Akincilar is a small village on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

It has lived through the turbulent, modern history of Cyprus, including the island's civil war in the 1960s and its division in the 1970s when Turkish Cypriots moved north, and Greek Cypriots moved south.

The politics of Cyprus remains complex and contentious.

Akincilar, like many rural communities the world over, has experienced the outflow of young people seeking opportunities in big cities.

But Akincilar's decline from a bustling town of 5,000 to a village of 350, almost frozen in time, has more to do with its geographical location, the division of Cyprus, and the island's complex history.

Our people struggled and fought for our village and then deserted it. It’s painful.

Sultan Barbaros, mayor of Akincilar

This film explores Akincilar's past and present through the eyes of three residents.

Mustafa Garip, born in 1935, fought in the conflict between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the 1960s. The farmer loves his land and vows never to leave it.

Sultan Barbaros, the mayor of Akincilar, was born in 1958 when the village was called Luricina and was only a child during the conflict. Now, as Akincilar's mayor, she is committed to helping its elderly residents and is organising a music event to bring the community together and "brighten up our village".

And then there is Serife Vural, a student who was born in 1995 when "people had already left the village". Vural is eager to leave her place of birth and aspires to study law in the UK.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960 and the Greek Cypriot leader Archbishop Makarios was elected president. The constitution enabled the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities to share power. Three years later, however, Makarios proposed constitutional changes, which threatened the power-sharing agreement and violence erupted between the two sides.

Many Turkish Cypriots in the southern part of the island felt insecure and moved northwards in numbers. They sought refuge in the area around Akincilar, whose residents offered them help and places to stay.

Barbaros, whose recollections from this period come from her mother, says Luricina became known as "Akincilar," taking its name, she says, from the "Turkish word for 'raiders' as they were brave and swift."

Garip, the farmer, took up arms in 1963 and headed for the hills. "Lefka, Limassol and Catoz all fell. Only our village, Luricina, remained," he says. "Our old men were tough. It wasn't easy to stand up to a Luricinian 60 years ago."

In the 1960s and 1970s Turkish Cypriots from nine villages sought refuge in Akincilar. The influx of people enlivened the village.

"Civil servants, workers and craftsmen; you'd find everything in the village," recalls Garip. "Back then, the village's two cinemas, eight restaurants and public gardens were always filled with people, says Barbaros.

In 1974, the military government ruling Greece decided to overthrow Makarios in Cyprus. He escaped; but five days later, Turkish troops arrived in the north and Greek Cypriots fled to the south. Later that year, the island was divided between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot territory, separated by a buffer zone, a "green line".

That was the year that "life stopped" in Akincilar, says Barbaros. "The connection with the south was cut. The road to the Turkish Cypriot side was not developed. Villagers began to leave here, over time."

Today, only Turkey recognises the Turkish Cypriot area of northern Cyprus as a separate country.

The Village That's Dying tells the story of the village of Akincilar and the feelings about its decline from three residents born in different eras.

Source: Al Jazeera