History – Geography
Surrounded by towering oaks and thick terebinth, our village is located amidst dense forestry, with crystal clear waters running everywhere. Nature and man – as opposed to today – have maintained friendly – almost kinship – relationships. Every place in Chloraka, every span of its land is married with its own history. Scattered, the churches of the village, constituting the second house of each villager, are also crowned with their own history. The people in the past had a different relationship with the Divine than we do today. They were purer, chastely seeing the Saints. They loved them, they did many things, while they did not afraid to scold them sometimes, when something went wrong.
The Chloraka residents were, however, not only believers but also patriots. In every call of the homeland they made willingly their appearance. Residents of Chloraka participated in the Balkan Wars and later in the World War II. Also, the events of Chloraka were of the first importance to launch the Struggle of EOKA (National Organization of Cypriot Fighters). The historic ship “Agios Georgios”, which is parked in a special depot, fills every inhabitant of the village with feelings of national pride and constitutes for us all a perennial symbol of struggle. Yet the radiant beacon for all of us are the five lads killed in 1974.
The hard work and diligence of the inhabitants of this place has been always a characteristic feature. All sorts of popular professions were exercised by the Chloraka residents. Everyone in his own way and with his true sweat tried to make his life better and at the same time to contribute to the development of the place. As I was writing about the professions of Chloraka residents, I remembered what Kazantzakis wrote somewhere: “… then the people did not merge in the same mold with the dozen, but each one was a separate world.”
Today, our village is still a beautiful place, but so far it is not as it was in the past. The picturesque beaches are gradually being covered with concrete. Hotels and apartments have been growing incessantly in recent years. And there, where you were thinking that everything in this place was subjected to a simple and balanced rhythm, that everything had its grace and noble beauty, the avarice armed our hands, and we started, without knowing it, to spoil and taint the surroundings. Beneath each stone, behind every handful of soil, the sweat of the old ones is hidden. Nothing happened on its own. Whatever we inherited is a condensate of moil and toil. Whatever more is going to be bequeathed to our children will be molded again by the sweat of our ancestors. The minimum gratitude we can show to them is to respect and cease to knock the land we inherited. Moreover, this land which was granted to us by the elders, is not exclusively ours, but we have borrowed a little from of our children.
Prologue from the book of Christos M. Mavresi “Χλώρακα,Ιστορική και λαογραφική μελέτη“
- Geographical position:
The village of Chloraka is located in the coastal plain of Paphos, three kilometers northwest of the city of Paphos, at an average altitude of 70m. To the northwest it borders with Lemba village, to the southeast – with the city of Paphos, and to the northeast – with the village of Emba.
- Geological aspect:
There is a significant diversity of soils in terms of origin, color and depth. Silting of terraces dominates. On the rocks developed alluvial soils, terra Rosa (Red Soil) and crusty soils. Most of these soils are heavy, with a clay content of around 35-45%, and also contain several coarse materials, and are sufficiently calcareous, with calcium carbonate content of 30 to 50%. Depending on the degree of evolution and the calcium carbonate content, the soil takes its color. The lands of Chloraka proved to be quite suitable for greenhouses, as well as also for growing bananas, the citrus and other plants.
The Chloraka receives an average annual rainfall of around 420 millimeters.
It has the characteristic climate of the eastern Mediterranean type, featured mainly by hot rainless summer and rainy, though mild winter.
The Chloraka was one of the first villages in Cyprus, where the reforestation had been initiated. The reforestation project completed in 1974 was implemented on the area of 195 hectares of lands, which was irrigated from the Mavrokolymbos dam. After connecting the Mavrokolymbos with the irrigation project of Paphos, the area of Chloraka started essentially to be irrigated by this project. According to the agriculture census, that took place in 1985, 101 hectares of lands were irrigated in Chloraka.
Ετυμολογία του ονόματος Χλώρακα:
Elderly villagers told us that the old Chloraka was built on the site where the chapel of Archangel Michael is now located, and then it was known as Praskiouros, because it had so much greenery, so as from afar looked like a green tail (Prasinos Uros – Praskiouros). Others said that the place was known as Prastion(contraction c + a = a and synizesis, i.e. open transition of diphthong ιο), , because it was a suburb of Paphos. .. They also reported that the village changed its name to Chloraka after the Venetian (Frankish) epoch, when some landlord named Chlorakas, rented the farmlands to our villagers. However, there is no any written testimony found to substantiate the above.
In writing, the masculine name of Chlorakas prevails, while speaking, it comes to be Chloraka (feminine gender). Anyhow, in the first contemporary map of Cyprus in Greek language, which is included in the book of Athanasios Sakellarios, About the Cyprus, namely Geography, History and language of the island of Cyprus from ancient times until today, vol. A’, Athens 1980, our village is listed as Chloraka. In 1881, the British government commissioned a mapping of the island to Herbert Horatio Kitchener, Lieutenant of the Royal Engineers of the British Empire, who wrote our village down as Khlorakas and in brackets as Florakas.
Some scholars insist that our village got this name because of the greenery, grass, that had the village and that the village’s name Chloraka was originated from the word “chloros” (“green”).
The word “green” is etymologically related to the word “grass”. At this point we have to mention that on the maps of the 16th century Chloraka was named as Clerica, Clerisca and Cleriea. Thereafter, the village used to be marked on maps with different variations of the name, such as: Holorka, Elorakas, Kalorka, khloraga, Chloraca, Phylraka, etc.
Some scholars do not agree with the above etymology, which they regard as popular etymology, or folk etymology. They insist that if the village was named due the fact that it was constantly green, full of greenery, it won’t have been named as Chloraka, but Gloraka because the Cypriots pronounce the word “chloro” as “gloro”. For instance, a Christian is pronounced as gristianos, chronos- gronos, etc.
Other researchers have proposed also the name of Floraka. As it is well known, in the Cypriot dialect, “f” alternates with “ch”. For instance, chono-fono, fori – chori, xoni – foni, etc. We must also bear in mind that in Latin language Flora is the goddess of flowers and spring, hence the international botanical term of flora = chlora. Also, flos-floris in Latin means “flower”, where the English word “flower” derived from, as well as the French “fleur”. That is, the name «Florakas» related with flowered, evergreen, green landscape. Moreover, many geographical names of the village are related with the plants, such as: Rodafinia, Ormania, Palloura, Tzeinogrys, Livadkia, etc.
Until today, no one can ever find the proven etymology of the name of our village. In the future, probably, linguistic, historical and archaeological investigations would be able to discern etymology of the name.