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Untitled - Cyprus Tourism Organisation

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					                                                              Short
                                            intro
    This guidebook has been designed to provide visitors with an extensive
insight into the delightful world of rural Cyprus. This is a world apart from
      the beaches and tourist hotspots. Here, timeless villages, tiny remote
     painted churches, stunning scenery, forested mountain trails and a way
     of life that has hardly changed over the past centuries, are just waiting
                                                             to be discovered.

   The first part of this book provides general information on rural Cyprus,
its history, traditions, cultures, flora and fauna, places of interest and more.

 The second half of the book, details 15 recommended driving excursions.
          All of the routes can be accomplished easily within a day’s drive
                   in a regular car, yet all have something different to offer.
The routes highlight points-of-interest along the way and all start and finish
      on one of the main roads. These routes are also ideal for organised
                                                 group tours with small buses.

       The routes include places to stop for walking, cycling, bird watching,
                   fresh-water fishing or to simply explore the countryside
               and charming villages. All that’s needed is a good road map,
                  a sunhat, plenty of water, comfortable walking shoes and
                                                       a spirit of adventure.

        NOTE: The spellings of all place-names conform to those indicated
         on the road signs. However, in some cases, these may vary from
                                           those shown on your road map.
Contents
Useful Information                               3
Welcome to Rural Cyprus                          4
Natural Environment                              8
Cultural Heritage                                12
Rural Crafts and Skills                          18
Food and Wine                                    22
Rural Accommodation                              28
Countryside Activities                           32
Religious and Local Customs and Celebrations     38
The Rural Year in Cyprus                         44
Route 1 – The Southeast Area                     52
(Kokkinochoria – Red Soil Villages)
Route 2 – The Central Plain                      60
Route 3 – Larnaka West Coast                     64
Route 4 – Lefkara Area                           70
Route 5 – Machairas and the Southwest            76
Route 6 – Lemesos (Limassol) Forest              82
Route 7 – Lemesos (Limassol) West Coast          86
Route 8 – The Wine Villages                      92
Route 9 – Troodos and the Solea Valley           98
Route 10 – Troodos and the Marathasa Valley      104
Route 11 – The Pitsilia and Southwest Mesaoria   110
Route 12 – The Pafos Valleys                     116
Route 13 – Pafos and the Akamas                  120
Route 14 – Polis, Kato Pyrgos and Kykkos         126
Route 15 – Pafos Forest                          132
          Useful
info                                  Remember the country code
       ñ Avoid the temptation to pick wildflowers and take a photograph instead.
 This way you protect the plant and still have an enduring reminder of its beauty.
                             ñ Avoid disturbing natural habitats and nesting birds.
                                                      ñ Take your litter with you.
                            ñ Do not light fires, except at designated picnic sites,
                     Always be particularly careful about extinguishing cigarettes.

                                                               Learn Greek:
           English is widely spoken in Cyprus. However, it is always an advantage
             to know a few key words of Greek – you may find them very useful
                                   and you will certainly impress the local people.
                    Hello & goodbye:                 YIASSOU (plural is YIASSAS)
                               Please:                               PARAKALO
                          Thank you:                                EFKHARISTO
                                  Yes:                                        NAI
                                  No:                                       OCHI
                                Road:                                   DROMOS
                                  Left:                                ARISTERA
                                Right:                                    DHEXIA
                          Straight on:                                      ISHIA
                           Where is?                                     POU INE
                  Up (over or above):                                      PANO
               Down (below or lower):                                      KATO
                               Slowly:                                 SIGA-SIGA
                               Today:                                     SIMERA
                          Tomorrow:                                        AVRIO
                               Water:                                      NERO
                                  Car:                             AFTOKINITO
                               Petrol:                     BEZINA (local dialect)
                            Mechanic:                              MICHANIKOS
                          Telephone:                                  TILEFONO
                              Doctor:                                   YIATROS
                               Police:                              ASTYNOMIA
                           Pharmacy:                                  FARMAKIO
                       Cyprus Coffee:      KAFE - gliko (sweet), metrio (medium),
                                                                 sketo (no sugar).

                                                                Dress Code:
               Always dress respectfully when visiting churches and monasteries.
    welcome to              Rural
        Cyprus
        Cyprus enjoys an enviable worldwide reputation
                     as a sun and sea holiday destination,
                with year-round sunshine, blue skies and
          warm waters. However, this fascinating island
        has much more to offer. Away from the tourist
            areas, the Cyprus countryside has a diverse
               wealth of its own with traditional villages,
             vineyards and wineries, tiny fresco-painted
                            churches, remote monasteries
                                     and cool shady forests.
                          This is a nature-lovers paradise,
                  where you can walk for hours without
                seeing another living soul. In springtime,
                    fields of flowers stretch as far as the
                          eye can see, and a ramble along
                    a mountain path will suddenly reveal
                          a tiny chapel or a Venetian-built
                     bridge that once formed part of the
                          route of an ancient camel train.
                         Around every corner is another
                               surprise; a magnificent view;
                  a rare sighting of the Cyprus moufflon
                               as it scampers up an almost
                   vertical slope; or a chance encounter
              with someone who will surprise you with
             his or her knowledge of your language and
              an invitation to join the family for a coffee
                                            or refreshment.




4
The island of Cyprus may be small but it has
literally hundreds of villages, many of which are
no more that a handful of houses clustered
around a church, and a coffee-shop that also
serves as the village store, post office and
general meeting place. In the more remote parts
of the island, these villages have remained
virtually unchanged and although motorised
transport has made them more accessible,
their older inhabitants still cling to the
traditional lifestyle which basically revolves
around the seasons of planting and harvesting.




For some of these people, the donkey is still the
preferred mode of transport and these faithful
animals can still be seen making their way home
from the fields, laden with firewood or green
forage for the family goats.
Even in the larger villages, traditional values are
still very much in evidence. Here, maybe the
village shepherd carries a mobile phone and the
farmer drives to his fields in a double-cabin
pick-up truck but this is merely a sign of the
times – a veneer that, when scratched, will
expose the true character of the village people -
family-orientated, warm-hearted, friendly
and unbelievably hospitable.




                                                      5
    The main activity in rural Cyprus is arable     Autumn is also the time to harvest the
    and livestock farming. What is grown            olives. As in most other Mediterranean
    where depends on the area, the terrain and      countries, the olive plays a significant role
    the climate. But the island’s range of          in the lives of the people. Every part of the
    produce is amazing. Just about anything will    tree is important: the deadwood is used to
    grow here, from tropical fruits such as         stoke the winter stoves; the fruit is either
    mangoes, kiwis and bananas to produce           preserved in brine, or crushed for its
    more associated with that from northern         precious oil. Even the leaves are dried,
    climates. On the island’s south facing          blessed and burnt as aromatic incense
    slopes, especially in the western part of the   during church services. Olive trees grow
                                                    all over the island, except high up in the
                                                    mountains, where they are unable to
                                                    survive the harsher winters.

                                                    Almost all villagers in the remote areas
                                                    own at least a small plot of land on which
                                                    they grow their own vegetables, such as
                                                    tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and
                                                    aubergines, as well as pulse vegetables that
                                                    can be dried and stored for the winter
                                                    months. They raise chickens for eggs and
                                                    meat, and many also keep a few goats,
                                                    which provide them with enough milk to
                                                    make their own yoghourt and cheeses,
                                                    including Cyprus’ famous Halloumi cheese.

                                                    Sea fishing is also an important rural
                                                    activity and fishing shelters are dotted
                                                    around the coast. Visit them early in the
                                                    morning, to watch the fishermen bring
                                                    in the catch of the day.
    island, are the vineyards. Cyprus is famous     Mining the island’s rich mineral deposits
    for its fine wines and a visit to one of the    of copper, asbestos, chromium, pyrites and
    many wineries is a great way to spend
                                                    umber used to be a lucrative part of the
    a day. The grapes are harvested during          rural economy but its importance has
    autumn, when entire families, from              declined as the mines gradually become
    grandparents to the youngest toddlers,          worked out.
    work together in their vineyards to bring
    in the crop.



6
Away from the cultivated land, there is an      The Cyprus hinterland is a great place for
abundant ecosystem of flora and fauna with      botanists, artists, bird watchers, hikers,
many endemic species. In spring,                ramblers, anglers, cyclists, photographers
the island is carpeted with wild flowers        and geologists.
and orchids. Cyprus is on one of the
                                                The greatest wealth of any country is its
north-south migratory paths and during
                                                people and whatever your interest or
spring and autumn millions of birds either
                                                wherever you travel in Cyprus you can
over-fly the island or break their long
                                                always be sure of receiving the warmest
journey here. During winter, the Larnaka
                                                of welcomes.
and Akrotiri salt lakes are an extraordinary




sight with thousands of pink flamingos
wading in the shallow waters.
The moufflon, an indigenous wild sheep,
roams the forested slopes of the Troodos
range, and both Green and Loggerhead
turtles breed on the island’s more secluded
beaches. The cultural landscape of the rural
areas is rich and varied, with archaeological
sites, monasteries, museums and churches,
while traditional crafts such as basket-
making, pottery, weaving, wood carving,
and lace-making are still maintained
in many villages.




                                                                                             7
         natural
    Environment
                                               Geology
      The island of Cyprus was formed around seventy
                million years ago by the collision of the
                 Euro-asian and African tectonic plates.

         By the Lower Miocene era, some twenty-five
        million years ago, the Troodos mountain range
         was an island and the Mesaoria (central plain)
             and Pantadactylos range to the north were
             submerged under the sea (evidence of this
        can be found in several areas, where fossilised
                             seashells can be clearly seen
                                 embedded in the rocks).
                    The Pentadactylos Mountains began
                     to emerge eleven million years ago
                          at the end of the Miocene era,
                       but the Mesaoria appeared much
                       later, during the Pleistocene Age,
                                       a million years ago.
                              Today, the Troodos massif,
                           a bulky range with the 1951m
                Mount Olympus (Chionistra) at its peak,
                       dominates the south of the island.
             It consists of igneous rock and pillow lavas
           originally formed from molten rock beneath
      the 8,000-metre deep ocean that once separated
              the continents of Eurasia and Afro-Arabia.
               Its serpentine rocks contain rich deposits




8
of copper, asbestos, chromites and iron pyrites.
Troodos provides a unique opportunity for
anyone interested in geology, because it is one
of the rare places in the world where you can
actually stand on the earth’s mantle.
The Pentadactylos range, which runs parallel
to the northern coastline, is the east
Mediterranean’s southernmost range of the
great Alpine-Himalaya chain. It consists of thrust
masses of limestone of the Permian,
Carboniferous and Cretaceous periods,
with marl, sandstone and conglomerates




from the Miocene era on the lower slopes.
The Mesaoria, between the two mountain
ranges, stretches from Morfou in the west
to Ammochostos (Famagusta) in the east,
with the capital, Lefkosia (Nicosia), lying more
or less in the middle. This central plain is mainly
marl and shell-limestone, while in the eastern
foothills of the Troodos range, chalk, limestone
and gypsum are common.

Natural features
The rock formations have played a significant
role in the development of the landscape.
The erosion resistant dunites, serpentines,
gabbros and diabases of the Troodos massif are
the main reason for its height and its harsh,
rugged scenery, while less erosion-resistant
chalks at lower altitudes have formed the
rounded white landscape of the vineyards.
                                                      9
     The limestone cliffs of the Akamas have           golden oak (Quercus alnifolia) grow on the
     created karsts, with subterranean streams,        lower slopes and, near the coasts, juniper
     reservoirs and caves containing stalagmites       predominates. The golden oak has been
     and stalactites. There are also deep gorges       declared the national tree of Cyprus.
     at the west of the island.
                                                       Maquis vegetation, which thrives on poor
     The rivers flowing radially from the              quality siliceous soil, includes rockroses,
     Troodos have opened steep-sided river             arbutus, myrtle and rosemary. The scrub
     valleys and there are significant waterfalls      vegetation of the garrigue is chiefly on
     at Kalidonia, Mesapotamos and Fini.               limestone soil and includes the spiny
     The Salt Lakes at Akrotiri and Larnaka lose       burnet, capers and aromatics such as
     their water in summer due to evaporation          thyme, rosemary, oregano and lavender.
     and, until quite recently, the salt harvested
                                                       Cyprus is characterised by an extremely
     from the dried-out lake at Larnaka was
                                                       high number of indigenous plant species,
     sold on the local market.
                                                       approximately 2000, of which almost
     Coupled with the rock types are the               140 are endemic, such as the Cyclamen
     various kinds of soil, which give distinct        cyprium, which has been declared the
     colour to the landscape. Deep and fertile         national flower of Cyprus. For nature
     terra rosa has developed on the hard              lovers, early spring is the most rewarding
     limestone of the Kokkinochoria                    period of the year. There is a riotous
     (Red Villages) in the southeast, and rich         blossoming of poppies, anemones,
     brown soils have developed on the pillow          cyclamen, iris, gladioli, tulips and crown
     lavas. The white limey soils, derived from        daisies. Approximately fifty species,
     the decomposition of limestone rocks,             subspecies and varieties of orchid are
     are widespread and the most suitable for          found, including several endemics.
     the cultivation of vines in the districts of
     Pafos and Lemesos (Limassol), while very          There are more than 70
     fertile alluvial soils are present in the river
     valleys.
                                                       organised Nature Trails in
     Flora and fauna                                   rural Cyprus. Each is carefully
     The natural vegetation of Cyprus is broadly       designed to ensure hikers
     split into four categories: forests, maquis,
     Mediterranean garrigue and herbaceous             appreciate the best viewpoints
     plants. The main forest trees at high             and things of interest in the
     altitude are pines, including the flat-topped
     Troodos pine (Pinus nigra s.p. Palasianna).       area. Ask for the special CTO
     Cedar, plane, alder, maple and the endemic
                                                       booklet.


10
Birds on the spring and autumn north-         hatchlings by foxes and other predators has
south migration use Cyprus as a stopping      severely jeopardised the survival of these
point and the two Salt Lakes (Larnaka and     primeval marine creatures.
Akrotiri) offer a winter home to large        In 1978, the Cyprus Fisheries Department
flocks of greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus   established a turtle hatchery at Lara Beach,
ruber). Nightingales, golden orioles,         one of the main nesting sites on the west
hoopoes, rollers and bee-eaters are among     coast. Turtle eggs are also transported
the visitors and residents include several    from other beaches to hatch in safe
endemic species, such as the Cyprus           conditions at Lara.
warbler and the Cyprus Wheatear.
                                              Although not a wild animal in danger
The population of the Griffon Vulture         of extinction, the Cyprus donkey has
(Gyps fulvus) has declined rapidly over       always been an important feature of rural
recent years and the birds no longer visit    life. It was a form of transport,
many of their traditional nesting sites.
The Game Service has set up a small
reserve at Agios Ioannis on the Xeros
River and action is being taken to prevent
the loss of the species.
The endemic moufflon (Ovis orientalis
ophion), a type of wild sheep, considered
by many to be Cyprus’ national animal.
At one time, these beautiful shy animals
were hunted almost to extinction.
                                              beast of burden and the means for drawing
However, a captive-breeding programme
                                              water from the wells.
has saved the species and today around
                                              The Nubian Donkey (Equus asinus)
10,000 live in and around the Pafos Forest.
                                              is believed to be the domestic donkey’s
They are best seen in a reserve
                                              ancestor and it is known that donkeys
at the Stavros tis Psokas Forest Station,
                                              were domesticated before horses.
in the Troodos range.
                                              What is not known is when the first
Cyprus is one of the few remaining nesting    donkeys arrived in Cyprus but the remains
grounds for the endangered Green Turtle       of an ass have been found in a tomb from
(Chelonia mydias) and the Loggerhead          the seventh century BC. Villagers from the
Turtle (Caretta caretta). Turtles lay their   remoter areas can still be seen riding and
eggs in the sand on isolated beaches.         working with donkeys, and there is a
Gradual human encroachment into their         Donkey Sanctuary at the village of Vouni,
territory and depredation of the nests and    northwest of Lemesos (Limassol).




                                                                                             11
     Cultural
       Heritage
                As you wander around the island you will
                     come across many prehistoric sites,
                 tombs and sanctuaries depicting the long
                           cultural heritage of the island.

             The ancient history of Cyprus tends to focus
              on the great city kingdoms, conquerors and
               conflict. Yet farmers and herders, artisans
          and miners played an equal role in the chronicle
               and they laid down the foundations of the
                              country’s distinctive culture.

                      Manmade artefacts from as far back
                  as 10,000 BC show that Stone Age Man
                      was present on the island when the
                          pygmy hippopotamus and dwarf
                                 elephant were on earth.
                         By 6,800 BC, Neolithic Man was
                           a skilled hunter, living in stone
                           and clay huts. He shaped river
                               pebbles to make axe heads
                   and chisels. He also created patterned
               pottery bowls, clay sculpture and jewellery
                           of steatite, shell and cornelian.
                   Arts and crafts started to evolve when
              the discovery of ochre and umber pigments
               enabled potters to decorate their ceramics




12
with colour. They also started to create figures
of fertility goddesses and cross-shaped human
forms. Archaeological finds from this era include
animal-shaped vases and a model of a ploughing
scene – signifying the importance of livestock
and arable farming.
The discovery of copper around 3,000BC,
changed life dramatically, as the metal became
the source of immense wealth and triggered
the development of trade with neighbouring
countries. In addition, the location of many
of the copper mines prompted previously




agrarian communities from settlements in the
foothills and plains to relocate to upland areas.

Some copper ore was smelted locally in wood
or charcoal-burning furnaces and the metal was
exported in ingots in the shape of a sheepskin.
By the Late Bronze Age, smiths were using
imported tin mixed with copper to cast large
bronze objects.

Around 1200BC, the arrival of Greek-speaking
settlers as part of the Sea Peoples, caused great
disruption and led to the emergence of the first
of the city kingdoms of the Iron Age and the
Hellenisation of the island.
Copper smelting started the depletion of the
island’s thick forest cover and after Cyprus fell
to the Persians, the forests were further
diminished for shipbuilding.

                                                    13
     During the Hellenistic period (4th century     lace and metalwork just as their ancestors
     BC), copper mining was generating such         did in ancient times.
     wealth that Cyprus was able to supply
                                                    Evidence of the island’s intriguing heritage
     Alexander the Great, to whose empire the
                                                    can be seen in its many interesting
     island then belonged, with a whole fleet
                                                    archaeological museums.
     of battleships.
                                                    The Cyprus Museum in Lefkosia
     The value of the copper mining and export
                                                    (Nicosia) houses the richest collection
     trade was the catalyst for the Romans
                                                    of archaeological finds in Cyprus. Prior to
     taking possession of Cyprus in 58BC and
                                                    its being built in the first decade of the
     their baskets, ropes, wooden props
                                                    last century, antiquities were plundered
     and other mining paraphernalia have been
                                                    by entrepreneurs such as Luigi Palma
     found in shafts of copper mines still in use
                                                    de Cesnola, an American consul whose
     in the last century.
                                                    collection was amassed through his
                                                    privately organised excavations all over the
                                                    island during the Ottoman period. Sir John
                                                    Myres and Max Ohnefalsch-Richter were
                                                    the first experts to carry out systematic
                                                    archaeological work on the island and after
                                                    the Cyprus Museum was established,
                                                    so many finds were brought to light that
                                                    it ran out of space in which to exhibit
                                                    them. The museum’s exhibits traverse
                                                    the history of Cyprus from the Neolithic
                                                    Era (7,000 BC) to the 7th century AD.
                                                    Amongst the highlights are an
                                                    extraordinary display of terracotta figures
                                                    found in 1929 at Agia Irini Sanctuary
                                                    at Morfou, and statue of the goddess
                                                    Aphrodite discovered at Soli. Another focal
     Tenta Prehistoric Site                         point is the collection of limestone lions
                                                    and sphinxes found at Tamassos in 1997.
     Today, agriculture, including the wine         1 Mouseiou Street, Lefkosia Open Mon-Sat
     industry, is still a fundamental part          09:00 – 17:00, Sunday 10:00 – 13:00.
     of the country’s economy and Cypriot           The museum is on the Aphrodite
     craftspeople continue their cultural           Cultural Route.
     traditions by creating pottery and weaving,




14
The Aphrodite Cultural           tell the tale of the enigmatic
Route (Kiprida Aphrodite)        goddess of love and beauty.
invites you to wander through    The primary sites connected
layers of history and            with the goddess are Paleia
culture in the footsteps         Pafos (Kouklia), Amathous
of the Goddess.                  and Kition and all are well
The Aphrodite cult probably      worth a visit. At all sites,
evolved from even older          information boards detail
female fertility deities and     various aspects of Aphrodite.
after eons, the Anassa, (Holy    Also, the museums on the
Queen) of Cyprus, became         Aphrodite route, highlight
completely identified with the   the finds connect to the
Aphrodite of the Greek           goddess with the logo of the
Gods of Olympus in the           Cultural Route.
4th century BC. Although         Brochures of the Aphrodite
best known as the Goddess of     Route are also available from
Love and Beauty, Aphrodite       all CTO Information Offices.
was also the goddess of copper   Larnaka District Archaeological
                                 Museum houses finds from Larnaka and
and was worshipped at            the surrounding area, which was inhabited
sanctuaries connected to         long before the city-kingdom of Kition was
                                 built in the 13th century BC by the
smelting workshops. Temples,     Mycenaean Greeks. Among the items from
                                 the prehistoric settlements at Choirokoitia
shrines and natural sites from
                                 and Kalavassos are tools made from bone,
around the island such as the    picrolite jewellery and a tomb in which
                                 a heavy stone has been laid on the head
Baths of Aphrodite near Polis    and chest of the dead man. Bronze Age




                                                                               15
     faience, ivory and alabaster objects bear       Pafos District Archaeological Museum
     witness to the commerce of the time.            contains finds from the Pafos district that
     There is a collection of Mycenaean              date from between the Neolithic and
     ceramics, votive terracotta figurines,          Venetian periods of the island’s history.
     glass objects from Roman times and              A remarkable find from Lempa is the
     an interesting exhibition of Cypro-Minoan       skeleton of a twenty-year old woman,
     inscriptions. The museum also contains          displayed exactly as it was found.
     stone anchors found in the area. Plateia        The oldest exhibits are from approximately
     Kalograion.                                     8000BC and include stone axes, fragments
     Open Mon-Fri 09:00-14:30 + Thurs                of pots and abstract statuettes of steatite
     15:00-17:00 (except July & August).             and clay. There are also some intriguing
     The Museum is on the Aphrodite                  examples of medical devices from the
     Cultural Route.                                 Roman period. Other remarkable exhibits
                                                     include classical funerary steles from
     Lemesos (Limassol) District
                                                     ancient Marion (modern day Polis) and the
     Archaeological Museum contains finds            beautiful statue of the ‘armed’ Aphrodite.
     from Kourion and Amathous, the two
                                                     Griva Digeni St.
     important city-kingdoms near Lemesos
                                                     Open Mon – Fri 09:00 – 17:00,
     (Limassol), as well as from around thirty
     other archaeological sites in the district.     Sat 10:00 – 13:00.
     Some of the exhibits date back to the era       The museum is on the Aphrodite
     before Cyprus had even been settled,            Cultural Route.
     such as the skull and jawbone of a pygmy
     hippopotamus and the tusk of a dwarf
     elephant found on the Akrotiri peninsula.
     Among the finds from Kourion is a large
     storage jar that stands one and a half
     metres tall. The museum also houses an
     extensive collection of pottery, stone tools,
     gold, silver and bronze jewellery and
     Byzantine artefacts. Corner of Kaningos
     and Vyronos Streets.
     Open Mon – Fri 09:00 – 17:00,
     Sat 10:00 – 13:00.
     The museum is on the Aphrodite Cultural
     Route.




