Agios Dometios (Άγιος Δομέτιος or Άης Δεμέτης) ,Metehan in Turkish, is a suburb located west of the Cypriot capital Nicosia. It has a population of around 12,100 (2001 census) making it one of South Cyprus' biggest municipalities.
Since 2003 and the opening of the border, Ayios Dhometios (Metehan) is the site of the islands most important checkpoint between the Southern and Northern Cyprus, through which thousands of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots pass over the line every day.
Ayios Dhometios, Metehan in Turkish, has existed since ancient times as a small village, located 4 kilometres west of Nicosia. Mention of Ayios Dhometios comes from as early as the Franks era. The town is named after Saint Dhometios who originated from Persia in the 4th century AD and who became Christian later in his life. He lived in a cave in Mesopotamia and converted many people into Christianity. Roman Emperor Ioulianos accused Dometios of tricking people, so Dometios answered the Emperor that all of these harmless people visit him freely and he can't just send them away. Ioulianos felt offended by his answer and ordered his death. Dometios was stoned to death at 362 AD. The church of Ayios Dhometios was built in the 17th century and is dedicated to the Saint. It's built on a small hill and is one of the town's main attractions.
The parish of Ayios Pavlos is located around the church of Saint Paul. The Ayios Dhometios junior high school is also located in Ayios Pavlos.
Ayios Dhometios (Metehan) has been a municipality since 1986 and the mayor is elected directly by the people during the general elections of the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus that take place every five years. The elections of December 17th of 2006 saw mayor Dr. Andreas Hadjiloizou get re-elected into office. He was elected into office in 1996 and re-elected in 2001.
Ayios Dhometios (Metehan) checkpoint
The opening of the borders
between the Greek controlled Southern Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in April 2003 set up debate about opening some additional checkpoints
both for cars and on foot along the Green Line. One of the areas selected was the end of Democratias avenue
in Ayios Dhometios. Finally, an agreement was reached and in late April 2004 both sides started separate works building a road and placing control buildings. On May 23, 2004
the checkpoint was given to the public, and on the first day thousands of Greek and TurkishCypriots
, on both sides passed through the check point. Since then, Ayios Dhometios (Metehan) has become the main passing point for vehicles, with thousands of Greek and Turkish Cypriots passing through every day.
Ayios Dhometios is currently home of three Christian-Orthodox
churches. The Ayios (Saint) Dhometios church is the oldest of the three and is built on a hill overlooking the old part of town. A truly spectacular sight, the church of Saint Dometios is a must view.
The Saint George church is located on Gregoris Afxentiou Avenue
and is Ayios Dhometios' main church. It's dedicated to Saint George who according to the legend slaughtered a dragon with a spear.
The third church of the town is Saint Paul's church and is the newest of the three. It was built in the '90s to replace the ageing church situated next to it which is dedicated to the same saint.
Institute of Neurology and Genetics
The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics
is also located in Ayios Dhometios on the Colocassides roundabout.
Coca Cola factory
The islands Coca Cola
factory is located in Ayios Dhometios, on the edge of the Engomi industrial area. Lanitis juices and milk products are also produced in the factories compound.
Ayios Dhometios has four parks
. The Missing in Action park, which is dedicated to the Ayios Dhometios residents that went missing during the Turkish Invasion and are still MIA and is located opposite the Coca Cola factory, the Ayios Dhometios park which is located near the checkpoint into the occupied area, the Ayios Pavlos park which is near the Junior High and the newest built park which is dedicated to the National Guard, and is also near the Junior High.
Ayios Dhometios has three elementary schools and one junior high school. The 1st elementary, located opposite the Saint Dhometios church, is the oldest and was build during the British rule of the island. Prior to the invasion, a fourth elementary school existed and shared building facilities with the junior high school. A new building for the junior high was being built and was ready in June 1974, but the Turkish troops took control of the new building a month later.
Ayios Dhometios has a long tradition in sporting events
. Some of the countries best athletes originate from the towns many sporting clubs. George Anastasiades
, current captain of the National Basketball Team
; Christos Stylianides
, all time legend of Cyprus basketball
and Yiannos Ioannou
, former captain of the National Football Team
all come from Ayios Dhometios. Dometia and Maria Ioannou, the country's two best female Badminton athletes also live in Ayios Dhometios.
ENAD Ayios Dhometios
(Ε.Ν.Α.Δ = Ένωσις Νέων Αγίου Δομετίου) was created in 1937 and is one of Cyprus' best Basketball
clubs. They have won two Cyprus championships (1969, 1990) and one Cyprus cup (1987) while the team also used to maintain a football
team and a volleyball
team. ENAD decided to focus on basketball so they suspended all other activities. During the 2005-06 basketball season, ENAD finished second in the regular season, in their best run in the last ten years, but were eliminated by champions AEL
in the semi-finals. Cypriot international Andreas Pilavas
is a member of the ENAD roster while Cyprus basketball legend Christos Stylianides is head coach of the team. The teams' club house is located on Gregoris Afxentiou Avenue.
Mavrommatis Ayios Pavlos
and table tennis
club, Mavrommatis has a good appearance in those above sports. One of Cyprus' best teams in table tennis, Mavrommatis also gained promotion to the Cyprus Handball top division after a great presence in the second division of the 2004-05 season. During the 2005-06 season Mavrommatis played great handball and managed to stay in the top division, although many tipped them for relegation.
EAS Ayios Dhometios
Cyprus' major sport is football and Ayios Dhometios has a team in that sport also. EAS plays in the amateur ranks of the Nicosia league and almost won promotion to the Cyprus fourth division a few seasons back but failed in the play-offs. EAS also maintains an indoor football
team that plays in Cyprus' third division but is tipped for promotion in the 2006-07 season. EAS' cycling team is also one of the countries elite.
Ayios Dhometios has two main stadiums
in which the municipality's teams compete. The football stadium is located next to the 1st elementary and seats 1000 fans. It's a gravel pitch and is not in very good condition.
The Basketball arena or Municipal stadium
is located in the western most part of the town, near the 3rd elementary school. It seats 1500 fans but the record is 4000 fans during the 1990 basketball finals were ENAD won the championship. It recently went through a facelift with the addition of a modern wooden parquet floor. It's home court for ENAD basketball, Mavrommatis handball and EAS Indoor football teams.
Olympic torch relay
The 2004 Athens Olympics
chose Cyprus as one of the torch
destinations during its world wide tour. As a matter of fact, Cyprus was the last stop before the torch returned to Greece
and the only country that the torch remained in for more than one day. On July 8 2004 the torch came to Ayios Dhometios and a total of 5 runners, carried it through the town.
Betting in Ayios Dhometios
Horseracing was revived in Cyprus, Ayios Dhometios from the end of the 19th century. However, the tradition of the sport in this country, as evidenced by archaeological findings existing in the Cyprus Museum, is lost in the depth of the Hellenistic period, where we come across horseracing descriptions by Homer and other ancient authors. Horseracing in those days was actually a "sport of kings" who participated in them. When Kings of ancient Salamis of Cyprus died, their horses were buried with them. Horse racing is for the first time entered in the Olympic Games in the 7th century b.c.
Ayios Dhometios is dubbed by many as Cyprus betting capital. The presence of the islands Horse Race Track in the municipality brings hefty revenue to the town but also attracts thousands of horse enthusiasts and gamblers during the races. Due to the presence of the Race Track, tens of betting parlours exist around the town.
Ayios Dhometios is a twinned city to Agios Nikolaos of Crete and Korydallos of Athens.