlu informed me that in 1974 all the female villagers from Tochni (or Tohkni), in South Cyprus, near Zigi on the coast and between Larnaca and Limassol had moved en masse to Taşkent (Taş means “stone” and his father was a stonemason). Fevzi and his father and two older brothers were in Australia, they escaped the ensuing massacre of all the Tochni village men. A very tragic part of this island’s history.
The first thing that strikes you, as you drive into the village, is just how big the flag on the mountainside is!
There was obvious pride as Fevzi showed us around. He pointed out a stone, in the wall of his house, that had been brought with the villagers from Tochni.
The museum is divided into three main rooms covering:
1. His family history with innumerable photos on the walls
2. Various Cypriot memorabilia, including an old wind-up record player and violin
3. Family items, including his father’s magnificent leather boots.
I loved the water pump that Fevzi lovingly restored to working order – all he needs is a Cyprus Donkey!
He also has built a working Turkish Bath, aka Hamam.
The family heirloom of a beautiful maroon red velvet dress with intricate silver work is kept in the house to protect it from damp. Fevzi explained that all the females in his family from his grandmother onwards have worn this gown before the actual wedding, on the Kına (henna) night, when the bride’s and guests’ hands are decorated with henna……
For anybody interested in antiquities this is well worth a visit. I felt I could have spent far longer looking at all the fascinating objects on display.
The furniture in their house is all beautiful Cypriot wooden items e.g. a four-poster bed. Apologies for not taking a photograph! You will just have to go and see it for yourselves!
Levent served us some very tasty çay (tea drunk without milk) made with cinnamon bark and a few cloves. Also, she adds one English tea bag to the pot for four mugs to give it the glorious amber colour! She told us, with a certain amount of well-deserved pride, that everyone who has tasted it has said how much they enjoyed it. My friends and family know that I am not a lover of English tea, but çay is very refeshing!
Please call Fevzi (0533 861 2982) when you are planning a visit, so you can arrange a time with him, as he will have to be there to show you around.
There is no fee but there is a donation box for the upkeep & security of the museum. They have installed a camera& alarm system because they are not always around!
Directions: You can approach via the Lefkosa/Nicosia, Famagusta main road Haspolat roundabout where the new giant Hala Sultan mosque is being built – Taşkent is signposted from there. Five minutes up the road past UKU University, signposted again – when you get to Taşkent, the museum (Taşçıoğlu ETNOGRAFYA is the sign on the wall) is two minutes along on the main road to Taşkent. The museum is on the right, just before you reach the crossroads.
Or…. coming from Girne/Kyrenia drive towards Bogaz – turn left at the sign to DIKMEN, past the soldiers’ memorial & army barracks and straight through the village of Dikmen –
after Dikmen, Taşkent is signposted again. Slightly bearing left then you will be parallel to the huge flag, which you follow to the end to a T-junction – then it’s left into the village, all the way up, till the first road you reach, on the right is the Taşçıoğlu ETNOGRAFYA Müzesi aka Museum of Cypriot Ethnicity.
Enjoy your visit!