16
17
                      Rural
     Crafts and
           Skills
          Lekfaritika is the fine embroidery and drawn-
          thread work that has made Lefkara, the village
                   after which it is named, world famous.
             Simple embroidery, known as asproploumia
            (white work), was done in Cyprus from very
               early times. However, in the Frankish and
           Venetian periods (1191 – 1571) when Lefkara
                     was a summer resort for the nobles,
       local women added to their repertoire the more
                complicated designs created by Venetian
                  women. Lefkaritika patterns are mainly
                    geometric with crosses and diamonds
                     and the work is done on beige ‘Irish’
                  linen with white or dark brown cotton
                                 thread. In the 19th century,
                            village men travelled to Europe,
                           and later America and Australia,
                                    to sell the embroideries.
                          Leonardo da Vinci is said to have
                    come to Lefkara to buy an altar-cloth
             for Milan cathedral. Lefkaritika is also made
                    at all the villages in the area as well as
                   at Kornos, Lympia, Dali and Athienou.
        Pottery in Cyprus goes back to Neolithic times
       and you can see fine examples from most periods
                 of the island’s history in all the island’s




18
archaeological museums. Traditional potters still
work in the villages of Foini and Kornos, using
red clay from local hillsides to make cooking
pots, storage jars, amphorae and plant pots.
The pots are thrown on a small wheel turned by
hand or foot. Before firing, the vessel is bound
with string or cloth strips to prevent cracking
and left to stand overnight. Then the potter
scrapes off any excess clay and rubs the pot
with a stick then with a wet cloth to make it
shine. After being left to dry away from the
wind and sun, the pot is finally fired in a wood-
burning kiln. Sadly, the giant onion-shaped




earthenware storage jars called pitharia are no
longer made but these enormous vessels are
often used as decorative plant pots.
Ceramic traditions continue with small potteries
all over the island, making good quality modern
and ethnic ware.

Decorated gourds: The gourd is a vegetable
of the marrow family that hangs from a climbing
vine seen adorning the verandas of rural houses.
Kolokia (gourds) come in a range of shapes and
sizes and have long been decorated and used
for practical purposes by Cypriots.
The bottle-shaped gourd is the most useful:
as a wine carafe, a candlestick, a container for
salt or olives and, with its side cut off,
as a water ladle. Decorating gourds, either
by incising geometric patterns or motifs of
animals or flowers into them with a knifepoint

                                                    19
     or burning the design with a poker,             baskets used for draining and pressing
     is a craft still practiced in the villages of   halloumi and anari cheeses are still made
     Pachyammos and Tries Elies.                     at Akrotiri village. Baskets are still made
                                                     at Mesogi too and there is a basketry
     Basket making dates from Neolithic
                                                     museum at Ineia, near Pafos.
     times and today’s methods are virtually
     unchanged. Baskets were made to serve           Copperware is an obvious traditional craft
     specific practical purposes. In the             in a country where the metal featured
     Kokkinochoria (Red Soil Villages),              prominently throughout history.
     large strong wicker baskets were made for       The discovery of copper made Cyprus rich
     gathering and transporting potatoes.            and important in the Bronze Age and
     At Lakatameia, riverbed rushes were used        mining was carried out throughout the
                                                     centuries. Coppersmiths still make copper
                                                     pots and kettles, the long-handled pots
                                                     known as brikki (in which Cyprus coffee
                                                     is made) and exquisite bracelets.
                                                     Old copper cauldrons, coffee pots and
                                                     lamps often adorn hotels and tavernas.

                                                     Silverware is made chiefly at Lefkara,
                                                     where the men have a long history of
                                                     producing cobweb-like filigree work.
                                                     Fine silver wire is bent into complex
                                                     designs for teaspoons, bracelets and other
                                                     jewellery, as well as intricately worked
                                                     containers that hold jars of the traditional
                                                     sweetmeat glyko, and are hung around with
     to dress bottles to prevent leakage when
                                                     half a dozen small pastry forks. Also made
     transporting olive oil, wine or zivania.
                                                     is solid silverware, including trays and
     Donkey panniers, known as sirizes, were
                                                     pinecone or pomegranate-shaped vessels
     also made from rushes. Workers carried
                                                     for the oil and holy water used at baptisms
     their lunch in small-lidded korokolios and
                                                     and blessings.
     bread was kept in a macramé type basket,
     called a tapatsa that hung from the ceiling.    Weaving: It is known that weaving was
     Tsestos, the large, often colourfully           highly developed during Byzantine times
     decorated, flat cane platters used for          and, during the Venetian and Lusignan
     carrying bread and drying trahana, (a type      periods, valuable silk and woollen fabrics
     of Cyprus porridge) now often decorate          renowned for their high quality were
     house walls. Talari, the small cylindrical      exported in great quantities to Europe.




20
Fyti weaving, which derives its name from        to crosses. Ecclesiastical woodcarving was,
Fyti village, consists of colourful geometric    and still is, a specialised craft and elaborate
textured designs or ploumia on un-dyed           iconostasis (altar screens) are to be found
cotton cloth. The ploumia, in strong reds,       in countless churches around the island.
yellows, blues, greens and orange,               Religious themes similar to those of the
are made by placing thick coloured thread        iconostasis often found their way onto
or fytilia among the warp threads. Fyti          household objects too and the local church
weaving is usually made into rectangular         was usually depicted on the central panel
napkins, tablecloths and bed covers.             of the sendukia. At Mouttoullas, on the
The origins of this weaving are lost in the      northern slopes of the Troodos Mountains,
past but geometric patterns similar to           artisans used pinewood to make vournes
those in Fyti work can be seen on pottery        (wooden troughs), which, according to
from the Geometric period. Another style         size, were used by village women for
of weaving is the Lefkoniko weave of             kneading bread or doing the laundry.
brightly coloured stripes. This strong fabric,   Also made from pine were sanidhia (long
which comes in a glorious array of bright        breadboards), on which the women carried
colours, makes good tablemats, table             their loaves to the oven for baking.
runners, throws for sofas, rugs, bedcovers
and curtains. Cyprus rag rugs are still made
in many colour combinations, using cotton
thread for the warp and strips of fabric for
the weft. In the mountain villages, rugs
were woven of a mixture of goat hair and
wool in muted stripes.
Woodcarving: In the days when timber
from the abundant forests of Cyprus was
plentiful, the decorative art of woodcarving
was widespread around the island.
Many rural houses had doors and lintels
with at least some carving – and sometimes
painting as well. Inside there were carved
chairs, wardrobes, corner cupboards,
shelves and sendukia (dowry chests),
in which girls gradually amassed the
household linen needed for their marriage.
The carved designs ranged from flowers,
cypress trees, birds, animals and grapes,




                                                                                                   21
     Food and
        Wine
     Hospitality is a byword in Cyprus and Kopiaste
             in Greek means, “Come and enjoy our
       hospitality”. Where better to try some local
                     specialities than in rural Cyprus?

     Much of the food eaten daily - olives, almonds,
       figs, beans, chickpeas, dates, bitter herbs and
      honey – was known in Biblical times. It is said
        that carobs are the ‘husks’ from the parable
          of the prodigal son and the ‘locusts’ eaten
                by John the Baptist in the wilderness.
              The traditional Cypriot diet is a healthy
               one based on vegetables, salad, pulses,
             bread, fruit, olive oil and small quantities
                of meat. Everything is freshly cooked
                 and the salad is often picked straight
                   from the garden. Even Cypriot fast
                      food is healthy. Try an envelope
                  of pitta bread filled with char-grilled
                  souvlakia meat and salad; add a dash
                     of salt and lemon juice and enjoy
                               it with a cool local beer.




22
Festive food
On New Year’s Day, a special cake called
Vassiliopitta (St Basil’s cake) is baked with a coin
hidden in it. The person finding the coin is
promised good luck throughout the year.
Easter is a time of rejoicing. Many Cypriots will
have given up meat, fish and dairy products
during Lent and the fast is broken after midnight
on Easter Day, with a rich lamb soup called
Mageiritsa (originally from Greece), or the more
popular Avgolemono (egg and lemon soup).
Easter cakes or flaounes, are made from




a special cheese, eggs, spices, herbs and sultanas
wrapped in dough. The main Easter meal
is souvla, large chunks of spit-roasted lamb,
accompanied by roast potatoes, lots of salad
and good wine.
Before Christmas there is another forty-day
fast. Turkeys and pigs are fattened up during the
summer and slaughtered for the Christmas feast.
Some of the pork meat is salted, cured or
smoked to last through the winter. Everyone
eats the icing-sugar covered shortbread called
kourambiedes and spiced honey buns called
melomakarona.

Traditional Cyprus foods
Halloumi, can be eaten fried, grilled, grated
onto pasta or as is with a slice of watermelon.
It is made by heating a mixture of sheep and

                                                       23
     goat milk in a hartzi (cauldron) before        over pasta. The best way to eat it, though,
     adding rennet and turning off the heat. The    is unsalted, with just a drizzle of honey
     curds are scooped out, squeezed to             or carob syrup. Natural yoghurt, strained
     extract the whey, wrapped in cheesecloth       or otherwise, is yet another dairy product
     and pressed under a heavy weight. The          that is an integral part of the Cypriot diet
     cheese is cut into blocks and cooked in the    and one that quickly becomes a firm
     whey again. When it rises to the surface, it   favourite with all the island’s visitors.
     is taken out, dipped in salt and dried mint,
                                                    The highly nutritious sugary unripe pods
     folded in half and left to cool before being
                                                    of the carob tree (ceratonia siliqua) used
     stored in the whey.
                                                    to be known as the ‘Black Gold of Cyprus’.
                                                    charoupomelo, carob syrob, is made
     Cyprus bread is delicious                      by boiling the ripe pods to a mash in a
     anywhere you go, but some                      large cauldron of water, straining the
                                                    mixture and reducing it to the consistency
     villages make their own                        of honey. Pasteli is made by boiling carob
     specialities and these are                     syrup to reduce it further to a thick pulp,
                                                    then kneading it into toffee.
     exceptionally good.
     Look out for the
     sesame-covered loaves that
     have been baked in the
     traditional beehive-shaped
     ovens. The texture
     is somewhat denser than
     European style breads but the
     flavour is outstanding.
                                                    Among the sweetmeats, Glyka are
     Before the final step, the whey is returned
     to the hartzi to make Anari, a cheese          sugar-preserved fruit and nuts traditionally
     similar to ricotta. Fresh milk is added and    offered to welcome guests to the home.
     the mixture is reheated and stirred with       It is made from green walnuts (Karidaki),
                                                    apricots, quinces, tiny white aubergines,
     a small brush called a throumbi until the
     crumbly white cheese floats to the surface.    cherries, bitter oranges (citromilo),
     Some anari is salted and dried to be grated    curls of grapefruit or bergamot peel



24
or strips of watermelon rind, steeped            olive oil. At the year’s end, the black olives
in a thick sugar syrup.                          are ready to be taken to the olive press,
Palouze is made in the mountain villages at      there to be kneaded and pressed into thick
grape harvest time. It is a mixture of grape     green oil. A slice of freshly toasted bread
juice, flour and sugar that is boiled until it   is held under the spigot to catch the first
sets like blancmange.                            drizzle of the season’s yield. Eliotes, a tasty
To make soudjouko, almonds are                   olive pastry, is a firm favourite with all
threaded like beads on string and dipped         Cypriots.
into boiling palouze and dried, repeatedly,
                                                 Cyprus coffee is made in long-handled
until thickly coated, then hung in the sun
                                                 brikkia (pots) on a copper or brass
to dry and cut into lengths.
                                                 contraption called an outziaki, consisting
                                                 of a cylinder of simmering water above
Cyprus Coffee: Strong,                           a tray of very hot sand. Coffee beans are
full of flavour and served                       ground to a powder and a heaped
                                                 teaspoon plus a demitasse of water are put
in tiny cups together with a                     into the brikki for each serving. Sugar is
glass of cold water. Ask for:                    added to taste and you order metrios
                                                 (medium), glykos (sweet) or sketos
glyko (sweet); metrio                            (unsweetened). The brikki is heated in the
(medium); or sketo (without                      sand and the coffee is allowed to boil.
                                                 When it starts to rise, the coffee is poured
sugar). Be careful not to drink                  into the cup. Cyprus coffee is always
to the bottom of the cup or                      served with a glass of cold water and
                                                 you never drink to the bottom of the cup,
you’ll end up with a mouthful                    as there is a little sediment.
of coffee grains.                                Cyprus has a very long history of wine
Olives and Olive oil are essential to            production and the island has fifteen
Cypriot cooking and many families cultivate      indigenous varieties of grape. The wines
a few trees to ensure they have an               of Cyprus are praised in the Song of
adequate supply to last the year.                Solomon and in 800 BC Hesiodes
Olive picking starts in late autumn with the     described the making of Cyprus wine.
gathering of the green olives.                   Greek poet Euripides wrote of vast
These are preserved in brine to be served        pilgrimages to the island to taste the wine,
as traditional Cypriot tsakistes. Unique to      or Cyprus Nama, as it was then known,
Cypriot cuisine, the olives are cracked and      and it was considered delectable by the
sprinkled with crushed coriander seeds and       Egyptian Pharaohs.
chopped garlic, and bathed in lemon and



                                                                                                   25
     Legend tells us that the first mortal to      The modern wine industry was born
     learn the secret of making wine was King      in 1844 when the House of Hagipavlou
     Icarios, who learned the art from Dionysus,   was founded to export wine in barrels
     the god of wine himself. The scene can be     to neighbouring countries. In 1893, the
     seen today in a mosaic at the House of        company built a winery at Zanatzia, with
     Dionysus at Kato Pafos. The words             proper presses and stone fermentation
     ‘Be happy and drink well’ were found on an    tanks.
     inscription at the site and archaeological    A British family by the name of Chaplin
     evidence of viticulture and winemaking can    built a winery at Pera Pedi, later to be
     be seen in museums around the island.         bought out by Keo, a company started
                                                   in 1927. Loel, was formed in 1943 and
                                                   developed business links with Eastern Bloc
                                                   countries while Sodap was created in 1947
                                                   as a vine-growers’ cooperative.
                                                   These companies, known as the ‘Big Four’,
                                                   produced all the wine sold commercially
                                                   for many years.
                                                   In the early 1980s, the government
                                                   encouraged small wineries to open and
                                                   there are now over thirty, many of them
                                                   in the vineyards themselves.
                                                   These smaller wineries are represented
                                                   by the Vacchus Regional Wineries’
                                                   Association. At the same time, the Big Four
                                                   opened – or re-opened – regional wineries
     Cyprus is one of the oldest                   and created new marques to complement
                                                   the existing classics. Many of the wineries
     wine producing countries                      welcome visitors for guided tours and
     in the world and CTO has                      tastings, and there is also The Cyprus
                                                   Wine Museum at the village of Erimi.
     designed 6 wine routes to help
                                                   After thousands of years of winemaking,
     visitors discover the island’s                the future of the industry in Cyprus bodes
     fascinating wine producing                    well and the consumer has a vast choice
                                                   of wines from the island of Aphrodite.
     regions. Ask for the special
                                                   Commandaria is the oldest name for a
     CTO booklet.                                  wine in the world. The name derives from




26
the Grande Commanderie (feudal estate)
                                                  The Vahkis Project
of the Knights Hospitaller of St John of
Jerusalem, an ecclesiastical military order       promotes authentic traditional
headquartered at Kolossi. Commandaria is
                                                  Cypriot cuisine, cooked and
a dark sweet dessert wine made from
grapes grown in an Appellation d’Origine          served at local tavernas housed
Contrôlée area on the southern foothills of
                                                  in traditional buildings.
the Troodos Mountains to the northeast
of Lemesos (Limassol). The grapes,                The scheme is named after a
a combination of the indigenous red Mavro
                                                  famous Cypriot chef
and white Xinisteri, are partially dried in the
sun to enhance their sugar content before         who lived in the city-kingdom
pressing and fermenting.
                                                  of Kition around 300AD.
Zivania is a traditional spirit that has been
                                                  Restaurants and tavernas have
drunk in Cyprus for centuries. It is distilled
from grapes with high acidity, which are          to meet all the requirements
crushed and the whole mass, called zivana,
                                                  of the scheme’s criteria before
is put into pitharia (large round clay pots)
and fermented. Distillation begins with the       they are awarded the Vahkis
zivana and some wine or water being put
                                                  certificate.
into a kazani (cauldron), made from
tin-lined copper and the dome-shaped              More information on the food
kapaki (lid), which has a hole in one side,
                                                  and drink of Cyprus is
hermetically sealed. Finally, the loullas,
(copper tube), is fitted into the hole and        available from the Flavours of
its other end is passed through a tub, dani,
                                                  Cyprus booklet and from
of cold water. The mixture is boiled so
that evaporation occurs and the vapour            The Wine Routes booklet,
condenses as it cools on its way through
                                                  both of which are available
the dani, thus completing the process.
There are literally hundreds of traditional
                                                  from all CTO Information
taverns and restaurants all over Cyprus all       Offices.
of which serve delicious local specialities
and wines. The village coffee shops are
great places to meet the local people and
enjoy a Cyprus coffee or cool drink.




                                                                                    27
      Rural
     Accommodation
                     A rural holiday gives the opportunity
       to participate in traditional activities, to eat in the
                    village tavernas and enjoy the genuine
                          hospitality of a rural community.

             Basic foodstuffs and other supplies, including
          fresh bread, vegetables and fruit can be bought
                                     locally in the villages.
            Ask the friendly villagers to let you in to the
                    area’s best-kept secrets and then go
            and explore them for first-hand experience.

                                   Traditional houses
                           Anyone who prefers the charm
                             of a quiet, rural environment
                      to the hustle and bustle of a tourist
                    resort can opt to stay at a traditional
                        house in a village, accommodation
                         known in Cyprus as agrotourism.

                          These properties are renovated
                                  traditional village houses.
                All have modern kitchens and bathrooms
         and are furnished with rustic furniture and soft
             furnishings in traditional weave. Most of the
       houses have a garden, where you can enjoy such
       delights as lemons fresh from the tree, and some
        even have a swimming pool too. You can enjoy
                    the comfort of a house that will soon
                                             feel like home.



28
All the properties are licensed by the CTO
and are maintained under the umbrella of the
Cyprus Agrotourism Company, an affiliate
company of the CTO and whose members are
the owners of the houses.
Most properties are open year-round, so are
ideal for botanists, birdwatchers and hikers,
for whom Cyprus in the early spring is a must.

Tourist villas
Scattered around the countryside are tourist
villas offering high standards of accommodation.




These are individual houses with pools,
and many are built in local architectural style.

