What I Saw

17 May 2024

Talking of Famagusta, Duthoit wrote the following:

Talking of Famagusta, Duthoit wrote the following:

Another sight impressed me in this town: I saw here one of the most famous brigands, Katirci Yianni. He has been a prisoner in Famagusta for the last fifteen years. He comes from Smyrna where he brought terror and desolation with a group of others like him. They attribute to him at least 15 murders amongst which the son of a Consul General of France. But he was loved by the peasants. He distributed alms out of the loot of his attacks and everywhere protected women. He was finally caught and sent to exile in chains to Cyprus. He still has a chain on his foot and attached to his belt. He can walk the area of his cell and has in front a dozen large flower pots which he takes care of. All the travellers who come to Famagusta consider it obligatory to visit the brigand. I have no time for such celebrities but I was impressed by the figure of a tired man wearing a Greek peasant traditional costume and carrying his chains. This man was Yianni watering his flowers. He stretched his hand towards me and I felt I could not refuse him some alms. He then took an enormous bouquet of basil which he gave to my dragoman in appreciation. Last Easter the Mufti had offered to let him free to spend Holy Week at Varoshia if he would give his word to return. Only Yianni refused to agree and commit himself to anything once freed.

Drawing: PNT-00568, Famagusta, Orig Avedissian, 1937

© Costas and Rita Severis Foundation

The 'What I Saw...' series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus).

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