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Prastio : Historical Review
Administratively part of the province of Limassol and ecclesiastically part of Iera Mitropoli of Paphos, Prasteio is situated 40 kilometres west of the city of Limassol and 45 kilometres from Paphos. As a result of its proximity to the village of Avdimou, it is known as Prasteio (Avdimou). From the south, one can see the coastal regions of Cyprus, while from the north, one can see the mountainous regions.

The village is located 380 metres above sea level. Due to the village’s soil composition, seasonal vegetation, grains, several carob trees, and olives were cultivated. Today, the inhabitants’ activities have diminished significantly, but Prasteio remains an agricultural region. From a social standpoint, the village is connected to Pachna, which is only 6 kilometres away, and Avdimou, which is 5 kilometres away, to the north and southwest, respectively. The settlement is connected to the Limassol-Paphos highway via Avdimou.

Alektora and Agios Ambrosios are also nearby communities to Prasteio. Prior to 1975, Prasteio was one of the mixed villages of Cyprus, inhabited by Greek Cypriots (Christians) and a minor number of Turkish Cypriots (Muslims). After the 16th century, during the dark years of Turkish rule that officially commenced in 1571, Muslims begin to reside in Cyprus, particularly in the mixed villages. Since then, the Turkish conquerors have colonised many regions of Cyprus. In addition to the foreign Muslims who migrated to Cyprus, there are cases of the island’s native Latins who, in order to save their lives after 1571, collectively converted to Islam and collaborated with the Ottomans.

The phenomenon of Islamization continued until the 19th century. This resulted in many villages in Cyprus being considered purely Muslim villages and many others as mixed, that is, Christians and Muslims live in them, many of whom were converted Christians.

One of these mixed villages was Prasteio (Avdimou) until 1974, along with other known neighbouring villages that were also mixed until 1975, years in which the wholesale transfer of Turkish Cypriots from all over Cyprus to Turkish-occupied troops in Greek Cypriot areas of the island.

In 1982, there were 249 fewer residents of Prasteio Avdimou, who were all Greek Cypriots, than there were in 1976. In the 2001 census, there were only 233 residents. The village now has more than 270 permanent residents. There are English nationals among them. Nonetheless, the village is revitalised during the major Christian festivals, such as Easter, Christmas, and the 15th of August, as well as during the summer months, when many emigrants and friends of the community return to spend a few carefree moments away from the bustle of the city. This is largely due to the village’s infrastructure and the incentives provided to young people to remain in their community.
The evolution of Prasteio Avdimou’s moniker and path

According to Nearchos Clerides’s Villages and States of Cyprus, the village’s name derives from the Greek word proasteion. Byzantines frequently employed the term preasteion, which was derived from the word proasteion. From this word, it appears that the Cypriots later formed the word praskeion or prasteio, which was attributed to small settlements of Cyprus that were located near cities (asty), although this is not entirely accurate, as the majority of known villages with the name Prasteio are not located near cities. This issue can only be explained by the proximity of these villages to significant agricultural centres, such as Avdimou, Kolossi, Koilani, etc.

Of course, there is also an opposing viewpoint, which holds that the name Prasteio derives from the minor settlements that existed in various regions of Cyprus, not necessarily in close proximity to the major cities. This name was widely used during the Middle Ages, when minor settlements were referred to as “prastia” in the sense of small agricultural settlements located near larger settlements to which they belonged.

The Turks called this place Yuvali, which means “nest”, without knowing the reason. Very likely this village was not visible from afar and was built like a small nest, which is not easily seen. If we pay attention to the other well-known village of the same name located in the east of Limassol, Prasteio Kellakiou, we will find that it is “hidden” in an area that has visibility towards the coast of Limassol, but is not easily seen. In this sense it matches the Turkish name, without this being absolute.

According to some academics, the name Prasteio derives from the mediaeval French word prasti, which means “field.” In other terms, it was a toponym for a group of farms belonging to a few manors. The remaining four homonymous municipalities of Cyprus share the same name; their origins date back to the Middle Ages, with Prasteio Mesaoria or Sigouri being the most significant and well-known.

Prasteio Avdimou is depicted on old maps as prastio and prasmo. The village is also mentioned by the 15th-century Cypriot chronicler Leontios Mahairas, who refers to it as Prasteio of Avdimou, a place where the Mamluks arrived in 1426. Mahairas may refer to the village of the same name in Paphos, which was located south of the village Avdimou on another stretch of coastline. From this location, the Mamluks advanced towards the island’s centre, plundering and destroying everything in their path. These data demonstrate that the region of Avdimou would have contained multiple villages named Prasteio at that time.