Other accommodation
There is a wide range of accommodation ranging
from hotels to self-catering establishments,
varying in size and capacity and offering
everything from the very basic accommodation
facilities to the most exclusive features. These
are located in villages, such as Agros, Lefkara,
Polis/Latsi, Kato Pyrgos, Drouseia, Neo Chorio,
Lysos, Platres, Pedoulas, Kakopetria,
Spilia and others.

Camp sites
The four camp sites licensed by the CTO are:
Kalymnos Beach (Governor’s Beach), Lemesos
(Limassol) District, and three in the Pafos
district; Geroskipou Zenon Gardens; Feggari
at Pegeia; and Polis Camping. However, there
                                                   29
     is another campsite operating at Troodos,     Tourist Establishments, which is available
     The Troodos Campsite, which is run by         from the CTO Information Offices.
     the Cyprus Forestry Department.
                                                   Cyprus Agrotourism Company
     Kalymnos and Feggari are open all year
                                                   CTO-19 Lemesos Avenue
     round, the other coastal ones open March
                                                   Melkonian Building
     to October and Troodos opens from May
                                                   CY-1319 Lefkosia
     to October, weather permitting. Facilities
                                                   Tel +357 2234 0071
     at each site include showers, toilets
     washing facilities, mini-market and a snack
     bar or restaurant.

     The Kafenion (coffee shop)
     is a national institution.
     This is the main meeting
     place of the village and the
     place to head for if you need
     assistance of any kind.
     During daytime it is where
     the elderly men come to relax,
     play a game of tavli
     (backgammon) and put the
     world to rights.
     The younger men gather here
     after work. The kafenion
     serves coffee, soft drinks and
     few snacks.
     Further information regarding
     accommodation is available from the
     CTO Guide to Hotels and Other




30
31
           Countryside
     ActivitiesEuropean E4 long distance path
        It is now possible to walk the length of Europe,
          thanks to the European E4 long distance path.
           Starting in Gibraltar, the path traverses Spain,
       France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary,
       Bulgaria and Greece; then it is a short air trip to
                                  Crete and on to Cyprus.
                   The Cyprus section, which has been
        set up as a joint venture between the Forestry
             Department of the Ministry of Agriculture
                and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation,
                  connects Larnaka and Pafos airports.
                Along the way, it passes through areas
                           of outstanding natural beauty,
                         places of ecological importance
                   and historic and archaeological sites.
                           All the roads and tracks on the
                        route are well signposted and the
                      CTO has published a booklet of the
                            Cyprus section, splitting it into
            comfortable daily sections, with the distance
                      and time needed to cover each one.
         It also gives useful information on the geology,
            flora, fauna and points of interest along each
                                      section of the route.




32
Hiking and rambling
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation and the
Forestry Department have created over sixty
nature trails to assist hikers and ramblers enjoy
the island’s hills and vales. The trails, some linear
and others circular, help walkers discover the
most fascinating corners of Cyprus.
The terrain varies from that of Cape Gkreko
in the southeast, through the Troodos
Mountains, the foothills and forests
to the Akamas peninsula in the west.
The trails, which are designed to take in areas
of outstanding natural beauty and cultural
importance, are on gentle gradients and are




divided into three degrees of difficulty with two
trails suitable for the disabled.
Wooden signboards mark the start of each trial
and there are pointers to interesting flora
or geological features along each route.

The CTO’s booklet ‘European Long Distance Path
E4 and other Cyprus Nature Trails’ gives details
of the European E4 Path and all the nature trials
with the length, duration and degree of difficulty
of each one. You can pick up a copy at the
nearest CTO information office.

Cycling
If your idea of travelling is to have the wind on
your face, the sun on your back,
the gentle crunch of tyres on gravel,
the scent of pines around you and a glimpse
of the sea sparkling in the distance,
then cycling in Cyprus is for you.
                                                        33
     Almost all the tourist resorts have bicycles   historical sites, monasteries and areas
     for hire and the CTO’s guidebook Cyprus        of outstanding natural beauty.
     Cycling Routes can be picked up at the         It is signposted and there are markers
     nearest CTO information centre.                pointing to viewpoints etc.
     The guidebook covers main routes
                                                    For competitive cyclists, the Cyprus
     connecting towns or regions and
                                                    Cycling Federation, which is a member
     excursions within a region. Each itinerary
                                                    of the International Cycling Union (ICU)
     describes the route from point to point
                                                    organises an annual three-day international
     by altitude and the distance from the start
                                                    mountain bike competition called ’Afxentia’
     point. The total distance is given,
                                                    that attracts cyclists from all over Europe.
     as well as the difficulty rating, which is
                                                    The CCF also runs annual road races.

                                                    Horse riding
                                                    Riding is a different way
                                                    of exploring the hidden secrets of the
                                                    Cyprus landscape. There are riding stables
                                                    and ranches all over the island,
                                                    so you can enjoy the Akamas peninsula,
                                                    the Cape Gkreko National Forest Park
                                                    or the pine-scented Troodos Mountains
                                                    on horseback. Riding allows you to enjoy
                                                    nature at a slower pace, to hear the
                                                    birdsong and watch the incredible colours
                                                    of the last rays of the setting sun over
                                                    sea or mountain.
     based on the average moderately fit cyclist.
                                                    Riding can be enjoyed year-round thanks
     Recommendations are also made as to the
                                                    to the island’s climate and there is trekking
     type of bicycle suitable for each route and
                                                    and hacking for all levels of competence.
     the road surface is described.
                                                    Riding lessons are also available at centres
     The book includes a map of each route.
                                                    with well-trained horses and qualified
     There is also a longer cycling route in the    instructors. The CTO has published
     Troodos mountains. This is split into three    a pamphlet Horse Riding in Cyprus and more
     sections and takes riders from Pano Platres    information is available from the Cyprus
     to the Karvounas mountain saddle;              Equestrian Federation. For those who are
     then to Prodromos and finally back to          nervous of horses, donkey rides are also
     Platres. The route is on forest, rural and     available.
     secondary roads and it passes villages,




34
Skiing and snowboarding:                     at Sun Valley and the North Face, where
Chionistra, the traditional name for Mount   there are six alpine standard runs varying
Olympus at the summit of the Troodos         from 100 to 500 metres.
Mountains, means ‘the snowy one’ and         There are two langlauf (cross-country)
in winter, it is covered with a good layer   trails at Sun Valley; one of eight kilometres
of snow. There is a brief but vigorous       and one of four, which go through some
skiing and snowboarding season from          wonderful and dramatic scenery.
                                             Snowboarding is growing in popularity and
                                             plans are afoot to create a park dedicated
                                             solely to this up-and-coming sport.
                                             Visitors can hire equipment from the
                                             ski store at Sun Valley and individual
                                             and group tuition is available for skiers
                                             and snowboarders.

                                             Angling
                                             Angling in the dam reservoirs of Cyprus
                                             is a very popular pastime and twenty-one
                                             reservoirs provide excellent fresh-water
                                             fishing throughout the year. Seventeen
                                             species of fish are stocked, including trout,
                                             bass, carp, perch and roach. ‘Catch and
                                             keep’ is allowed at all but two sites,
                                             Polemedeia (Lemesos District) and Achna
                                             (Ammochostos District), which are ‘catch
                                             and release’ only. Anglers need a fishing
                                             licence, which can be easily obtained from
                                             the Department of Fisheries and Marine
                                             Research in Lefkosia (Nicosia) or from the
                                             regional offices of the Fisheries
                                             Department.
December to March. There are four main       Ornithology
runs, on the southern slopes Sun Valley 1    Cyprus lies on one of the main migratory
(Aphrodite) is ideal for novices and Sun     paths for bird species from Europe, Asia
Valley 2 (Hermes) is for more practised      and Africa and there are many endemic
skiers. North Face 1 (Dias) and North Face   species on the island. Winter is the time to
2 (Hera) are for the experienced.            enjoy spectacular flocks of flamingos and
The Cyprus Ski Club (CSC) runs t-bar lifts   wildfowl at the Salt Lakes. High summer is


                                                                                             35
     a quiet time, as the number of breeding          As an island, Cyprus became rich in
     species is relatively small. Autumn is           endemic flora and home to a large number
     excellent for the passage of raptors,            of varied species that are typical of the
     especially in September and October.             Mediterranean area as a whole.
     The season also sees a massive movement
                                                      National Forest Parks
     of wildfowl, gulls and herons.
                                                      There are seven national forest parks,
     It is in spring that Cyprus is truly glorious,
                                                      including two within the environs of
     as the number of birds passing seems
                                                      Lefkosia (Nicosia) - Athalassa Park and
     inexhaustible. The spring migration is quite
                                                      Paedagogical Academy Park, which have
     a long one, lasting from early March right
                                                      nature trails, picnic sites, birdwatching
     through to late April.
                                                      hides and volleyball and
     BirdLife Cyprus (BLC) is an NGO that             basketball arenas.
     promotes the protection of birds and their
                                                      The Troodos National Forest Park
     habitats. BLC is an affiliate of BirdLife
                                                      is the largest and includes four Nature
     Europe and it runs birdwatching trips and a
                                                      Reserves. It has the largest number of wild
     birdline, through which visitors can find out
                                                      plants, including endemics, compared to
     what is happening on the local scene.
                                                      anywhere else on the island and has been
     Botany                                           designated as one of the thirteen
     In the heat of summer, visitors can be           Mediterranean Plant Diversity Hot Spots.
     forgiven for thinking that Cyprus is bereft      The Park has many recreational facilities,
     of flowers, as the dry rock-strewn hills         including picnic sites, a campsite, nature
     show scant evidence that the island              trails, riding and winter sports.
     is home to an extraordinary variety of
     wildflowers and orchids, including around
     130 endemic plants.
     The best time to see Cyprus’ wild flowers
     is in early spring (February-March),
     when most species enjoy a short period
     of blossoming and take advantage of the
     unusually moist climate.
     The county’s floral profile is the result of
     the catastrophic ice ages when much of the
                                                      The Cavo Gkreko National Forest Park
     flora of northern and central Europe was
                                                      in the southeast of the island is ideal for
     glacier covered, while the Mediterranean
                                                      hiking, picnicking, cycling, riding, climbing,
     basin escaped unscathed, providing a haven
                                                      swimming and diving.
     for the evolution of plant life.



36
Rizoelia National Forest Park                a complete pattern of lowland vegetation,
on the edge of Larnaka town has a picnic     most of which is in a good state.
site and nature trails.                      The Lara-Toxeftra area is protected
                                             as a Marine Life Reserve and is of
The Tripilos-Mavroi Gremmoi Nature
                                             international importance, as the beaches
Reserve in the middle of the Pafos Forest
                                             are some of the last nesting grounds
contains the only remaining natural stand
                                             of the Green Turtle (Chelonian mydas)
of the endemic Cyprus Cedar
                                             and Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta).
(Cedrus brevifola). This, together with
ancient stands of Golden Oak (Quercus        The Cyprus Cycling Federation
alnifola), and the presence of the Cyprus    PO Box 24572, CY-1301 Lefkosia
moufflon (Ovis orientalis ophion),           Tel: +357 2266 3344
the Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus)   Fax: +357 2266 1150
and the Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) make
                                             Cyprus Equestrian Federation
this area ecologically unique.
                                             PO Box 14043, CY-2153 Lefkosia
If there are sheep and goats                 Tel: +357 9967 3333
                                             Fax: +357 2233 8866
wandering around the area                    E-mail: notorious.equ@cytanet.com.cy
you can be sure the nearby                   Cyprus Ski Club
villages make their own                      PO Box 22185, CY-1518 Lefkosia
                                             Tel: +357 2267 5340
cheeses. The most popular is                 Fax: +357 2266 9681
Halloumi, a very versatile                   E-mail: cyprus.ski.club@cytanet.com.cy
                                             Website: www.cyprusski.com
cheese that doesn’t lose its
                                             Department of Fisheries & Marine
shape when cooked. You can                   Research
grill it, fry it, grate it and add           Aiolou 13, CY-1416 Lefkosia
                                             Tel: +357 2280 7862
it to cooked dishes, drop a few
                                             Fax: +357 2277 5955
cubes into hot soup, or just
                                             BirdLife Cyprus
enjoy it as it is with tomatoes              PO Box 28076, CY-2090 Lefkosia
and a few olives or a slice of               Tel: +357 2245 5072
                                             Fax: +357 2245 5073
chilled watermelon.                          E-mail: birdlifecy@cytanet.com.cy
The Akamas, Pegeia and Meleti Forests        Website: www.birdlifecyprus.org
cover the Akamas peninsula,
the last remaining area of Cyprus with


                                                                                         37
       Religiousand
     Local Customs
     and
         Celebrations
          Christianity gained an early foothold in Cyprus,
        when the Apostles Paul and Barnabas introduced
          the religion in the first century AD. To this day
            religion is fundamental to the life of almost all
        Greek Cypriots, who mainly belong to the Greek
              Orthodox Church. According to Orthodox
                   belief, each day of the year is dedicated
         to a particular saint and every church celebrates
                         its saint’s day with a panagiri (fair).
             These dates are also celebrated as the ‘name
                      days’, more significant than birthdays,
                        of those who bear the name of the
                      particular saint. Every village has one
                          or more churches, many of which
                                       contain stunning icons.
                            The Catholic Lusignan dynasty,
                             which took control of Cyprus
                         in 1197, repressed the Orthodox
                        Church and many clergy withdrew
                                 to the mounainous areas.
         Many of the churches of the Troodos mountains
         were of similar design - about the size of a small
               barn, some with domes and some without.
              Because of the harsh winter climate, steeply
          pitched wooden overhanging roofs were added
                    to protect them from heavy snowfalls.
                    The churches are unique in the world.
         Inside them, fresco painters created vivid images
                in styles that reflected changing tastes and
                                           religious fashions.
38
Ten of the finest examples are designated
as World Heritage sites by UNESCO.
The frescoes, usually depicting events from the
bible, are remarkable in the clarity of detail
and colour. The later didactic-style wall paintings
evolved because very few of the rural
community were literate and the pictures
enabled them to learn the rudiments
of the gospels.

Easter is the main religious celebration in
Cyprus, and it starts on Clean Monday, the first




day of Lent, during which many people observe
a strict six-week Pascal fast. On Good Friday,
the women of the parish gather flowers to
decorate the epitaphios (bier) that carries the
symbol of Christ crucified round the streets
after a solemn service. At midnight on Saturday,
everyone lights his Easter lambada (candle) and
greets his neighbour with the words, “Christos
anesti”, (Christ is risen), to which the reply
is “Alithos anesti”, (He is indeed risen).
In many churchyards lambradjia (bonfires)
are lit and an effigy of Judas is burned.
Then the feasting starts. Whole lambs or souvla
(large kebabs) are cooked, coloured eggs
and flaounes (special Easter buns), are handed
round and there is a great deal of singing,
dancing and merrymaking.


                                                      39
     Christmas is a quieter celebration but it     children traditionally receive their presents.
     has a quaint rural custom that almost         The centrepiece of the banquet is the
     certainly has a pagan background.             Vasiliopitta (cake), in which a coin is always
     During the twelve days of Christmas,          secreted before baking and whoever finds
                                                   it is guaranteed good luck for the coming
                                                   year. The enormous cake is cut after
                                                   midnight, firstly into four so that it makes
                                                   the sign of the Cross. It is then divided into
                                                   smaller pieces and the first two are set
                                                   aside, one for the poor and one for the
                                                   house. Then the family, starting with the
                                                   youngest child gets a slice and finally the
                                                   guests are served.

                                                   Keep your eyes open for the
                                                   tiny stone-built chapels
     dwarf-like creatures called kalikantzari      that dot the island. These
     appear. They are said to be either the
     spirits of babies who died before baptism     pretty churches are usually
     or the souls of those who had nobody to       located in very beautiful
     sit vigil with them on the night of their
     death. The aim of these phantoms is to get    isolated spots.
     into houses and cause havoc. They disguise    On Epiphany Day, January 6th, the
     themselves as visitors but they can only      celebration of ta phota (the light) takes
     count to two, so genuine visitors             place. In the morning, everyone takes
     at Christmas always knock three times.        to church a bottle or container in which to
     Sprigs of olive leaves tied with red thread   collect their holy water. Ta Phota marks
     are nailed to doors and every room is         Christ’s baptism by St John and during the
     sprinkled with holy water. Leading up to      service, the papas (village priest) blesses
     Christmas, housewives bake honey cakes,       water in a large font and then ladles it into
     shortbread and special bread sprinkled with   the receptacles for the congregation to
     sesame. After church on Christmas             carry away and purify their homes and
     morning, the Advent fast is broken with       livestock. The priest also visits each home
     traditional egg and lemon soup.               to sprinkle every room to dispel any evil
     New Year sees the feast of Agios Vasilios     spirits. In addition, people light olive leaves
     (the Greek Santa Claus) and this is when      in a kapnistiri (earthenware or silver




40
incense burner) and make the sign of the        Music is usually provided
Cross through the aromatic smoke. Later,
at coastal towns, a beautiful service is held   by a fiddler or, when the party
at which the priest casts a Cross into the      really warms up, by a less
sea and a crowd of young men and boys
dive in to retrieve it and hand it back         traditional but equally popular
to him.
                                                bouzouki group. Celebrations
Baptisms, weddings and funerals are
attended by almost everyone in the village
                                                and dancing go on till the
and surrounding area.                           early hours.
The parents have no role in the baptism
ceremony and some mothers still observe
the custom of staying outside the church.
The godparents recite the Pistevo (Creed)
on the infant’s behalf, and then oil is added
to the water in the font and blessed.
The child is stripped, placed in the font and
water is poured over its head. The priest
and godparent anoint it with oil, making
the sign of the cross. The priest then takes
sacred miro (precious oil prepared in
Constantinople) and makes crosses on the
child’s forehead, cheeks, arms, legs, feet
and palms. Three tufts of hair are cut from
the baby’s head before it is dried and
dressed in new clothes supplied in triplicate
by the godfather. The godparents then hold
the child in their arms and its first
communion is administered.

If you happen to be in a
village during a traditional
wedding or religious fair,
do stay and enjoy the event.



                                                                                  41
     A wedding is a time of great feasting,
     sometimes for two or three days.
                                                     Orthodox monasteries,
     In western Cyprus, a huge copper cauldron       churches, festivals and
     is placed over a wood fire and resi is
     prepared. This is a tasty concoction of
                                                     customs, as well as
     cracked wheat and lots of pork and lamb,        ecclesiastical museums and
     which are slowly cooked until the meat
     falls off the bones. These are removed and
                                                     religious art. You can pick up
     it is cooked and stirred again until it turns   a copy of the CTO guidebook
     into a glutinous porridge-like substance in
     which a spoon will stand up.                    on Religious Routes at any
     On the day, traditional music plays as the      CTO Information Office.
     barber shaves the groom, before his             The church bell rings as the fiddler leads
     koumbari (best men) dress him in his            the groom with his father and with all his
     wedding suit. The bride is dressed by her       koumbari through the village to church.
     attendants and in the meantime, the village     The bride is accompanied by her
     women bring out the bridal mattress for         attendants and preceded by two children
     the priest to bless before they attach small    carrying large beribboned candles and
     crosses of red ribbon to each corner.           another carrying the two circlets that will
     To ensure that the first-born child is male,    be placed on the heads of the bride and
     a small boy is rolled across the mattress.      groom during the service.
     The women then pick up the mattress and         After the ceremony the couple lines up
     dance it around the courtyard, to the           with their parents to greet the guests and
     accompaniment of a fiddler. The mothers         offer them traditional sweet almond cakes
     of the couple fold clean sheets into a cross    or sugared almonds. The fiddler plays as
     over the mattress and dance it around           the bride and groom perform a swaying
     again before throwing money on it.

     A series of carefully planned
     Religious Routes,
     which are co-funded by the
     European Union, are designed
     to portray the spiritual life
     of Cyprus through its


42
bridal dance while everyone, starting with
the parents, pins money to their clothes.
An evening of eating, drinking and dancing
follows.
Families are not shunned in death.
The deceased is laid out in the house in a
simple coffin with his face covered with a
lace cloth and fragrant herbs. Friends and
neighbours arrive to offer sympathy and sit
and mourn with the bereaved while
women chant the praises of the dead.
These myrologia (dirges) are an ancient
tradition and are always sung by women.
After the church service, everyone goes in
procession to the kimitirio (cemetery) and
pariorka consisting of bread, wine, halloumi
cheese or olives is offered at the graveside.

Don’t be surprised if
someone waves a small pot
of smoking olive leaves
around you – you are being
blessed.
This is ‘kapnisma’, or Holy
smoke, a religious cleansing
procedure, and you are greatly
honoured. Wave your cupped
right hand through the smoke
and draw it towards you, then
make the sign of the cross.



                                                43
              Rural
      year
     THE

                                                   IN


     Cyprus   Cypriots hold strongly to their traditions,
         which are manifested in religious celebrations,
      neighbourhood fairs and folk festivals and every
     village church has its own panagiri (patron saint’s
           day), which the villagers celebrate with food
                         and drink, singing and dancing.




