Heidi Trautmann

889 : Book Launch ‘A Bell in Bellapais’ – John Guthrie - at the Bestseller Bookstore in Karakum

By Heidi Trautmann


A Bell in Bellapais – Echoes from a Cyprus Village - written by John Guthrie in 1985; an homage to the villagers of Bellapais from the early 1950s to 1974 and to its eternal and unique values with its history written all over the place – still today.


Deirdre, daughter of John and Vivian, one day showed one of her father’s manuscripts to friends and they decided to print the story, the story of the Gardens of Irini and the story of Bellapais.

In those early days when the Guthries started to build their house, the bells of Bellapais church were still heard, pealing, chiming and tolling, depending on happy or unhappy days, on the occasions of holy fests, like Easter, weddings or burials. They were the first foreign residents in this remote Greek Cypriot village. They all minded their business, tending their gardens and fields, their animals and after work they met in the main square under the tree of Idleness. They soon made friends with the villagers and lived among them, Vivian painting and John composing songs which had been their dream after retiring from their medical profession.

The story takes us through those 25 years, from a calm village life with its daily routine and small events, life right through the conflict years. John makes us meet the important village personalities, one by one, who took care of their people and also of the newcomers, obviously the first foreign ones, and it was the first house ever sold in the village. Later other foreigners followed, the most famous, the writer Lawrence Durrell, became their neighbour.


This book introduces us to the daily life of a Cypriot village until the days after the coup by the extremists when the Turkish army came to the rescue of Turkish Cypriots. He describes the days of worry but also mentions the discipline of the Turkish army. He takes no sides politically, just records the events. No one is hurt during the takeover of the village and it ends with the moving in of a complete new village population, refugees from a village in the South of the island, brought by lorries with their belongings to live in Bellapais now.

John wrote this book in 1985 when life more or less had returned to normal. It is a story many of the long-time residents will love to read because it reminds them of a different era in Cyprus.

Here two links to get an idea of today’s Gardens of Irini, where Deirdre still lives and finds the peaceful atmosphere her parents have created.




The book is available at Bestsellers Bookstore in Karakum and Amazon UK

ISBN: 978-3-981-82129-9

Published by MBW Publishing Enterprises, Munich, Germany

Printed in Berlin Charlottenburg

Cover, design and typeset by Jay Wadams, Editor





Deirdre Guthrie signing her father
Deirdre Guthrie signing her father's book

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