44
   January
         1    New Year.
         6    Epiphany - Celebrations in coastal towns and villages.
   24 & 25    Agios Neophytos Day fair at Agios Neophytos.
              Monastery, Pafos District.
              Agia Napa Cultural Winter.
              Paralimni Cultural Winter.
              Ski season in full swing.
              Ploughing and pruning of vineyards begins.

  February
     1&2      Presentation of Christ at the Temple fair,
              at Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery, Pafos District.
Date varies   Carnival in all major towns.
Date varies   Green Monday - Beginning of Lent.
              Tangerine festival at Arakapas, Lemesos District.
              Kite flying competition at Deryneia, Ammochostos District.
              Agia Napa Cultural Winter.
              Paralimni Cultural Winter.
              Cycling Race “Sunshine Cup – VORKLINI” (UCI E1 cat).
              Troodos International FIS Annual Race.
              Almond blossom in bloom.

    March
   24 & 25    Evangelismos - Feast of the Annunciation - fairs at Klirou,
              Lefkosia District and Kalavassos, Larnaka District.
              Agia Napa Cultural Winter.
              Paralimni Cultural Winter.
              Cycling Race “Sunshine Cup – Afxentia”.
              Cycling Race “UCI World Cup Marathon” (MTB Marathon).
              Birdwatching trips.
              International skiing competition at Troodos.

      April   Cereal harvest begins.
Date varies   Easter.
              “Easter festivities” On Easter Sunday, Monday and Tuesday
              traditional games are organised in many villages.

      May
        1     Mayday celebrations islandwide.
              Festival of Cyprus customs, traditions, folk dances and
              music at Dali, Lefkosia District.
     4&5      Agia Irini Day fair at Pervolia, Larnaka District.
              Strawberry festival at Derynia, Ammochostos District.
              Rose Festival, Agros, Lemesos District.
  Mid May     Anthestiria Flower Festival at Germasogia, Lemesos District.
                                                                             45
        20 & 21    Agios Constantinos and Agia Eleni Day fairs at Deryneia,
                   Ammochostos District and Tsada, Pafos District.
                   Birdwatching trips.

           June
        17 & 18    Agios Leontios Day: fair at Pervolia, Larnaka District.
                   Troodos – The green heart of Cyprus, Platres, Lemesos District.
                   Cultural Festival at Arsos, Lemesos District.
                   Geroskipou Delight Day, Geroskipou, Pafos District.
                   Cherry Festival, Platanistasa, Lefkosia District.
                   Annual Shakespeare play at Kourion theatre, Lemesos District.
                   “Cherry Festival” at Platanistasa village, Lefkosia District.
                   Agia Napa Summer Cultural Events.
     Date varies   Pentecost - Kataklysmos Fair – festival of the flood.

            July
        25 & 26    Agia Paraskevi day fair at Geroskipou, Pafos District.
                   Agricultural Exhibition, Solea area, Troodos.
                   Commandaria Festival at Alassa, Agios Georgios Silikou, Doros,
                   Laneia, Monagri, Silikou, Agios Mamas, Apesia, Kapileio, Korfi and
                   Limnatis, Lemesos District.
                   Moonlight concerts at Kourion theatre.
                   International Folk Dance Festival at Pissouri, Lemesos District.
                   Resi Festival at Letymbou, Pafos District.
                   Paralimni Cultural Summer Festival.
                   Classical Car Rally, Pano Platres.
                   International Folk Dances Festival, Pissouri village.
                   Cultural Events at Aradippou village, Larnaka District.
                   Cultural Events at Episkopi village, Lemesos District.
                   Regional Cultural Week of Mountatin Resorts of Lemesos District.
                   (Pano Platres, Kato Platres, Foini, Mandria, Omodos, Pera Pedi, Koilani,
                   Kouka and Moniatis villages).

         August    Musical Summer evenings at Polis.
        14 & 15    Assumption of the Virgin Mary fairs at Kykkos and
                   Chrysorrogiatissa Monasteries and at Chrysospiliotissa Churches
                   in Deftera, Lefkosia District, Liopetri, Ammochostos District and Kiti,
                   Larnaka District.
                   Folk Art Festival, Marathasa area, Troodos.



46
            Flavours of Cyprus, Marathasa Troodos.
            Arkadia Festival at Kallepeia, Pafos District.
            Dionysia Wine Festival at Stroumpi, Pafos District.
            Commandaria Wine Festival at Kalochorio, Lemesos District.
            Pastelaki carob toffee festival at Anogyra, Lemesos District.
            Pafia Aphrodite Festival at Kouklia, Pafos District.
            Folk Music Festival, Steni, Pafos District.
            Village festivals at Alona, Lagoudera, Platanistasa, Kourdali, Spilia
            and Polystipos, Lefkosia District; Vouni, Pachna, Arsos,
            Vasa and Agros, Lemesos District and Pegeia, Kannaviou, Drymou,
            Choulou, Kritou Marotou and Tsada, Pafos District.
            Peach festival at Kato Mylos.
            Carob harvest begins.
            Summer events at Spillia – Kourdali villge, Lefkosia.
            Cultural August – Pano Platres, Polystipos.
            “Cultural Festival of Southern Marathasa” (Troodos Mountains),
            Lemesos district, organised by the communities of Prodromos, Kaminaria,
            Treis Elies, Agios Dimitrios, Palaiomylos and Lemithou.
            “Cultural Festival” in Pelendri village, Lemesos District.
            “Pafia Aphrodite Festival”, Kouklia village, Pafos.
            Cultural Festival of Agros village, Lemesos District.
            Annual Cultural Festival at Pervolia village, Larnaka.
            Summer Nights in Polis.
            Agia Napa Summer Cultural Events.
            Food & dancing feasts in almost all villages across the island the week
            including the 15th of August (Dormition of Virgin Mary).

September
     7&8    Nativity of the Virgin Mary Day fairs at Kykkos and
            Chrysorrogiatissa Monasteries and at Panagia Iamatiki Church
            at Arakapas, Lemesos District.
            Tamassia: Cultural events at Tamassos, Lefkosia District.
            Traditional food and Cyprus wine, Pitsilia Area, Troodos.
            Open day at the donkey sanctuary, Vouni, Lemesos District.
            Palouze (grape desert) festival at Vouni, Lemesos District.
  21 & 22   Agios Fokas day fair at Athienou, Larnaka District.
            Palouze (grape desert) festival at Arsos, Lemesos District.
            Wine Festival, Krassochoria villages, Lemesos District.



                                                                                      47
                       Fairs at Mammari and Astromeritis, Lefkosia District.
                       Palouze (grape desert) festival at Vasa Koilaniou, Lemesos District.
                       Start of the grape harvest.
                       Pastelli Festival at Anogyra village, Lemesos District.
                       Birdwatching trips.
                       Palouze Fair at Vouni village, Lemesos district, tel. 25943343.
                       Agia Napa Annual Festival.
                       European Heritage Day.

          October
            3&4        Agios Ioannis Lampadistis Day festival at Kalopanagiotis, Lefkosia District.
                       Afamia Grape and Wine festival at Koilani, Lemesos District.
           17 &18      Agios Loukas Day fairs at Kolossi and Koilani, Lemesos District,
                       Aradippou, Larnaka District and Korakou, Lefkosia District.
                       Palouze (grape desert) festival at Polystipos, Lefkosia District.
                       Birdwatching trips.
                       Start of green olive harvest.

       November
           2&3         Festival at Agios Georgios Mavrovouno Monastery, Troulloi.
           7&8         Feast of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel fairs at Archangelos
                       Michael Monastery at Anthoupolis, Lefkosia and Agios Michael church
                       at Analiontas, Lefkosia District.
          20 & 21      Fair celebrating the Virgin Mary at Agros.
                       Birdwaching trips.
                       Musical Sundays, organised by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.
                       Agia Napa Cultural Winter.
       December
             25        Christmas.
                       Christmas Festivities, Agia Napa.
                       Agia Napa Cultural Winter.
                       Christmas Celebrations, Deryneia.
                       Agia Napa New Year’s Eve Celebrations.
                       Harvesting of black olives and making of olive oil.
                       Lambing season begins.
     Note:
     The official website of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation provides comprehensive information
     on the updated calendar of events, www.visitcyprus.com



48
49
                 REFERENCE

              TOWN

              VILLAGE
GERMASOGEIA   MUNICIPALITY

              LOCALITY NAME

              LINE OF AREA UNDER
              TURK. OCCUP. SINCE 1974

              CHURCH / MONASTERY

              UNESCO SITE

              ANCIENT SITE

              MUSEUM

              ACCOMODATION IN
              RURAL AREAS

              HIKING

              CYCLING

              ANGLING

              VAHKIS TAVERN

              SALT LAKE / DAM

              THEMATIC PARK

              FLORA 1 (FLAT)

              FLORA 2 (MOUNTAINOUS)
                     Route1
      The Southeast
     Area (Kokkinochoria-
              Red Soil villages)
                Distance: approximately 100 kilometres
                  ñ Mainly agricultural with tourist hot spots
                                               along the coast
           ñ Interesting village churches and small museums
                                  ñ Good, easy, cycling routes
                                  ñ Good bird-watching areas
             ñ Dramatic coastal scenery with splendid walks
                                            ñ Accommodation
               Leave the Larnaka/Agia Napa motorway
                 at the exit for Xylotymvou and go left
                onto the E303. Pass Xylotymvou village
                        on your right and turn left onto
                      a road signposted to Agios Rafail
                     and Agia Marina. Here you will find
                         a cluster of eight churches, one of
                              which - the little 15th century
                                   barrel-vaulted convent of
                             Agia Marina with its cloistered
                                    garden - is worth a visit.
                          You will find this beside the large
                             modern church of Agios Rafail.
           Continue on the E303. This area is the eastern
                  end of the fertile central plain (Mesaoria).
                  Here, wheat and barley grow in the fields
                        on either side of you during winter.
                   After 8.5 kilometres, turn right at a road
              signposted ‘Avgorou 1km’ and you will come
                     to Akhna Dam. A popular angling and
                   birdwatching spot, the dam is part of the
            Southern Conveyor Project, which brings water
52
to the area. The hides are on the opposite side
(drive across the top of the dam).
A little further on is the 16th century church
of Agios Georgios Teratsiotis.
Continue on this road to the small




                                                     N
                                              W          E
                                                     S

agricultural village of Avgorou, in the centre
of which is a large, modern church. Opposite is
a tiny park, behind which is a small domed
church dedicated to the Panagia (the BV Mary).
Close by are two fine examples of the
stone-built houses of the region. Also of interest
is the small domed church of Agios Georgios
with its low belfry decorated with bas-relief.
The Ethnographical (Folk Art) Museum, housed
in a beautifully restored house, is a short
distance away.
                                                             53
     Go onto the F306 for Frenaros.                     towards the cemetery. The church is about
     The cornfields will give way to fields of red      a kilometre down this road.
     soil planted with potatoes, carrots and
                                                        As you enter Deryneia village centre,
     kolocassi (a root vegetable akin to the
                                                        go left at the signpost ‘Deryneia
     Polynesian taro, with huge elephant-ear
                                                        Folkloric Museum’. After 100 metres,
     leaves) and citrus groves.
                                                        park. Walk down the road to the small
     Frenaros is at the heart of the                    church of the Panagia (the Virgin).
     Kokkinochoria. It has some attractive              There are some fine examples of local
     traditional houses with courtyards and             architecture in the small streets around the
     arches. For many years, it was a centre of         church. The Folkloric Museum is nearby.
                                                        This small museum gives a very good
                                                        picture of rural domestic life of times past
                                                        but for a look at the more recent history
                                                        of the island, a visit to the Cultural Centre
                                                        of Occupied Famagusta is a must. Also
                                                        worth visiting is the old church of Agios
                                                        Georgios, which is nearby. As Deryneia is
                                                        on a main tourist route, there are plenty
                                                        of restaurants and coffee shops.
                                                        To leave, drive past the church of the
                                                        Panagia and take the first left turn.
                                                        Go left again, then right at the signpost
                                                        for Sotira, onto the F316.
     basket weaving, particularly the large deep
                                                        Sotira is a large agricultural village with
     baskets in which potatoes were
                                                        fine examples of rural architecture.
     transported. At the entrance to the
                                                        Go left onto a narrow road about 350
     village, go left onto the F305 and drive
                                                        metres after you pass the 50kph sign
     to the village centre. Go left to the
                                                        at the village entrance.
     mediaeval Archangelos Michael church,
                                                        Ahead are several windmills for which the
     which has two domes. There are some
                                                        area is renowned. Go left at the fork in the
     interesting old houses around the narrow
                                                        road and you will come to the elegant little
     streets of this village. In the car again, drive
                                                        church of Agios Mamas, which is possibly
     back onto the main street, and head for
                                                        12th century but rebuilt in the 15th
     Deryneia. Before you leave Frenaros, you
                                                        century. Several examples of mud-brick
     can take a side trip to the tiny Agios
                                                        dwellings are nearby. Head for the
     Andronikos church that stands alone in the
                                                        Metamorphosis (Transfiguration) Church.
     middle of fields. To get there, go right




54
The age of the church is unknown but            the Panagia Agia Anna. An unusual feature
reconstruction took place in 1553.              of this church is the vaulting, which is
Large trees almost hide the building.           decorated with porcelain plates, mostly
There is also a small ecclesiastical museum     from the 18th century.
nearby.
                                                To leave, go right at the end of the
To leave Sotira, go onto the E304 just          paved area and follow the one-way
after a right bend in the road. Pass the        system, going left at the sign for the
dried bed of Paralimni Lake on your left        E305 and B3. This will bring you back
and go straight ahead. Follow the signs for     to the traffic lights. Go left and then
the town centre and town hall, and park by      left again at the roundabout,
the big church.                                 signposted to Protaras. Go right at the
                                                next roundabout, signposted to Profitis
                                                Ilias. Down the hill you will see the tiny
                                                church of Profitis Ilias standing on a rocky
                                                outcrop. The church is modern but built
                                                on the foundations of an old one. The view
                                                from the top is wonderful, if you feel like
                                                climbing 100 steps!
                                                Go right onto the E306. You are now
                                                at the beach resort of Protaras.
                                                Go left at the sign for Cavo Gkreko.
                                                Head up the hill and, turn left at a
                                                small sign directing you to the beach.
Paralimni means ‘beside the lake’.              The winding road takes you down to a
In the early part of the last century, the      lovely cove known as Konnos. You are
lake was drained as part of an anti-malaria     now in the Cavo Gkreko (Cape Greco)
project and a dam was built in 1964.            National Forest Park, which covers
Paralimni is the administrative centre of the   an area of 385 hectares and includes car
Kokkinochoria, with a police headquarters,      parks, cycling lanes and nine nature trails.
hospital, hypermarket and a good shopping
                                                At Konnos Bay, huge limestone rocks
area. There are cafés and restaurants
                                                lend a peculiar wildness to the scenery.
around the paved square.
                                                Pine, acacia and cypresses cover the almost
Next to the large Agios Georgios church
                                                vertical slope leading down to the sea.
is an old church dedicated to the same
                                                There are seats where you can sit in the
saint and dating from the 19th century.
                                                shade and a small café is nearby.
Beside that is the tiny domed Church of




                                                                                               55
     The windmills that can still                    wild garlic, mallow, anemones and
                                                     ranunculus carpet the hillside. Kotschy’s
     be seen dotting the countryside                 bee orchid (Ophrys kotschyi) can also be
     in this area were once used                     found here.

     to draw water from the ground
     for agricultural irrigation.
     Most of them are no longer
     in use.
     Go back to the main road. Turn left at
     the signpost ‘F314 Cavo Gkreko’.
     Approximately 300 metres along this road
     you can take a side trip to the small chapel
     of Agioi Anargyroi and an impressive
     sea-cave beneath it. It is not possible to
     drive all the way to the promontory, as the
     land is fenced off, so drive as far as the
     fence, park your car and enjoy the beauty
     of the area with its towering vertical cliffs
     and rock shelves. The crystal clear water
     is a paradise for scuba diving and
     snorkelling. There is always a fresh cool
     breeze blowing along the cape, no matter
     how hot the weather.
     Drive back to the main road, follow the
     sign for Agia Napa and after a few
                                                     Rejoin the main road to Agia Napa and
     metres, take the second road to the
                                                     go left at the signpost ‘Thalassa Agia
     left (the dirt road), signposted ‘Parking
                                                     Napa Museum’. Stay on this road, and
     Place, View Point’. This takes you to a
                                                     you will see the museum on your left at
     car park, from which you can walk up onto
                                                     a crossroads. The museum, which is open
     the top of the crag. There is an impressive
                                                     7-days a week, houses an impressive
     modern statue of sea birds in flight at the
                                                     collection of maritime and sea-faring life.
     viewpoint, and you can look down to the
                                                     Walk two hundred metres along the main
     lighthouse to your left and sea caves to
                                                     street from the museum to get to the Agia
     your right. Cape Greco is renowned for
                                                     Napa Monastery.
     wild flowers in the spring; irises, gladioli,



56
The local authorities in this                   Napa, then the signs for the Thalassa
                                                Museum, going left at the ‘Stop’ sign. When
area are extremely active in                    you get to the bottom of the hill the
organising both winter and                      Museum will be opposite you. Go right and
                                                you are now back on the route.
summer events for visitors                      For those who don’t want to take
and local people.                               the side trip, drive for approximately
                                                6.5 kilometres from the traffic lights,
Back in your car, drive to the                  and turn left at the signpost to Agia
Monastery junction and go left.                 Thekla Church. This little white church
To visit the picturesque harbour, with its      perched on a small hill by the seashore is a
fishing boats and cafés, go straight at the     former monastery that was built on a much
traffic lights. From the harbour area, a        earlier Byzantine site. A few metres south
paved footpath runs all the way to Agia         of the chapel is the saint’s shrine, which
Thekla to the west and almost to Cavo           is cut out of the solid rock. Local legend
Gkreko to the east. If you give the             says that it is the foundation of a Christian
harbour a miss, go right at the traffic         basilica from around the 6th century AD
lights onto the E309, signposted to             but no evidence supports this claim.
Xylofagou.                                      Back on the main road, go left at the
Dedicated walkers and nature lovers can         sign ‘Potamos Liopetriou’.
take a side trip to an unspoiled area on the    Potamos (Liopetriou) is the only creek
outskirts of the town. After 2.5 kilometres,    in Cyprus. There is a beach of fine white
turn right at the sign for Xylofagou, go        sand near the picturesque small fishermen’s
over the motorway bridge and join the           church and the remains of a Venetian
motorway, heading towards Paralimni.            watchtower. Along the length of the creek,
After approximately 1 kilometre, leave the      which is a fishing haven with several
motorway at an exit that has no signposts,      restaurants, you will come across many
just the word ‘Exit’. This brings you into an   small boats laden with brightly coloured
uncultivated area, through which part of        baskets and nets.
the European Path E4 passes (See Section
                                                Return to the main road, go over the
1, Chapter 7, Countryside Activities).
                                                motorway to Liopetri. The village car
There are no designated routes here,
                                                park is opposite a restored stone building
you can just wander at will. In the spring,
                                                known as the ‘Akhyronas Barn’, a national
the area is renowned for its profusion of
                                                memorial to four heroes of the island’s
wild flowers.
                                                struggle for liberation.
To get back on the route, re-join the
                                                Liopetri is famous for its potatoes. In the
motorway and follow the signs for Agia
                                                village square, there are several coffee


                                                                                                57
     shops (kafenion) and the mediaeval church         is dedicated to Our Lady of the Forests.
     of Panagia Eleousa, built in Byzantine style.     The monastery was built around a church,
     This large domed building has two belfries,       possibly from the 8th or 9th century,
     arches and a vaulted ceiling. The streets in      whose sanctuary was a rock-cut chamber,
     this area afford some good examples of            inside which there is still a well containing
     rural architecture.                               water. To the right of the imposing
                                                       gateway is a two-storey gatehouse, whose
     Leave the village and head for
                                                       boar’s head fountain is thought to be
     Xylofagou. Stay on this road until you
                                                       Roman. The gatehouse and the octagonal
     come to a T-junction. Turn right onto
                                                       marble fountain-house in the courtyard
     the B3, signposted ‘Dekelia’. At the
                                                       may have been part of a private house.
     small roundabout, go left and beside a large
                                                       The monastery fell into disuse in 1790 and
     new church, you will see the 16th century
                                                       it now houses the Agia Napa Conference
     domed church of Agios Georgios.
                                                       Centre, serving various churches in the
     Near the village of Xylofagou, in a vertical      Middle East and the local Anglican and
     cliff east of Cape Pyla, is a labyrinthine cave   German communities worship at the small
     known as ‘The Cave of the Forty Martyrs’.         chapel in the gatehouse. The two
     Here, according to local legend, forty            magnificent trees in front of the monastery
     martyrs of Orthodoxy were buried. The             are the sycamore figs (Ficus sycamorus)
     Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia were Christian         of the Bible and are reputed to be more
     soldiers in the Roman army who chose              than six hundred years old. These trees
     to die rather than renounce their faith.          were included in a famous poem by the
     Fossilised bones from a much earlier              Nobel Prize winner, George Seferis.
     period have also been found in the cave
                                                       “Thalassa” Agia Napa Municipal Museum
     and these are believed to be those of
                                                       of the Sea
     animals long extinct. The cliff is about forty
                                                       Monday 9:00-13:00,
     metres high, and the cave entrance is
                                                       Tuesday - Saturday 9:00-17:00
     twelve metres above sea level. Any attempt
                                                       (October - May)
     to enter the cave is dangerous and
                                                       Tuesday - Saturday 9:00-13:00, 18:00-22:00
     therefore not recommended. Nevertheless,
                                                       (June - September)
     it’s a nice story on which to end a tour
     of the Kokkinochoria.                             Deyneia Folkroric Museum
                                                       Monday - Saturday 9:00-17:00
     To rejoin the motorway, go back to the
     village roundabout and go left. Then go           Avgorou Ethographic Museum
     left at the sign for Larnaka and Agia             Monday - Friday 08:30-13:30,
     Napa. This road will take you back to the         Wednesday - Thursday 16:00-18:00
     motorway.                                         (June - October)
     Agia Napa Monastery dates from the                15:00-17:00 (November - May)
     Venetian rule in Cyprus (1489 -1571) and



58
Thalassa Agia Napa Municipal Museum of the Sea




                                                 59
      Route 2 The
     Central Plain
            Distance: approximately 80 kilometres
           ñ Arable and livestock farmlands with small
                         agricultural towns and villages
           ñ Interesting geological features and terrain
                   ñ Excellent easy walking and cycling
                   ñ Monasteries and ancient churches
            ñ Traditional architecture and village crafts
       Leave the Agia Napa motorway at exit 57,
                 go right onto the E301 to Kellia,
                and take the left fork at the signpost
              to Agios Antonios. ‘Kellia’ means cells,
                      indicating that the 9th century
                      Agios Antonios church may be
                  on the site of an older monastery,
                   or that this was an area favoured
                        by hermits. Go back to the
                        main road and as you drive
                    through the village, you will pass
                             an old stone water tank
                                        on your right.
        As you drive towards Troulloi the surrounding
        countryside is completely barren, however it is
       interesting as the changing colours of the rocks
       show the various mineral deposits. There is the
      cleft of an old mine in the hillside to the right of
      the road about 3.5 kms after Kellia. Go right at
        the signpost to Agios Georgios Monastery,
        which is in a palm grove to your left. Originally
         built in the 9th century, the recently restored

60
monastery gets the name Mavrovouni (Black
Mountain) from the dark hillsides surrounding it.
It is open seven-days a week and the friendly
monks welcome visitors.




                                                     N
                                                W        E
                                                     S

Signs suggest that the extraction of copper ore
in this area began in pre-Christian times and
between 1935 and 1939 many tons of
gold-bearing ore were extracted.
Copper is no longer exploited here but umber
is still processed at the village and you will see
the umber works on your left as you leave the
monastery to re-join the main road and
go right.



                                                         61
     As you enter Troulloi village square, you        opposite the old market building.
     will see the 16th century church of Agios        The ancient city kingdom of Golgoi is to
     Mamas to your right. The key is kept at the      the northwest of the village.
     priest’s house behind the church. A walk
                                                      To leave, follow the signs for Lefkosia
     round the streets of the village will reveal
                                                      (Nicosia) and, a hundred metres after
     many fine examples of architecture typical
                                                      the t-junction, you can take a side trip
     of southeast Cyprus.
                                                      by going left and driving to the
     Leave the village on the road to the             abandoned village of Petrofani.
     left of the square, signpost ‘Avdellero          Sheep and goats now occupy the old
     E4’. This takes you through olive groves         mud-brick houses but you can see how
     and cornfields. At the end of this road,         these buildings were built hundreds
     birdwatchers keen to see goldfinches,            of years ago. A further two kilometres
     can take a side trip by going left at the        will take you to a place called Malloura,
     signpost to a Monastery.                         where remnants of the late Roman and
                                                      the Frankish periods, including a head
     The main route goes right to
                                                      of Apollo, who was worshipped here,
     Avdellero, a tiny village full of old
                                                      have been unearthed.
     mud-brick and stone houses. To leave,
     take the road that you passed on your            Back on the main road, go left and,
     way into the village (the signpost to            after 8.5 kilometres, go right onto
     Athienou is in Greek). As you climb              the A2 and drive to Dali, passing the
     through the stark landscape, there are           village of Lympia on your right.
     open views back towards the coast. As you        At the roundabout at the entrance to
     descend, the terrain changes to fertile fields   Dali, go left and left again to the site
     in which fodder crops of grain and alfalfa       of Ancient Idalion once an important city-
     grow for the livestock that produces the         kingdom. The site is still under excavation,
     milk for which Athienou is famed.                you can see much of the dig, including
                                                      an ancient olive press, from the track
     Athienou is a small township, notable for
                                                      surrounding it. Local legend associates
     its interesting houses. It is renowned for its
                                                      Idalion with Aphrodite and her lover,
     yoghurt, halloumi and roasted peanuts.
                                                      Adonis, who is said to have been killed by a
     There are several modern bakeries
                                                      boar nearby as he awaited a tryst with the
     producing the famous ‘Athienitiko’ bread,
                                                      goddess.
     cooked on stones. The patron saint of
     Athienou is Agios Fokas and the village has      Go back to the main road and go right.
     the only church to his name in Cyprus.           At the roundabout go straight ahead
     To reach it, go right behind Agios Georgios      to the small Byzantine church of Agios
     church and you will find it on your right,       Demetrianos. This charming little church




62
is a delightful place to visit. On the west     Pyrga is in a valley overshadowed by
wall, there is an interesting ‘donor’ picture   Stavrovouni mountain. The tiny royal
which is dated 1317 and shows the donor         chapel of Agia Ekaterina is on your right
of the church and his wife kneeling             as you enter the village. The church is a
in prayer.                                      Franco-Byzantine building of 1421,
Note: Although not listed on this route,        embodying a fragment of Lusignan history.
                                                It contains portraits of the Lusignan King
the area around Dhali has many interesting
churches, such as the one at Agios              Janus and Queen Charlotte, which have
                                                inscriptions in the French languages.
Sozomenos, which is a rock cave that was
once inhabited by a hermit called               On leaving the village, you will see a good
                                                example of terraced forestation on your
Sozomenos. Just below the cave,
amid the ruins of an abandoned village,         left. The landscape is lowland forest with
                                                pine and thickets of tall shrubs.
is an impressive Gothic structure. Built
during mediaeval times, this church was         Go right onto the E104 at the end
dedicated to St, Mammas, but was never          of the road and follow the signs for
completed.                                      Larnaka. Drive along the Psevdas
Go back to the roundabout, go straight          bypass to Agia Anna. This tiny village has
along the Dali bypass and at the end            attractive houses built in traditional style,
of the road, go left, and immediately           many of which are restored. There is also
                                                a Vakhis Project taverna serving authentic
right at the sign to Agioi Apostoloi.
                                                local cuisine.
Stay on the main road through the
village of Pera Chorio, following signs         The main agricultural products of this area
to the church. The church of the Holy           are olives and carobs. As you drive
Apostles dates from the 12th century and        towards the next village, the valley of the
contains some of the best frescoes from         river Tremithos is on your right.
that period. The key can be obtained at the     As you near Kalo Chorio, you will see
last house on the left.                         livestock farms and a chain of wells either
Return to the main road and go right            side of the road.
on the B1. A side trip can be taken to the      The road to the motorway for
Monastery of Agia Thekla by taking a small      travellers from Lefkosia (Nicosia),
road to the left just after the crossroads      Agia Napa and the Larnaka tourist
at Mosfiloti. On the main route, go left        area is to the left after the large
at the sign for Pyrga. To your right is         church. Travellers from Lemesos
Kornos, where, during the summer                (Limassol), Pafos and Larnaka town
months, women make flowerpots, water            should stay on the E104 to the
jugs and other items with clay from the         roundabout.
surrounding area.



                                                                                                63
      Route 3
       Larnaka
     West Coast
           Distance: approximately 80 kilometres
         ñ A quiet area, famous for its market garden
                       produce, melons and citrus fruit
          ñ Delightful well-kept villages and fascinating
                                            ancient sites
                            ñ Famous Byzantine mosaic
     ñ Excellent easy walking and cycling along gentle
                                    hills and farm roads
                 ñ Mainly undeveloped pebble beaches
                             with some tiny sandy bays
                           ñ Good bird-watching areas
                                      ñ Accommodation

                    Drive towards Larnaka airport
                      from the roundabout at the
                                    junction of the
                      Larnaka-Lemesos (Limassol)
                           and Larnaka-Agia Napa
                     motorways and go left at the
                        sign to Hala Sultan Tekke.
          The Hala Sultan Tekke stands surrounded
       by palms and cedars overlooking the Salt Lake.
      It is one of the most important shrines in Islam
         and is reputed to be the burial place of Umm
        Haram, a relative of the Prophet Mohammed,
     who was killed in a fall from her horse during an
     Arab raid in the 7th century AD. The octagonal
        mosque, built in 1816, is considered the finest
          example of Ottoman architecture in Cyprus.
                 The Tekke and its grounds have been
                                 completely renovated.
64
In winter, the Salt Lake, which is one of the
two main wetlands in Cyprus, is home to
colonies of flamingos and other migratory birds.
The lake is below sea level and seawater seeping
in through the porous lime rocks leaves a thick




                                                    N
                                               W        E
                                                    S
deposit of salt as it dries out. The Salt Lake is
on the Ramsar list as a wetland of international
importance.
Leave the Tekke, double back round the
airport roundabout and follow the signs
for Kiti. Birdwatchers can take a side trip to an
extension of the Salt Lake known as Spiros’ Pool
and the hide at the Water Treatment plant by
going left in Meneou village at the sign for
Meneou Beach.

                                                        65
     In Kiti, go right at the sign to                  road, you get an excellent view of
     Angeloktisi Church and then first left.           Stavrovouni Monastery on its solitary peak
     The Byzantine church of Panagia                   to your right. As you approach Alaminos,
     Angeloktisi (Built by the Angels) was built       behind a modern house on your left is a
     around 1,000 AD on 5th century ruins.             good example of a rural two-storey
     It was rebuilt in the 12th century and has        farmhouse with upper and lower arches.
     later additions. It contains a rare and very      On your right is the recently reconstructed
     impressive 6th century mosaic of the Virgin       Alaminos tower. Alaminos was the fief
     and Child, flanked by the Archangels              of Philip of Ibelin during the Frankish or
     Michael and Gabriel with peacock-feather          Lusignan Period (1192 – 1489AD) and this
     wings. The church is open daily, closing          and similar keeps at Xylofagou, Pyla and
     between noon and 14:00 hrs.                       Kiti are thought to have been watchtowers
                                                       from that period or the later Venetian one.
     Back at the main road, go left and
     head for Mazotos. At Mazotos you                  The sheep pens on the approach road
     can visit the museum of the self-taught           to Kofinou indicate its dairy industry.
     contemporary artist Costas Argyrou.               Drive through the village, go left at the
     On the way the road is bordered by flat           main B1 road and take the left turn
     farmland with the sea in the distance to          for Agios Theodoros at the bridge
     your left. A camel park and petrol station        in the valley. The north side of Agios
     are on your left at the junction of the road      Theodoros is abandoned but the remains
     to Mazotos. Go straight ahead on the              of the stone houses are picturesque.
     road towards Zygi. This is a market               After bypassing the village, go left at the
     gardening area, with fields of tomatoes,          t-junction and drive to the coast through
     artichokes and cucumbers growing in the           the rugged Pentaschoinos valley, where
     rich alluvial soil of the valleys of the rivers   dark cliffs overhang the road and orange
     Xeropotamos, Pentaschoinos and Maroni.            groves fill the river valley. At the coast,
                                                       go right and drive to Zygi.
     This is a great area for
                                                       These days Zygi is famous for its fish
     leisure cyclists. The terrain                     taverns but in the past it was a busy little
                                                       port and camel trains used to bring carobs
     is relatively flat and the
                                                       for storage in the large stone warehouses
     roads and farm tracks are                         to await export. The pier is derelict but
                                                       the village and warehouses are undergoing
     uncongested.                                      considerable restoration.
     After about four kilometres, go right at
                                                       Leave by taking the road beside the
     the sign for Alaminos. Look carefully
                                                       white church, signposted to Maroni
     because the sign is not clear. From this



66
and go right before two large concrete         Archaeological Museum (See Section 1,
water cisterns on a hill.                      Chapter 3, Cultural Heritage).
As you approach the village, go right,
                                               To leave, follow the signs for Nicosia
cross the dry bed of the river Maroni
                                               (Lefkosia) and go right to
and go left. Go right after the old
                                               Psematismenos, a compact little
church and left at the end of the road.
                                               settlement with traditional architecture.
Go left at the old stone house and into
                                               At the main road go left, and then
the village centre.
                                               go right onto the F116 at the signpost
                                               to Tochni.
                                               Tochni is a picturesque village straddling a
                                               gully. On the bridge in the centre is the
                                               19th century Timios Stavros church that
                                               stands on the site of a 4th century once
                                               said to have been founded by St Helena to
                                               house a piece of the True Cross. Tochni is
                                               a very popular area with hikers and cyclists
                                               and has rural accommodation. Cross the
                                               bridge, go right and at the end of the
                                               road go left onto the E133 to
                                               Choirokoitia.
                                               Turn right into the village at the sign
                                               for Agios Iakovos church. The postal
                                               agency and grocery store in the square
                                               opposite the church are in traditional
                                               buildings. To leave, go to the left of the
                                               church back down to the E133,
             Hala Sultan Tekkesi
                                               signposted to Vavla. After 200 metres
The narrow streets of Maroni give you          go left at the sign for Panagia tou
a glimpse of some impressive traditional       Kampou and go right at the fork.
architecture. There is an archaeological dig   This will take you to the site of the castle,
on the southern outskirts of the village,      where on 7 July 1426 the Marmelukes
where traces of a settlement from the 16th     defeated the army of King Janus, the
century BC and an ancient olive press have     Frankish king of Cyprus. All that is left are
been unearthed. Forty-five stone anchors       the remains of a barrel-vaulted room.
were recovered from the sea near the site,     The left fork takes you to the small church
some of which are now in the Larnaka           of Panagia tou Kampou (our Lady of the
                                               Field), which is usually open. Go back to


                                                                                               67
     the E133 and go right to the Neolithic          Choirokoitia, a Neolithic settlement
     site of Choirokoitia.                           surrounded by a stone wall, is one of the
     Leave the settlement, go to the main            oldest excavated settlements in Cyprus.
     B1 road and join the Larnaka - Lemesos          Remains show that by 6,800 BC, it’s two
     (Limassol) motorway at junction 14.             thousand or so inhabitants lived in
                                                     beehive-shaped huts of stone and clay.
     Stavrovouni Monastery (Mountain of the          Many of the houses had under-floor graves
     Holy Cross, mediaeval Santa Croc) sits          where the dead were laid to rest in the
     atop a steep 750m peak that was called          foetal position surrounded by gifts and
     Olympus in ancient times and where a            personal effects. The settlement was built
     temple to Aphrodite stood. The monastery        on an easily defensible hillside and
     dates back to 327 when, legend tells us, the    surrounded by a wall. The Choirokoitians
     ship carrying St Helena, mother of              were well-organised goat breeders, who
     Constantine the Great, home from                cultivated the land and there is evidence
     Jerusalem with the True Cross and the           of spinning, weaving and pottery.
     Cross of the Penitent Thief, ran before a       Flint sickle blades, figurines of fertility gods
     storm to the coast of Cyprus.                   and stone vases have been excavated, as
     The holy woman dreamt that a young man          well as necklaces of shells and cornelian.
     instructed her to build many churches on        Houses have been constructed near the
     the island. On waking, she discovered that      site as a pointer to how the people lived.
     the Cross of the Penitent Thief had             Steps and a series of walkways enable
     miraculously transported itself to the top      visitors to see main points of the
     of the mountain, so she built Stavrovouni       settlement and signs describe the key
     church in which to house it.                    features of each area. Many of the finds are
     The monastery contains a large wooden           exhibited in the Cyprus Museum in
     15th century cross minutely carved with         Lefkosia (Nicosia) and the Larnaka District
     scenes from the life of Christ. It is encased   Archaeological Museum. The site is a
     in a silver reliquary that also contains what   UNESCO World Cultural and Natural
     is believed to be a sliver of the True Cross.   Heritage Site.
     Stavrovouni is a working religious
     community of monks who follow the               Open daily 09:00-17:00 Nov-Feb;
     ascetic principles of Mount Athos.              0900-1800 Mar, Apr, Sept, Oct;
     Although women are not allowed to enter,        09:00-19:30 May - August
     the views from the monastery are
     spectacular.
     September-March: 08:00-12:00
     and 14:00-17:00
     April - March: 08:00-12:00 and 15:00-18:00



68
Choirokoitia Neolithic Site




                              69
                          Route 4
      Lefkara
            Area
           Distance: approximately 75 kilometres
                       ñ Traditional hill villages famous
                        for lace-making and silverware
                        ñ Many olive and citrus groves,
                  as well as almond and fruit orchards
                   ñ Good walking and cycling country
                with stunning views down to the coast
                                 ñ Interesting churches,
                       monasteries and an ancient site
                            ñ Plenty of accommodation

          Leave the Larnaka – Lemesos motorway
                    at exit 13 and go onto the E105,
                               signposted to Skarinou.
                             This village, which has rural
                   accommodation in renovated village
                      houses, is to your left before you
                      climb the chalky ridge to Lefkara.
                              Go right at the signpost
                     to Kato Lefkara and drive to the
                          village centre. Wandering the
          meandering streets of the tiny village reveals
     good examples of the area’s architecture: houses
               built with horizontal layers of limestone
      interspersed with pebbles. There is a wonderful
      view from the tiny church of Archangelos in the
     field below the square. The church houses some
                          superb 12th century frescoes.

                    Leave by following the sign for
       Pano Lefkara. A side trip to Dipotamos Dam,
            which is a popular angling site and where
70
birdwatchers can often see black storks
and pelicans, goes from this road.
The main route follows the one-way system
through the narrow streets of Pano Lefkara
to the car park near the schools.




                                                      N
                                               W          E
                                                      S
Pano Lefkara today is a small township with a
couple of hotels, restaurants, banks and a petrol
station. The village is famed for lace and filigree
silverwork and in years gone by, the women
made the lace and their husbands travelled the
world to sell it. See Section 1, Chapter 4,
Rural crafts and skills. The houses here are
not those of farmers but the homes
of merchants and artisans. The houses are
stone-built, some with doorways providing
glimpses of flower-filled and vine-covered
                                                          71
     courtyards, while others are two-storey       mansions, of which the first house on the
     colour washed residences with balconies       left is a very fine example. The village also
     and intricately patterned tiled floors.       has its own rural museum.
     The women still sit in the street to do
                                                   As you continue on the road to Vavla,
     their needlework and the silversmiths’
                                                   you will come to Agios Minas, a small
     workshop doors are open to view.
                                                   monastery founded in the 15th century.
     A beautiful stone building houses the Lace
                                                   Today the nuns paint icons, grow flowers
     and Silverware Museum. There is also
                                                   and keep bees and the delicious honey they
     an interesting waxwork museum.
                                                   harvest is on sale. Across the road from
     The panoramic view from the churchyard
                                                   the monastery is the eye-catching garden
     at the bottom end of the village is
                                                   of the tiny church of Agioi Damian and
     exceptional in early spring when the valley
                                                   Cosmas.
     is full of blossoming almond trees.
                                                   The nearby village of Vavla has lovely
     Apart from its famous lace                    stone houses, some of which have been
                                                   renovated for use by visitors. On entering
     and silver work, Lefkara                      Vavla, go right and follow the signs
     village is also well known for                for Lagia (Layia).

     its architecture. It is one of                Lagia sits in a picturesque landscape of
                                                   olives, low forest and scrub. Its population
     the few villages in Cyprus                    has steadily declined over the years and
                                                   many of the houses are now holiday
     where the houses are built
                                                   homes. Go left at the signpost to Ora.
     almost entirely of local white                Ora is best known for its excellent water,
     stone, which contrasts                        which is bottled and sold commercially.
                                                   At the church, go left, signposted
     beautifully with the terra cotta              ‘Melini’, go left again at the main road
     roofs.                                        and drive to Odou.

     To leave, follow the exit signs through       The village of Odou is one of the most
     the upper village and, at the cross-          attractive villages in Cyprus. Olive and
     roads, go ahead onto the main road.           peach trees surround it and fill the valley
     Before going right to Kato Drys, stop and     below. There is an area called
     look back across the roofs of Pano Lefkara.   Chelidonomoutti that is the home
                                                   of swallows during part of the year and
     Kato Drys, another lace-making village
                                                   nightingales sing in the valley near
     is tiny and appears to have more churches
                                                   an old well.
     than houses. These again are merchants’



72
Drive back the way you came and go                Australia during British colonial rule to help
right onto the F123 at the signpost to            drain marshland in the drive to eradicate
Melini. This tiny village still has a tradition   malaria.
of lace-making and is also mentioned in the
                                                  At the entrance to Kellaki, go left
life of Agios Irakleidios, which suggests that
                                                  (signposted to Parekklisia). The hilltop
it was a settlement during the 1st century
                                                  church of Agios Georgios is up a steep
AD. At Melini, go left and head for
                                                  path to your left. Follow the signs for
Eptagonia.
                                                  Lemesos and go left at the sign to
                                                  Sanida. The viewpoint 250 metres along
                                                  is well worth a stop, as from it the
                                                  panoramic serrated skyline stretches from
                                                  Troodos to the Machairas mountains.
                                                  Go left again at the signpost to Sanida.
                                                  The monastery of Zoodochou Pighis is to
                                                  your left. Pass the hamlet of Vasa on
                                                  your left and head for Asgata.
                                                  Carobs used to be the chief crop at
                                                  Asgata but its main wealth came from
                                                  the surrounding copper mines. Go right
The farmers at Eptagonia (or Eftagonia)           at the crossroads in the village,
cultivate citrus fruits, particularly             signposted to Monagrouli, and then go
mandarins. The name of the village means          left onto the F137. As you approach
‘seven corners’ - so here goes!                   Kalavasos, there is a very deep valley to
Go right at the first junction, then go           your left.
left after 50 metres; after a further             At the ‘Stop’ sign at the entrance to
100 metres go right (opposite the                 Kalavasos, you can take a side trip to
church) and go left after a further 20            Kalavasos Dam by taking the road to your
metres. Go left at the ‘Stop’ sign and            left. The beautiful dam is very popular with
follow the signs for Lemesos (Limassol).          anglers, while the surrounding area is good
No, you didn’t go round all seven.                hiking and riding country.
On your way to Kellaki, you will travel           On the main route, go through the very
through an area of citrus, almond and olive       narrow streets with the overhanging
groves with tall eucalyptus trees in the          balconies of the mine managers’ houses.
riverbed to your left. Although seen all          Some of the traditional houses in the
over the island, eucalyptus trees are not         village are now holiday accommodation.
endemic. They were brought here from              The square has some well-preserved old



                                                                                                   73
74
buildings, one of which houses a small          Continue down the road, under the
archaeological and mining museum.               motorway and go left on the B1 to join
As you leave Kalavasos, you will come to a      the Larnaka – Lemesos (Limassol)
small park to your right, behind which are      motorway at junction 15.
a small train and carriage on a metal bridge.
                                                Lefkara Lace and Silverware Museum open
These are relics from the mine railway.
                                                Mon-Thur 09:30-16:00, Fri-Sat 10:00-16:00,
Go down the small road beside the
                                                Sunday closed.
park to Tenta with its dramatic tented
roof. This is the excavation of a Neolithic     Tenta open Mon-Fri 09:00-16:00
settlement, smaller than that at nearby
Choirokoitia. It features the remains
of ancient clay and stone dwelling-places
and gives an indication of the way Cypriots
lived 9000 years ago.




                                                                                             75
                Route 5
     Machairas and the
       South West
             Distance: approximately 135 kilometres
                  ñ From the flat central plain, up through
         the foothills of the western Troodos mountains
                 ñ Interesting and impressive monasteries
                                              and churches
            ñ River valleys and pine-clad mountain slopes
         ñ Pretty traditional villages and panoramic views
               ñ Excellent cycling and walking on specially
                                     prepared forest routes
                                         ñ Accommodation

             Leave the Lemesos (Limassol) – Lefkosia
                    (Nicosia) motorway at exit 6 and
                               take the road to Tseri.
                     At the village, go right onto the
                        E901, signposted to Lefkosia,
                               then go left at the sign
                     for Deftera. Go right at the end
                         of this road and go left after
                          150 metres at the signpost
                          ‘Panagia Chrysospiliotissa’.
                 Take the first left and then go right
               at the t-junction down to the church.
          Panagia Crysospiliotissa church (Our Lady of
        the Golden Grotto) is in a sandstone cave on the
                 east bank of the Pedieos River. The church
             contains a rain-inducing icon of the Virgin that
          farmers from the surrounding villagers call upon
            in times of drought. The unusual site may have
           been a series of catacombs before becoming an

76
            early Christian refuge and later a retreat for
            hermits, as a drawbridge could cut off access.
            Go back the way you came and go right at
            the main road, following the signs for Pera.
            At Psimolofou, to your right, are well


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            maintained mud-brick houses with overhanging
            balconies and carved doors. Go right at the
            sign for Agios Irakleidios and drive through
            Episkopeio, once the seat of the ancient
            bishopric at Tamassos, and at the entrance
            to Politiko, go left to Tamassos.
            Leave and go left into Politiko and as you
            drive to Agios Irakleidios Monastery, ahead
            of you is the Kionia mountaintop radar station
            that is a landmark visible from Lefkosia (Nicosia)
                                                                 77
     and Larnaka. Go back the way you came            As you leave on the road to Klirou
     and, after the bridge, go right and then         (preferably on the E904), you will see
     left onto the E902. On your right is             the Mesaoria plain and Pentadactylos
     Pera, another attractive village of              mountains ahead. Drive down the valley
     well-preserved two-storey mud-brick              between cornfields and peach orchards,
     houses and interesting churches.                 follow the sign for Nicosia at the village
                                                      entrance and go left at the main road.
     On your left after Kambia is the Machairas
                                                      The dark red rocks near the river are
     Forest and the Pediaios river valley is on
                                                      exposed pillow lava. Go left onto the
     your right. Go right at Kapedes and
                                                      E903 signposted to Apliki and
     head for Machairas Monastery.
                                                      Palaichori and drive up the river valley.
     On this narrow, twisting road is Mandra
                                                      A short distance along is a ruined arched
     tou Kambiou picnic site with barbecue
                                                      building, all that remains of an ancient hani
     facilities, tables and toilets. Further up the
                                                      (inn), a stopping place on the two-day trip
     hill is a tiny chapel dedicated to Agios
                                                      from Lefkosia to Palaichori where
     Onoufrios, an Egyptian hermit whose life
                                                      travellers could rest and their animals –
     story is recorded in the porch. Continuing
                                                      donkeys or camels - could be fed and
     up the hill, Machairas Monastery comes
                                                      watered. Further along are large
     into view.
                                                      restaurants and holiday homes, as this is a
                                                      favourite weekend getaway spot for the
                                                      residents of Lefkosia. The main produce
                                                      of this valley are vegetables, grapes,
                                                      almonds and olives.

                                                      Go right into Palaichori, a village dating
                                                      from Byzantine times with steep cobbled
                                                      alleys and stone houses, many of which
                                                      have grape vines growing up to drape over
                                                      a rooftop trellis to help keep the house
                                                      cool in summer. The stream through the
     The surrounding terrain is typical maquis        village centre dries up in the summer
     with rockroses and myrtle among the              but is a cascading torrent in winter.
     pines. Lazanias, encircled by the almond         The most significant church is that
     trees from which it derived its income,          of Metamorphosis tou Sotiros
     has distinctive houses of mud brick and          (Transfiguration), which is on UNESCO’s
     stone with tiled roofs, a good view of           World Heritage List. Also worth a visit is
     which is from above as you head for              the nearby Byzantine Museum. There are
     Gourri. Go right and drive to Fikardou.          strawberries, potatoes, vegetables and fruit




78
trees growing on the fertile surrounding        with glyka, (See Section 1, Chapter 5,
land.                                           Food & wine). It has also recently opened
                                                an interesting art gallery/museum which
Rejoin E903 and go right, heading for
                                                displays the work of a well-known icon
Agros. On the steep climb, the deep valley
                                                painter.
to your left is full of vegetable gardens and
plane trees and there are vines on the          There is plenty of accommodation
steep mountainside to the right.                in several small hotels and a large one,
The summit is Papoutsia – one of the            and there are restaurants and tavernas,
highest peaks in Cyprus at 1,584 metres.        a petrol station and a cottage hospital.
Stay on the E903 and, as you near the
                                                Leave on the road signposted to
left turn into Agros, there is a panoramic
                                                Limassol and around Agios Ioannis,
view of Troodos and Mount Olympus.
                                                you will see tall poplars masking terraces of
Agros, at an altitude of 1,150 metres,          fruit trees. At the start of the descent after
is the regional centre of the Pitsillia.        the neat little Commandaria village of
A sheltered position and plentiful water        Zoopigi, (See Section 1, Chapter 5,
from perennial springs result in its having     Food & Wine) you will see the Akrotiri
some of the prettiest gardens in Cyprus.        Salt Lake and the Mediterranean
Agros is a popular resort and a great base      shimmering in the distance. Next is Kalo
for walkers and cyclists. The villagers         Chorio, surrounded by vineyards from
produce wine, bottled spring water, cash        which Commandaria is made. You pass
crops such as almonds, walnuts, and rose-       through the western edge of Kakomallis
water, which is made by distilling the petals   Forest on the way to Gerasa, a hamlet
of sugar-pink Damask roses that have been       of traditional stone houses, surrounded
picked before the sun evaporates the oil.       by fruit trees and oleanders on the banks
Apart from being a useful cosmetic              of the Garyllis River to your right.
cleanser and moisturiser, rosewater is a        The route then goes through an impressive
culinary ingredient. If you can’t smell roses   steep-sided valley with caves high in the
in Agros, you can usually smell smoked          cliffside to your left.
meat, for it is here that hiromeri, smoked
ham, and lountza, smoked pork loin, are         One of the most popular uses
produced by salting the meat and steeping
                                                for rosewater is to flavour
it in red wine before smoking it over slow-
burning wood. Other meat specialities are       the traditional sweet
loukanika, Cyprus sausage made from pork,       ‘Mahalepi’, which
herbs and red wine and pastourmas, beef
rubbed with garlic and dried in the sun.        is absolutely delicious on a hot
The village also caters for the sweet tooth     summer’s day.

                                                                                                 79
     On your right at Paramytha is the hani           Necropolis in 1997 are on display at the
     (inn) which has been restored and turned         Cyprus Archaeological Museum in Lefkosia
     into a restaurant. Nearby is a fragment of       (Nicosia). Tamassos is open Mon - Sun
     the old cobbled road from Lemesos to the         09:30 - 15:30.
     Pitsillia.                                       The site is on the Aphrodite Cultural
                                                      Route.
     Palodia and Agia Filaxi are now part of
     suburban Lemesos (Limassol) but the latter
     still has excellent examples of traditional
     limestone houses clustered round the old
     church on your right, from where it is less
     than a kilometre to junction 27 of the
     motorway.

     Tamassos was a city-kingdom, founded
     around 4,000BC, but its wealth and
     prosperity came later, when its prolific
     supply of copper was discovered.
     Homer mentions the city as Temesa in his
     Odyssey, when Athena says to Telemachos,
     “We are bound for the foreign port of Temese
     with a cargo of gleaming iron, which we intend
     to trade for copper.” In around 800BC,
     the town was occupied by the Phoenicians.
                                                      Agios Irakleidios Monastery is named
     Later, Alexander the Great gave the
                                                      after the first Christian bishop of
     copper mines to King Protagoras of Salamis
                                                      Tamassos. The son of a priest of Apollo,
     as a gesture of thanks for his aid during
                                                      he was converted by the Apostles Paul and
     the Siege of Tyre, and in 12AD, King
                                                      Barnabas, the first missionaries in Cyprus,
     Herod the Great of Judea leased the mines.
                                                      after he guided them through the Troodos
     Excavations commenced in 1889 and
                                                      Mountains. Irakleidios, to whom many
     continue to this day. Among the
                                                      miracles and exorcisms were attributed,
     discoveries are two subterranean royal
                                                      was murdered by pagans and buried at the
     tombs dating from the 6th century BC,
                                                      site of the present-day monastery.
     with walls carved to imitate wood.
                                                      The monastery church, built in the 5th
     Also excavated are a citadel, the copper
                                                      century was destroyed and the present
     processing site and the Temple of Astarte
                                                      buildings date from the late 18th century.
     (Aphrodite). Four Egyptian-style stone lions
                                                      The tomb of the saint can be seen under
     and two sphinxes found at the Royal
                                                      the altar of the church. The skull of the




80
Saint is preserved in a silver-gilt reliquary.   is that the name comes from the biting
The monastery is currently inhabited             winds that blow on these hillsides in the
by nuns. Although open to visitors,              winter. The vows taken by the monks here
the monastery is only open to group visits,      are as strict as those of Mount Athos and
on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays,              although open to visitors, the monastery
from 9:00am to 12:00 midday.                     is open daily, 08:30-17:30.
                                                 Fikardou village is a protected monument,
                                                 as its houses are authentic specimens
                                                 of 19th century folk architecture. Most are
                                                 two-storied structures built with sieropetra
                                                 (rough local ironstone), pebbles and
                                                 limestone slabs, which support a mudbrick
                                                 superstructure and slanted tiled roof.
                                                 The ground floor has a flat doma (roof)
                                                 accessible from the upper floor and which
                                                 was used for drying grapes. Wine jars with
                                                 a hole knocked in the bottom were used
                                                 as chimney pots. The upper floor was for
Machairas Monastery (Monastery of the            habitation and the ground floor served
Knife) was founded by two hermits from           as a storeroom and stable. In many houses,
Syria who made a retreat by a well in the        a corner of the ground floor was occupied
mid-12th century. After the death of the         by a linos (wine press) and there are the
elder, the young hermit went to                  remains of a communal linos (wine press)
Constantinople to plead for funds to found       close to the village square. Several houses
a monastery. Emperor Manual Komnenos             also had a large room to accommodate
granted a charter of independence,               a loom. The houses of Katsinoros and
an annual financial grant and ownership          Achilleas Dimitri have been turned into
of much of the surrounding land, enabling        a rural museum, which is open
the monastery to be completed in 1190.           Tues - Fri 09:30 to 16:00, Sat 09:30 -15:30,
It burnt down in 1530 and again 1892             Sun 10:30 -13:30.
and the present buildings date from 1902.
The strange name is said to come from
a holy icon of the Virgin found in a cave
guarded by a sword. The icon hangs on the
iconostasis symbolically guarded by a tiny
knife and it is the first thing to be saved
if forest fire threatens. Another theory




                                                                                                81
                          Route 6
     Lemesos (Limassol)
                                 Forest
               Distance: approximately 80 kilometres
                ñ River valleys, citrus groves and vineyards
                                       ñ Interesting churches
                             ñ Excellent walking and angling
                             ñ Spectacular panoramic views
                                           ñ Accommodation
             Leave the Lemesos - Lefkosia (Limassol -
            Nicosia) motorway at exit 24 and go onto
             the E128 to Germasogia. Tucked between
            a cliff face and a riverbed, this village’s narrow
             streets contain some fine old houses, several
                                tavernas, and a country club.
                        Follow the signs for Germasogia
                        Dam and, as you drive up, you will
                              see market gardens and citrus
                             groves in the riverbed to your
                       right, Note the distinctive rock-face
                          atop a crag on the opposite bank
                              because you will see this from
                                      a different angle later.
           Anglers and walkers can take the road across
         the dam wall, signposted to Foinikaria, for some
                 good fishing locations and nature trails.
            Continue on the E128 through Akrounta,
           a rapidly expanding village on a tributary of the
          Germasogia River. The road now climbs steeply
         with a deep valley to your left and a rock face to
              your right. As you get higher, the valley is to
              your left and there is a wonderful view back
               towards Lemesos (Limassol) and the coast.
82
When you reach the saddle, you enter the
edges of the Kakomallis and Lemesos (Limassol)
forests. Several holiday homes have been built
in this area, as it picks up cool breezes from the
north and south.


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Driving down towards Dieronia, the village
of Kellaki is on the hillside opposite and Prastio
is in the valley below. Dieronia lies on the west
bank of the Germasogia River and its chief
products are citrus fruits, especially mandarins.
Follow the signs for Arakapas, a village lying
in a natural amphitheatre and one that has given
its name to part of the unique geology of
Cyprus. The Arakapas Sequence runs along the
southern edge of the Troodos Ophiolite and

                                                             83
     some of the pillow lavas in this area are on      You can take a side trip to the hamlet
     brown-red iron-rich mudstone.                     of Profitis Elias, which sits like an eyrie
                                                       on a hilltop, offering expansive views of the
     Go left at the signpost to the village
                                                       surrounding hills and deep valley below.
     centre and cross the narrow bridge.
     The enormous eucalyptus trees to the              The main route goes onto a good gravel
     right indicate plentiful water. Go right at       road after about a kilometre as it drops
     both forks in the village and go right            down steeply to the valley bottom and
     again into the square.                            climbs the other side. On the way, you go
                                                       through terraces of citrus trees, a small
     At the far end, on the corner of the road
                                                       forest, an area of Mediterranean maquis,
     to Sykopetra is the very beautiful early
                                                       vegetables plots and finally, as you re-join
     16th century church of Panagia Iamatiki.
                                                       the asphalt, grapevines.
     The church is renowned for its
     Italo-Byzantine frescoes. Also look for the       Agios Konstantinos, which has some
     two well-preserved 16th century paintings         well-preserved traditional buildings, is one
     of Saint Mamas and of Saints Mary of Egypt        of the Commandaria wine villages and
     and Zosimos.                                      is a typical Pitsillia village surrounded
                                                       by vineyards. The tiny church of Agios
     The road to Sykopetra goes through
                                                       Konstantinos and Agia Eleni in the village
     a wooded valley before climbing very
                                                       centre is characteristic of the region.
     steeply. The village, which clings almost
     precariously to the hillside, originally          Drive through the village and go right
     belonged to the Knights Templar. On the           at the signpost to Agios Pavlos.
     hillside below the houses are huge prickly        This little village on the southern slopes
     pear cacti (Opuntia ficus-indica) with large      of the Papoutsa peak has abundant water,
     racquet-shaped ‘leaves’ bristling with very       some of which gushes out of the rocks at a
     sharp spines. In summer the delicious             place called Styrakas, which is surrounded
     brick-red oval fruits, the size of a hen’s egg,   by large walnut and plane trees.
     are peeled and chilled before eating. The
                                                       Drive through the village, following the
     fruits are covered with tiny prickles that
                                                       signs for Kalo Chorio, and then go left
     pierce the skin, so don’t touch them with
                                                       at the signpost for Lemesos (Limasol).
     bare hands.
                                                       You are now in the heart of the
     Leave the village on the road                     Commandaria wine country (See Section
     signposted to Prophitis Elias and then            1, Chapter 5, Food & Wine).
     take left fork at the top of the hill,
                                                       Go left at the t-junction and follow the
     onto the road to Agios Konstantinos.
                                                       signs for Louvaras. Drive through the
                                                       village until you come to the very old part




84
where the streets are made of concrete         Commanderie of the Knights of St John.
and are extremely narrow. Park your car        The old part of the village is on the slopes
and walk along Agiou Mama Street,              below and legend says that it was made up
following the signs ‘Agios Mamantos            of seven ‘quarters’ and had seven churches.
15th Century Church’. The church               There are the remains of two watermills
is below road level and all you can see        by the stream that bisects the village.
as you approach is part of the sloping red
                                               As you continue, the view opens up and
roof. The church houses some of the
                                               you can see the village of Akrounta in the
island’s best preserved 15th century
                                               valley below and the road along which you
frescoes. In the churchyard is a restored
                                               drove earlier snakes up the hillside
olive press.
                                               opposite. Just before the road turns away
A walk round this part of the village will     from this valley, there is a glimpse of
give you glimpses of old stone-built houses,   Germasogia dam below and opposite, at
some of which are restored, large bread        eye level is the rock-face on top of a crag
ovens, and massive pitharia wine jars.         that you passed on the way to Germasogia
                                               Dam.
To leave, drive back through the village
and go left at the small green signpost        After driving through a small gully,
to Kakomallis Forest Station. After 200        an amazing panorama awaits you.
metres, go right at the crossroads onto        The vista sweeps from Amathous to your
K. Evagorou Street.                            left, through to the Akrotiri peninsula and
                                               beyond.
As you descend, you will be driving
through the western edges of Kakomallis        Many Limassolians have built houses in this
Forest. Go left at the main road and go        area, as the newly improved road allows
left again at the signpost to Apsiou.          them to commute daily from homes
                                               on a cool hillside with an extraordinary
The map at the village entrance points
                                               view.
you to the paved village centre, a winery,
traditional houses and an old water mill.      Go left at the roundabout onto the
Leave on the road signposted to                motorway.
Mathikoloni and go right, following
the blue road sign at the fork after the
village.
As you drive down the mountain, there is a
deep river valley to your left. Mathikoloni,
the modern part of which lines the main
road, once belonged to the Grand




                                                                                              85
                Route 7
     Lemesos (Limassol)
                    West Coast
               Distance: approximately 90 kilometres
               ñ West from Lemesos (Limassol) along the
                                            Pafos coastline
                      ñ A mediaeval castle and impressive
                            Graeco-Roman ancient sites
                                  ñ Wetlands and wildlife
                  ñ Charming rural villages with vineyards
                                          and olive groves
             ñ Panoramic views, great walking and cycling
                                        ñ Accommodation

                 Leave the Pafos – Lemesos (Limassol)
                          motorway at the exit for Erimi
                          and Kolossi, go left on the B6,
                      turn right at the sign to Trachoni
                                 and go to Kolossi Castle,
                         which is in the middle of the fertile
                           Lemesos plain, where sugarcane,
                                        cotton and the grapes
                                      for Commandaria grew
                       in mediaeval times. (See Section 1,
                       Chapter 5, Food & wine) In 1210,
              the Knights of St John of Jerusalem built the
              castle as their headquarters and the present
              three-storey square ‘keep’ dates from 1454.
            Beside the castle are the remains of a vaulted
             sugar refinery and the aqueduct that brought
           the water for working the mill. The small 12th
                 century church of Agios Efstathios is well
                                               worth visiting.


86
                             Go right and drive between tall rows of
                             eucalyptus, cedar and pine trees shading
                             lush citrus groves and vineyards. This area
                             was reclaimed from marshland in the 1930s.
                             Birdwatchers can make a side trip to the


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                             Phasouri (Fasouri) reed-beds by going right onto
                             a tarmac road after about four kilometres and
                             going right again into a dead-end road. The main
                             route goes straight to Akrotiri village.
                             The Akrotiri Environmental Education and
                             Information Centre informs visitors of the
                             unusual nature and ecological importance
                             of the Akrotiri peninsula. The centre, which
            Kolossi Castle
                             is very child-friendly with interactive displays
                             and computer programmes in English,

                                                                                87
     is open seven-days a week and entrance            then go left at the sign for Kourion
     is free.                                          Museum. Take the left fork and the
                                                       museum is up this road on your left.
     The Akrotiri Salt Lake is a unique corner
                                                       It is housed in an attractive two-storey
     of Cyprus. It has over 20 types of habitat
                                                       building and contains findings from Kourion
     and around 70 per cent of the island’s bird
                                                       and surrounding sites.
     species, migratory and resident, are found
     there. Also, the endangered Green turtle          The name of Episkopi village means ‘home
     and Loggerhead turtle nest on its beaches.        of the Bishop’ and comes from the fact that
     It is a Ramsar listed site. The earliest traces   when the nearby site of Kourion was
     of Man, dating back over 10,000 years,            abandoned in the 7th century, the Bishop
     were discovered on the Akrotiri cliffs,           moved his Seat here. Today’s village
     along with fossils of pygmy hippopotami           has rural accommodation and several
     and dwarf elephants.                              restaurants.
                                                       To leave, go left at the museum and
                                                       follow the signs for Kourion, going right
                                                       at the main road. Go left at the sign at
                                                       the sign for “St Ermogenis” and you
                                                       will come to a good bathing beach beneath
                                                       vertical limestone cliffs. There are several
                                                       restaurants here and the area is a good
                                                       birdwatching location.

                                                       To continue, go left to the Kourion
     Go back the way you came and, after               Archaeological Site.
     Kolossi castle, go left onto the B6 and           Leave Kourion and go to the Stadium,
     head for Erimi, which was a settlement            which is on your right. This was built
     in the Chalcolithic era, between the Stone        during the Roman period in the 2nd
     and Bronze ages. On the left as you leave         century AD. The horseshoe shaped arena
     the village is the Cyprus Wine Museum,            is surrounded by three tiers of seats to
     where you can learn about Cyprus wine             accommodate 6,000 spectators.
     and taste a glass too.                            This is an enjoyable walking area with
     Continue on the main road to Episkopi             cistus and aromatics growing among
     and go right at the sign for the Police           low pines.
     Station. Go left opposite the mosque              Back at the main road, go right to the
     (signpost Kourion Museum) and drive               Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates.
     through the old part of the village,              Toppled columns and stone fragments




88
mark the sanctuary as a 7th century BC         village on the road to Pachna.
shrine to the sun-god Apollo in his role as    Leave by the road on which you came
‘Hylates’ or god of the woods. Most of the     and take the right turn to Agios
ruins are early Roman. On leaving, birders     Thomas, which is probably of Byzantine
can take a side trip by taking the track       origin. Go right to Platanisteia
opposite the road to the Sanctuary.            (Plataniskia), a hamlet engaged in carob,
                                               olive and vine cultivation. The village is also
Back on the main road, drive through
                                               home to an art school, run by a very well
the residential British base at Episkopi
                                               known local artist and engraver. Head for
and go right onto the F606 to
                                               Alektora, where you will see vineyards of
Avdimou. Go left onto the F607 in the
                                               table and sultana grapes. Go left after the
village and follow the signs to Anogyra.
                                               tunnel of trees and go right onto the
On the way, you pass the semi-restored
                                               main B6. After 100 metres, go left to
monastery of the Holy Cross and a winery
                                               Pissouri. Drive through the narrow streets
                                               of this hilltop village, following the signs
                                               to the beach.
                                               The fertile lime soil around Pissouri yields
                                               abundant crops of sweet table grapes.
                                               The rugged cliffs of Cape Aspro, the
                                               highest point along the coast between
                                               Kourion and Pafos, overlook Pissouri
                                               Beach, where stone buildings, now
                                               restaurants, were carob stores when this
at the village entrance. Anogyra has good      was a thriving port. Go right at the mini
examples of the limestone dwellings typical    roundabout and drive up the valley.
of this region, some of which have been        Just over halfway up, look for a
converted into rural accommodation. Cool       concrete road to the right, which has a
water used to come to the village through      brown road sign with its back to you.
a stone-built channel. The village is          This takes you to an old water cistern and
renowned for producing carob syrup and         well, both of which are restored. You can
carob toffee known as pastelaki.               walk into the cistern – but beware of low
There is a small pastelaki museum,             flying swallows! Go right at the end
and a pastelaki festival takes place each      of the road and left onto the B6,
August. (See Section 1, Chapter 5, Food        signposted to Pafos, and drive to Petra
& Wine). Before leaving, take a side trip      tou Romiou.
to ‘Oleastro’, an ecological olive press and
                                               At Petra tou Romiou, the three huge
museum about three kilometres after the
                                               limestone rocks are known collectively



                                                                                                 89
     as Aphrodite’s Rock. Mythology says it was       Mycenaean Greeks. It was an
     here that Aphrodite, goddess of love and
     fertility, emerged from the sea foam. The        important and prosperous
     location is one of the most beautiful on the     centre under the Ptolemies
     island and images of this spot, with its clear
     blue water and pebble beach, have become         and the Romans, when the
     synonymous with Cyprus. The name Petra
                                                      city numbered around 20,000
     tou Romiou commemorates the Byzantine
     Greek hero Digenis Akritas, also known           inhabitants. The nearby
     as Romios. Legend says that when
     marauding Saracen corsairs attacked the
                                                      stadium was built during the
     Pafos coast, Romios, a mythical giant,           Roman period. Here, 6,000
     rested his hand on the Kyrenia mountain
     range and hurled huge boulders into the
                                                      spectators would watch
     sea at Pafos to destroy the ships. The place     pentathlons consisting
     where he rested his hand on the Kyrenia
     range is called Pentadactylos (five fingers),    of running, the long jump,
     and the rocks he threw are Petra tou             wrestling, discus and javelin
     Romiou.
                                                      throwing. The Sanctuary
     To join the motorway, travellers from
     Pafos should go west and all other               of Apollo Ylatis was a centre
     travellers should go east.
                                                      of worship until Christianity
     Kourion has existed as a focal                   supplanted the cult. By the
     point of cultural, political and                 5th century AD, Kourion was
     religious life for several                       the seat of a Christian bishop.
     millennia. A settlement was                      Its defensive position atop a
     built here in Neolithic times,                   coastal cliff and the power it
     probably because of its                          wielded over the surrounding
     strategic position and the                       area were its greatest assets.
     city-kingdom was founded                         Earthquakes and raids finally
     in the 12th century BC by                        destroyed Kourion and it was



90
not rediscovered until 1876.            Kolossi castle open 09:00-17:00
                                        Nov-Mar; 09:00-18:00 Apr, May, Sept, Oct;
Many of the finds from the              09:00-19:30 June-Aug.
                                        Akrotiri Info centre open daily 08:30-15:00
various archaeological digs are
                                        Cyprus Wine museum open Mon-Fri 09:00-17:00
at the Kourion Museum in                Kourion Museum open Mon-Fri 09:00-14:30 +
                                        Thurs 15:00-17:00 except July & Aug
Episkopi village and the                Kourion Archaeological site open 08:00-17:00
Lemesos (Limassol) District             Nov-Mar; 08:00-18:00 Apr, May, Sept, Oct;
                                        18:00-19:30 June - Aug.
Archaeological Museum, both             Sanctuary of Apollo as Kourion site.
of which are well worth
a visit. Kourion is open daily.




                            Akrotiri Salt Lake




                                                                                       91
                          Route 8
     The             Wine
                     Villages
          Distance: approximately 120 kilometres
           ñ Through the major wine producing region
                         to the foothills of the Troodos
            ñ Vine-covered hillsides with small regional
                                                 wineries
            ñ Interesting old churches and monasteries
          ñ Lovely villages with traditional architecture
                                      ñ Accommodation
             Leave the Lemesos (Limassol) - Pafos
               motorway at the exit for Avdimou,
                        go onto the F606 and head
                 for Pachna. On the way, the slopes
                              are covered with carobs
                   (ceratonia siliqua) the characteristic
                  trees of the eastern Mediterranean
                  that shade flocks grazing the sparse
                                  vegetation of summer.
                                 Pachna, a large village
                   of two-storey houses of rectangular
                    limestone blocks, sits picturesquely
              amid vineyards. In addition to its winery,
         the village has a couple of tavernas and cafés.
          Back on the F606; go left at the sign for
     Agios Amvrosios and as you drive down the hill,
      there is a panoramic view of terraced vineyards
        covering the south-west flank of Troodos and
                     Mount Olympus towering above.



92
Go left onto the E601, signposted to
Omodos, and then take E612 to Malia.
This is a village with a long history
of wine-production, whose old winery was
re-opened in 1996. Many of the well-preserved

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stone houses have stills for making zivania,
a local spirit distilled from grape must
(See Section 1, Chapter 5, Food & wine).
Leave the village and continue on the E612
to Arsos.
Arsos is scenically perched on a steep chalky
hillside and some of its fine traditional houses
are now holiday accommodation. A walk
through the narrow lanes will take you to an
olive press, mineral water springs and a folk art

                                                            93
     museum, while the wineries are on the             Wander through quaint streets among
     outskirts.                                        whitewashed houses to the mediaeval linos
                                                       (wine press), which is still in working
     Go back the way you came and just
                                                       order, or visit a rural life museum in one of
     before Mallia, go straight ahead at the
                                                       the traditional houses, or you can even
     signpost ‘Vasa, Omodos old road’.
                                                       watch village women making intricate cob-
                                                       webby papilla lace, fine exhibits of which
                                                       can be seen at the Centre for the
                                                       Conservation of Pipilla lace within the
                                                       monastery. Around the square are cafés
                                                       and small shops selling wine, honey and the
                                                       speciality arketena bread, baked with
                                                       chickpea leaven instead of yeast.
                                                       Away from the square are several good
                                                       restaurants.
     Along here, the dry stone walls that retain
     the hillside terracing are home to the large
     endemic Agama lizard (agama stelio
     cypriaca), which you may be lucky enough
     to see basking in the sun.
     Vasa was, and still is, a major wine
     producing village and many of the
     red-roofed white houses have pitharia
     (large wine jars) and zivania stills in their
     yards. The compact village has a spring
                                                       To leave, go right and follow the signs
     of pure mineral water, a Byzantine museum
                                                       for Mandria and Platres. Along the
     and several good restaurants. You will pass
                                                       narrow old road, are more wineries in
     a winery built in the traditional
                                                       vineyards, after which the vines give way to
     architectural style of the village as you
                                                       hawthorn, poplar and apple trees. Go right
     depart for Omodos.
                                                       at the main road and head for Platres.
     Omodos is the capital of the Krasochoria
                                                       Kato Platres is a small community in a
     (wine villages). The village centre is closed
                                                       picturesque setting among fruit trees with
     to traffic, so go right into the large free car
                                                       a village winery and several good tavernas
     park at the entrance. The village huddles
                                                       on the main road. An altitude of 1,128
     round Timios Stavrou Monastery, at the
                                                       metres, surrounding forests and the Kryos
     end of the attractive cobbled square.




94
Potamos (Cold River) all help give Pano         pressed, is still there. Laneia is one of the
Platres its excellent climate.                  Commandaria villages, in which the sweet
This is a popular holiday resort and a          dessert wine is made. (See Section 1,
regional centre with several good hotels,       Chapter 5, Food & wine). It is also home
a cottage hospital, petrol station, a tourist   to several artists who welcome visitors to
information office and shops.                   their studios.
Leave by either of the two exits for the        Go left at the main road and, after 100
B8 and Lemesos (Limassol) and go                metres, go right at the signpost to
right. Driving down the steep, twisty road,     Doros. This village has traditional
the Troodos Forest looms to your left.          architecture with two-storey houses with
Stay on the B8 at the major cross-              arches and balconies overhanging the
roads. Trimiklini is a good place to stop       winding alleyways. Walk into the dead-end
for coffee en-route - look out for the          streets at the bottom of the village for a
unusual double bridge that spans the river      breathtaking view across the Kouris valley.
nearby. After Trimiklini, you will be on the
                                                At the village exit, go right to Monagri
eastern escarpment of the Kouris River,
                                                along a narrow lane that used to be part
with a panorama of vine-clad terraces
                                                of the road from Lemesos to Platres.
across the valley.
                                                At the village entrance, the centre with
                                                two small wineries and a very old olive
                                                press are ahead of you. Standing above
                                                the river valley to your right is the
                                                Archangelos Michail Monastery,
                                                now a contemporary art centre and
                                                nearby, down a road to the left is the
                                                Monastery of Panagia Amasgou, which
                                                houses some impressive 12th century
                                                frescoes. To leave, follow the signs for
                                                Lemesos and go right on the B8.
Pass Laneia police station and go left
                                                Down the hill, take the F817 signed to
at the signpost to Laneia. Set among
                                                Agios Therapon and head for Lofou.
vineyards and almond, walnut and fig trees,
                                                There is a good view of the Kouris
Laneia is a well-preserved village of
                                                Reservoir and near the village is open
narrow cobbled lanes of tile-roofed
                                                pastureland with dry-stone walls. Follow
elongated houses with beautiful gardens
                                                the signs for Agios Therapon to the
and courtyards, where pitharia wine jars
                                                exit of Lofou and go right to park.
store the house wine. The old linos,
                                                This attractive Commandaria village spread
a wooden contraption in which grapes are



                                                                                                95
96
atop a limestone hill (Lofos means hill        bound Christ to the Cross.
in Greek) has an abundance of water from
the Kouris and Kryos rivers. The houses        The place soon became a
are of typical stone-and-timber architecture   shrine and then an important
and there are Vahkis scheme tavernas
serving authentic Cypriot food, a small
                                               monastery, around which the
Byzantine museum and an olive mill.            village of Omodos grew.
Continue through the vineyards to              The monastery, which is now
Agios Therapon, going right at the
church and taking the right fork into
                                               disused, was built in the 12th
the village. Here are twelve preserved         century with wooden roofed
vaulted houses (vota) with ground-floor
                                               monastic buildings standing
arched rooms used as storerooms for
pitharia wine jars or donkey stables.          on three sides of the church.
Drive across the valley to the junction        The present 19th century
with the E601 and into Agios
Amvrosios. In this small village of tree-      church contains an intricately
shaded whitewashed houses, is a winery,        carved iconostasis. The holy
an old olive press and an agiasma (Holy
well). Go back to the E601 and head            relics are in cross-shaped
for Erimi and the motorway.                    silver-gilt reliquaries in the
Timios Stavros (Holy Cross)                    church and the skull of the
Monastery at Omodos dates                      Apostle Philip is in a reliquary
back to the 4th century.                       with the seals of four
Folklore says that it was built                Byzantine emperors to vouch
over a cave that became a                      for its authenticity.
small chapel for housing holy                  Do not miss the beautiful
relics given by St Helena.                     reception hall (archontariki)
They are believed to be a                      of the monastery with
piece of the True Cross and                    it carved wooden ceiling.
a portion of the rope that



                                                                                  97
                             Route 9
     Troodos the
           and
      Solea Valley
             Distance: approximately 160 kilometres
               ñ Unique, UNESCO World Heritage Site
           churches, with outstanding frescoed interiors
                          ñ Charming mountain villages,
                            with traditional architecture
                         ñ Good hill walking and cycling
                  ñ Pine forests and moufflon sanctuary
                                      ñ Accommodation
                Leave the Lemesos (Limassol) - Pafos
                   motorway at the exit for Ypsonas
                and Kouris Dam and head for the dam.
                   Mount Olympus is ahead as you drive
                   through wild olives and Aleppo pines
                  to the west of the reservoir, following
                             signs for Alassa. Go left onto
                                     the B8 to Trimiklini,
                      a village thriving on the production
                                       of almonds and fruit.
                                At the major crossroads,
                            go right onto the E801(B9).
                        Saittas is a settlement built around
            a government-run experimental fruit nursery.
       Its setting among tall pines on the left bank of the
             Kouris River attracts many visitors and there
                  is rural accommodation at a small hotel.
               The houses in tiny Filagra are now mainly
           summer homes. You can take a detour off this
                       road to Mesa Potamos, where there
                   is a delightful monastery and waterfalls.
                        Back on the main road, on your left
98
            at Kato Amiantos are some unusual old
            dwellings with overhanging balconies.
            Near the top of the steep gradient, mavrahero,
            wild lentils colour the hillsides mauve in spring.
            Stay on the B9 at the crossroads and follow
            the signs for Kakopetria. Karvounas is the

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            saddle between Troodos and the Madari range
            and the watershed between the Kouris and
            Kargotis rivers.
            The terrain now changes to immense pines
            (Pinus brutia). As you go down, a hundred
            metres after the turning to Platania picnic site,
            there is a moufflon reserve on the right.


                                                                 99
      Further down the road are several trout        Folk Art Architectural site and you can
      farms, some with their own restaurants.        see examples of pitharia wine jars and a
      Go left at the sign for Agios Nikolaos         traditional bread oven in the yard.
      tis Stegis and continue to the church.         Driving to Temvria, you continue through
      St Nicholas of the Roof, built and painted     a metaphorical fruit salad. After apples,
      in the early 11th century, is one of the ten   pears, plums and cherries, you now come
      mountain churches on the UNESCO                to mespila, loquats, citrus and
      World Heritage List. A steeply pitched         pomegranates among gardens awash
      outer roof protects the original dome from     with colour.
      rain and snow.
      Go back and go left at the sign for
                                                     Fresh herbs are an integral
      Kakopetria. Clinging to both banks of the      part of Cypriot cuisine,
      Kargoris to your left as you enter, is the
      old village of stone and mudbrick houses       and many herbs such as
      with pitched roofs, many of them restored.     thyme and sage grow wild in
      Kakopetria is a holiday resort with banks,
      petrol stations, hotels and restaurants,       the countryside. Because of
      including a Vahkis scheme tavern. It was a     the island’s dry climate the
      silk producing centre and there are still
      many mulberry trees around. As you leave       herbs contain a higher than
      on the road to Galata, there is a restored
                                                     normal quantity of natural
      18th century watermill to your left.
      Huge trees shade the square at Galata and
                                                     oils, which makes them very
      nearby are fine examples of its distinctive    pungent.
      terraced buildings with wooden balconies
                                                     Follow the signs for Korakou, where figs
      and staircases. Some of them have been
                                                     and prickly pears are added to the fruit
      restored and one is a Folk Art museum.
                                                     bowl. Go left at the fork and round the
      Across the river is the UNESCO World
                                                     church; then go right at the street sign
      Heritage listed church of Panagia tis
                                                     ‘Eleftheria Avenue’. Follow this road
      Poditou, an early 16th century building with
                                                     until you come to an old watermill
      its outer roof extending almost to the
                                                     and ruined bridge opposite the
      ground to cover the portico.
                                                     signpost for Evrychou, then go left
      The Solea villages run into each other and     after first building, a modern olive mill,
      next up is Kaliana with its preserved hani,    onto a cobbled road, which was part of the
      inn, with arches, mudbrick walls and           old camel road from Lefkosia (Nicosia) to
      sloping roof. The 18th century building is a   Troodos. It ends at a railway station - the




100
terminus of the old Cyprus Government           a village of almond trees and traditional
Railway, completed in 1915 and which            houses, and follow the road signposted
went from Ammochostos (Famagusta),
via Lefkosia (Nicosia) to Evrychou.
Go back to the main road, go left and
left again at the t-junction.
Evrychou is a large village where cotton
used to grow. Today it is a regional centre
and the seat of the Bishopric of Morfou,
Fork right at the church, drive up to
the B9 and go left at the signpost for
Lefkosia.

As you drive north, the pines give way
to olives and cereals and you can see
Morfou Bay on your left.
Go right onto the road to Koutrafas             to Spilia. The beautiful Atsas River valley
and follow the signs for Asinou Church.         winds up through well-irrigated terraces
Kato Koutrafas, with its stone and              of almonds, olives and vines. At Kourdali,
mudbrick houses, is on the edge of the          stands the mediaeval church of the Panagia.
Mesaoria, central plain and the cornfields
                                                The belfry of the village church dominates
are parched and barren in summer.
                                                the skyline at Spilia, a village popular with
At one time, you had to hire a donkey
                                                hikers and which has rural accommodation.
at Nikitari to take you to Asinou,
                                                Leave on the F929 signposted to
but now it is just a short drive.
                                                Kannaviou and go right at the top,
Panagia Asinou, one of the most well            heading for Kyperounta. On the way
known of the UNESCO listed churches,            down are wide views of terraced vines and
sits in a tiny isolated meadow among dense      the Madari hills. Go left onto the E909
forests. It was built and painted in 1105 and   and go right at the sign for
contains fascinating frescos. Go back and       Kyperounta. Then take the left fork
go left at the small green sign to Agios        and on your right is the Rural Life and
Theodoros. This all-weather forest road         Natural History Museum in a restored
is bumpy at the start but smoothes out at       building. The village also has a winery and
the top of the hill, from where there is a      a hospital.
panoramic view of Morfou Bay, the central
                                                As you drive to the apple growing village of
plain and the Pentadactylos (Kyrenia)
                                                Dymes, there is a deep wooded valley to
Mountains. Go left at Agios Theodoros,




                                                                                                101
      your left. In Potamissa, many people grow   Continuing, on the hillside to your left
      their vines on frames across the road as    are the ruins of old Korfi, which was
      there is no room on the steep hillsides.    abandoned after landslides, and after new
      Take the F806 to Pelendri and go into       Korfi, there is a vista of the Kouris Dam,
      the village to the UNESCO World             Lemesos (Limassol) and the Akrotiri
                                                  Salt Lake.
                                                  Go right into Apesia, and behind the
                                                  church and restored olive press is a small
                                                  area where time seems to have stood still.
                                                  Old houses and villagers inhabiting them
                                                  just as their forefathers did.

                                                  Go back to the main road and go
                                                  left for Lemesos (Limassol) and the
                                                  motorway.

                                                  Asinou Church: open 09:30-17:00 May - Aug,
                                                  09:30-16:00 Sept - Apr.
                                                  Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis: Tue-Sat: 09:00-16:00
                                                  Sun: 11:00-16:00.




      Heritage listed 13th century church
      of Timios Stavros. Also, do not miss the
      Panagia Catholiki church with its
      Byzantine/Italian frescoes.
      As you head for Trimiklini, you will pass
      a winery on your right.

      Go left onto the B8 and go left again
      onto the F812, signposted to Agios
      Mamas. Drive through the centre of this
      village of whitewashed stone houses,
      then go right and head for Kapileio.
      This village, which is known for early
      peaches, stands on a hillock and has
      extensive views all around.




102
103
                          Route 10
      Troodos the
            and
      Marathasa Valley
                      Distance: approximately 160kms
                    ñ Vineyards, wineries and pine forests
                                        ñ Fascinating geology
                      ñ Fertile valley famous for its cherry
                                           and fruit orchards
                              ñ Delightful mountain villages
                                   and interesting museums
                 ñ Unique, UNESCO World Heritage Site
             churches, with outstanding frescoed interiors
                           ñ Good hill walking and cycling
                               on specially prepared routes
                                           ñ Accommodation

                 Leave the Lemesos (Limassol) - Pafos
                       motorway, Lemesos (Limassol)
                                bypass at the exit for
                          Polemidia and Troodos and
                           go onto the B8, signposted
                                         to Troodos.
                        As other routes cover the villages
                        on the way to Troodos, this route
           looks at the landscape and astonishing geology
              of a journey from sea level to 1,951 metres,
               but which also takes you to what was once
          the bottom of a very deep ocean around ninety
                                         million years ago.
           As you start to climb, the coastal lowland gravel
         and sand give way to plateaux of cream-coloured
         limestone and chalk on which grapevines flourish.
             After passing the Kouris dam to your left

104
at Alassa, go left onto the F815 signposted
to Monagri and drive down the valley.
The Kouris River begins its 56 kilometre
journey to the sea from 1,800 metres high up
in the Troodos. Long before global warming and
the dams at Trimiklini and Alassa diminished it,


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it carved a deep valley of limestone cliffs and
river terraces on which orchards and almonds
now thrive in rich alluvial soil.
Cross the bridge and go through Silikou.
Stop at Kouka to visit the small cruciform
church from where there is a superb view
of the Troodos massif towering majestically
above you. After going right onto the E802,
signposted to Saittas, the white chalks give
                                                           105
      way to outcrops of brown bulging pillow       and shows films of the unique natural
      lavas, bubbles of once-molten rock frozen     environment of Troodos. There is also
      in the icy sea, indicating the beginning      a 300-metre botanical and geological path,
      of the Troodos ophiolite, which is a chunk    as well as a cafeteria and toilets.
      of ocean crust.
                                                    Go left and through Troodos Square,
      Rejoin the B8 at the crossroads and go
      left to Moniatis and Platres. As you
      climb alongside dense deciduous woods,
      the rocks change to steep slabs of hard
      grey diabase. It was from river pebbles
      of this rock that Neolithic man shaped
      axe heads.

                                                    from where you can take a side trip to the
                                                    summit of Mount Olympus (Chionistra)
                                                    by going left at the roundabout, signposted
                                                    to Prodromos, and taking the left fork
                                                    along this road. The view from beside
                                                    the white-domed military installations
                                                    is stupendous.
                                                    On the main route, go onto the B9,
                                                    signposted ‘Amiantos’ at the
                                                    roundabout. You are now on part of the
                                                    earth’s mantle that was six kilometres
                                                    below the solid surface when dinosaurs
      Stay on the B8 and drive to Troodos           walked the earth. The mantle is the middle
      through a stark landscape of umbrella pines   of the earth’s three layers, sandwiched
      and dark coarse-grained gabbro rock           between the thin hard crust and the
      formations. Go left to the Troodos            semi-liquid core. Perhaps this knowledge
      National Park Visitor Centre and as you       will help you see the defunct asbestos mine
      step out of the car, you will be standing     in a different light!
      on rocks that come from below the floor       One last point before we come back to
      of the primordial Tethys Ocean,               the here and now: The Troodos Mountains
      the predecessor of the Mediterranean.         are still growing - so if you do this journey
      The Visitor Centre houses a first-rate        next year, you will have to drive one
      collection of local ecological specimens      millimetre further!




106
Continue on the B9 at the major                 Pedoulas is a summer resort and centre
junction. A hundred metres after the            of the Marathasa with banks, hotels,
turning to Platania picnic site,                restaurants and a petrol station.
there is a moufflon reserve on the right.       It is famous for cherries and you will see
                                                the trees lining the roadside.
Drive right down the Solea valley
                                                Houses blanketed with climbing vines stand
on the B9, go left onto the E908,
                                                on narrow terraces. Here is another of the
signposted to Prodromos and pass the
                                                UNESCO churches, the 15th century Agios
olive-producing villages of Linou, Flasou and
                                                Mihail, opposite which is a Byzantine
Katydata and the slag heaps of the
                                                Museum. Nearby is also a charming folk art
Skouriotissa copper mines. Katydata is a
                                                museum.
delightful village with a very interesting
mining museum.                                  Cyprus has a rich Byzantine
Orchards and olive groves fill the floor of     heritage and fine examples
the narrow steep-sided lower Marathasa
Valley. Several large restaurants shelter       of religious wall paintings and
under huge plane trees before you get to        iconography can be seen
Kalopanagiotis Dam, in which trout, bass
and other freshwater fish are raised.           in many of the old churches
Two-storey balconied houses,
                                                and monasteries including the
some of which offer overnight
accommodation, line the steeply winding         10 churches in the Troodos
streets of Kalopanagiotis. The sulphur
springs are in the valley, near Agios Ioannis
                                                designated as World Heritage
Lambadistis Monastery, one of the ten           sites by UNESCO.
painted churches on UNESCO’s World
                                                There are extensive views from all around
Heritage List. Don’t miss the monastery’s
                                                Prodromos, the highest village in Cyprus
impressive Byzantine museum,
                                                at 1,400 metres. Prodromos has abundant
which is open to the public every day
                                                natural vegetation, fruit orchards, cool
except Mondays.
                                                water and healthy climate. It is also home
The houses clinging to the hillsides            to the Cyprus Forestry College.
at Moutoullas have steep-pitched roofs
                                                Go left at Prodromos roundabout,
to cast off snow. This village is famous
                                                signposted ‘Platres’ and go right after
for its spring water and for growing the
                                                100 metres onto the E804, signposted
tastiest pears. The church of the Panagia,
                                                to Lemithou (where you can find rural
built in 1280, is also one of the UNESCO
                                                accommodation). Stay on this road through
churches.
                                                Palaiomylos, a village of meandering



                                                                                             107
108
streets and well-preserved traditional         restaurant serving authentic Cypriot food.
mountain-style houses, and drive to Foini      To leave, head for Agios Amvrosios and
(Fini), a village famous for pottery made      on your right, is the Donkey Sanctuary
of the red clay from the surrounding hills.    housing around 140 elderly and abandoned
Alas, the huge onion-shaped pithara wine       animals. As you leave, look back at this
jars are no longer made but examples can       pretty village before going left on the E601
be seen in the Pilavakion Pottery Museum       to Erimi and the motorway.
in the village centre.
                                               Troodos National Park Visitors Centre
Back on the E804, go to Kato Platres           Open daily 10:00-15:00 Jun-Aug
and go right onto the E802, and head           Mon-Fri 10:00-15:00 Sept-May
for Mandria and Pera Pedi. Mandria’s claim     Closed on Public Holidays.
to fame is that the first inter-town
                                               All monuments in Marathassa valley are
telephone service linked the village to
                                               open daily, except on Mondays.
Lemesos (Limassol) in 1881. The main road
at Pera Pedi skirts the village centre and
goes beneath the shade of plane, alder,
apple and pear trees. On your left behind
the trees, you can just see the old winery,
built in 1881 and still in use.
Go right onto the E803, signposted to
Koilani, and drive through orchards and,
nestling beneath a huge plane tree,
is Agia Mavri church with its 12th century
frescoes. Opposite is Afames Mountain,
which has given its name to the wines
from this area. Go right into the village
centre to find interesting traditional
architecture, a couple of wineries and rural
accommodation. Do not miss the
Monogenis church with its small
ecclesiastical museum.

Back on the E803, go right to Vouni.
In the narrow winding streets of this
vine-growing settlement are some
impressively restored arched houses with
courtyards. There is also a Vakhis scheme




                                                                                              109
                            Route 11
      The Pitsilia
                                     and the
      South-West Mesaoria
                Distance: approximately 110 kilometres
                      ñ Drive through the diverse landscape
                 of the central plain to pine clad mountains
                                       and rich fertile valleys
          ñ Unique UNESCO World Heritage Site churches
                         with outstanding frescoed interiors
                                      ñ Tranquil monasteries
                                   ñ Traditional architecture
                               ñ Excellent walking and hiking
                                        ñ Impressive scenery

               There are no petrol stations on this route
                   after the B9, so fill up before you go.
                                Leave Lefkosia (Nicosia)
                     on the A9 (B9) Troodos motorway,
                             go right at the roundabout
                                    at the end and drive
                                          to Peristerona.
                                  Peristerona straddles a dry
                             riverbed on the south-west edge
                         of the Mesaoria, the plain separating
                  the Kyrenia and Troodos mountain ranges.
              The area is renowned for its watermelons and
          in spring, a profusion of wild flowers including the
                 rare crimson Myrtou tulip, carpet the fields.
          The church of Saints Barnabas and Hilarion is one
                of only two five-domed basilicas in Cyprus,
               and both of these are very rare in the world
                  - the other is at Geroskipou, near Pafos -
               and a stone screen found during excavations
110
suggests that it was built over an earlier
Christian site. The slender belfry stands
in perfect juxtaposition with the minaret of one
island’s most beautiful mosques – a very good
example of the peaceful co-existence of the




                                                   N
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                                                   S

Christian and Muslim communities of the island.
A walk round the village will reveal many fine
examples of mudbrick and stone buildings.
Go back the way you came on the B9 to the
traffic lights and go right onto the E906.
At Orounta, follow the signs to Agios
Nikolaos Monastery and drive down to the
riverbed through the narrow village streets.
The remains of an olive press and well near
the renovated monastery - now a nunnery -

                                                           111
      suggest it was once a much larger building.      between 1980 and 1982. Carry on up the
      The nuns at the monastery are very               E907 and, as you climb, on your right
      devoted and welcoming and have created           is the beautiful Adelphi Forest, culminating
      a delightfully serene atmosphere.                at the 1612 metre Adelphi Peak.
                                                       This is a true hiker’s country.
      Back on the E906, go right. As you drive
      up the mountain through an area of arable        The houses at Lagoudera cling to the
      and livestock farming, and olive groves,         mountainside and their grape vines
      Kato Moni is to your left. This was once         overhang the narrow village street.
      a Grand Commanderie village belonging            At the village exit, go right at the sign
      to the Knights Templar.                          for Saranti.

      Go right onto the E907, signposted
      to Agia Marina. As you pass the village,
      you will see some fine examples
      of traditional houses, built with small
      boulders and mudbrick, with steeply
      pitched roofs and wooden balconies.
      There is a magnificent panorama of the
      forested Madari ridge ahead as you
      approach Xyliatos. This village, which was
      probably a pre-Mediaeval settlement,
      it has some well-preserved traditional
                                                       The 12th century church of Panagia tou
      houses. Years ago, shepherds from the
                                                       Araka (Our Lady of the Wild Vetch)
      Madari used to bring their flocks here
                                                       is one of the ten churches on UNESCO’s
      for winter grazing.
                                                       World Heritage List and it contains some
      Take the right turn onto a gravel road           of the finest examples of late 12th century
      at the wooden sign for Xyliatos picnic           Byzantine art in Cyprus.
      site. Straddling the Elia River, there are
                                                       Saranti is a tiny village of huge chestnut
      tables, fresh drinking water, barbecue pits
                                                       trees and a few traditional houses built
      and toilets in an idyllic setting deep among
                                                       in the Pitsilia mountain style.
      trees and surrounded by mineral-rich rocky
      hillsides.                                       Back at the main road, follow the signs
                                                       for Troodos, and at the t-junction
      Back on the main road continue
                                                       go left onto the F915, signposted
      up the hill to Xyliatos Dam, a small but
                                                       to Polystypos. You are now travelling
      delightful reservoir, with fragrant pine trees
                                                       through the Madari wine- producing region,
      almost reaching the banks. The dam built




112
where grapevines flourish up to an altitude   in its narrow and winding streets.
of 1600 metres.                               According to a board found in the roof,
                                              the church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos
Polystypos has traditional vine-covered
                                              (John the Baptist) dates from 1560.
houses, gardens of hydrangeas and walnut
                                              It was extended in 1763 and has
trees. The church of Agios Andreas may
                                              Byzantine-style frescoes.
have originally been a monastery.
In the village centre, go onto the E931
signposted to Alona.
In addition to grapes, Alona is renowned
for its hazelnuts. As you drive down
through the village, you will see several
renovated traditional houses. The churches
of Panagia Kardakiotissa and Agios
Georgios are worth visiting.

Leave the village and go back onto the
F915, signposted to Fterykoudi.
Stop at the viewpoint for a breathtaking
view of the Madari ridge and the forests
below. Go left into the village at the
brown signposts to two churches
(the signs are in Greek).                     Drive back towards Alona and go right
Fterykoudi huddles on a rugged                onto the E906, signposted to
                                              Platanistasa. On the way down the
mountainside. A centuries old oak tree
                                              mountain, you can see across to Adelphi
stands in the village square. The original
foundations of the 16th century church        Forest and the tree-filled valley below.
are preserved beneath the present church.     Platanistasa is an attractive village with
                                              a vast grape vine shading the paved village
Drive back to the F915 and go left,
signposted to Palaichori.                     square. This is a lovely place to sit a while
                                              and sip a coffee among pots of vivid
On the way to Askas, you can take             flowers. The thrifty but imaginative villagers
a short side trip to the Church of Agia       use an eclectic selection of plant holders,
Paraskevi, also known as Agia Christina,      including buckets and even the steel drum
by taking the asphalt road to your left.      of a washing machine! Pitharia, huge wine
The beautiful village of Askas has some       jars in which the house wine is made,
of the most interesting traditional           can be seen in several yards.
architecture to be found in Cyprus




                                                                                               113
      If you intend to visit Stavros tou              Drive to Agrokipia and follow the signs
      Agiasmati Church further down the               to the Monastery of Agios
      mountain, remember to pick up the key           Panteleimon. The monastery is perched
      in the village before you leave (don’t forget   on a hill overlooking the dry, dramatic
      to return it afterwards). To get there,         terrain of the western Mesaoria all the way
      continue down the mountain and go               to the Pentadaktylos mountains.
      left at the signpost to Stavros tou             After the bleak terrain, the oasis-like
      Agiasmati. This small church, one of the        nunnery garden, is a revelation. It contains
      ten UNESCO World Heritage churches,             large yucca trees, tree-size cacti and the
      stands isolated above a remote valley.          most varied collection of geraniums
      Built in the second half of the 15th century,   to be seen anywhere.
      it is decorated with the island’s most
                                                      Drive back to the F905, go left and join
      complete cycle of frescoes.
                                                      the E903 back to Nicosia.
      Go back to the E906 and as you drive
      descend, you will pass Panagia Bridge,
      with its picnic site and forest station.
      Shortly after, go left onto the E905
      signposted to Mitsero. The slagheaps and
      craters are evidence of Mitsero’s long
      history as a mining settlement.




114
115
                              Route 12
      The Pafos
             Valleys
                 Distance: approximately 120 kilometres
                    ñ Broad, virtually uninhabited river valleys
         ñ Excellent angling, birdwatching, walking and cycling
                                  ñ Outstanding scenery dotted
                                   with a few traditional villages
                           ñ Mediaeval bridges and water mills
                          ñ Remote monasteries and churches
                                    ñ Great photo opportunities
              Travellers from Pafos: leave the motorway
                         at the exit for Timi and Anarita.
                  All other travellers leave the motorway
                  at the exit for Pafos Airport. Go left on
                      the B6, signpost ‘Mandria’ and, just
                                 before a bridge, go left to
                        Asprokremnos Dam, a good angling
                                location and a favourite with
                                   birdwatchers and walkers.
                                   Drive across the dam wall,
                            from which there are spectacular
                            views, go left at the end of the
            road and drive to Nikokleia, a village scenically
         located on the banks of the Diarizos River. There is
             rural accommodation at the restored village inn.
             In the mid-1950s, an earthquake devastated many
        villages in the Diarizos and Xeros valleys and you will
                    see the remains of temporary prefabricated
           bungalows that once housed the homeless. Today’s
              route is where you will see old village buses and
               ancient tractors worthy of a place in a museum.


116
            As you go along the valley floor, the ruins
            of Souskiou are across the river to your right,
            with sheep and goats inhabiting the tumbledown
            stone houses. Southeast of the village,
            archaeologists have unearthed Chalcolithic
            rock-cut tombs and copper artefacts.


    N
W       E
    S




            In the riverbed near Fasoula is the surface
            channel that carries water to the southern
            region. Mamonia is best known as the birth-
            place of the infamous Hassan Poulis. Hassan and
            his two brothers terrorised the area in the
            1890s in what were supposedly ‘Robin Hood’
            style raids. This and the next village, Agios
            Georgios, cultivate oranges in the wide river
            valley. Across the river at Prastio are the
            remains of the 12th century monastery of Agios
            Savvas tis Korones.
                                                              117
      As you continue, the valley gets narrower      Note the remains of the rickety old bridge
      until the road goes through a cleft, known     to your left. Head for Arminou and take
      as the kourtellorotsos, between large black    the left fork after the coffee shops,
      rocks into a wooded area. This is where        then go right onto the F618 and follow
      the Hassan Poulia gang ambushed unwary         the signs to Agios Ioannis.
      travellers making the long journey from        These country lanes are bordered by
      Pafos to Troodos. Kidasi is the last village   almond and olive trees and this is a good
      before the river crossing, where there is an   place to look out for prehistoric looking
      old water mill and large shady oak trees       Agama lizards (agama stelio cypriaca), which
      beside a spring. As you climb, the views       can grow up to 30cm in length, sunning
      become increasingly beautiful and the          themselves on the walls.
      restored Agios Antonios church is a good
      place to stop and look across the valley.      There are no petrol
      Kederes is a vine-growing village known
      for the production of zivania (See Section
                                                     stations on this route,
      1, Chapter 5, Food & wine) and there           so fill up your tank before you
      is a winery shortly after Praitori.
      At Agios Nikolaos, go left at the brown        go. If you feel hungry, fresh
      signpost and follow the signs to Kelafos       bread, cheese, and olives are
      Bridge. On the way, there are wonderful
      views of the Pafos Forest and of Arminou       usually available at the village
      dam in the valley below.                       coffee shops (Kafenion).
      Kelefos Bridge is one of three
                                                     Numbers of the magnificent Griffon vulture
      pack-bridges originally built by the
                                                     (Gyps fulvus) have declined to dangerous
      Venetians for transporting goods across
                                                     levels, so the Cyprus Game Service has set
      the mountains. It is romantically sited
                                                     up a feeding area on the cliffs at Agios
      under the shade of trees and is an ideal
                                                     Ioannis. It is not possible to visit the site
      place to stop for a picnic lunch. Elea
                                                     but you may be lucky enough to see a
      Bridge is in a wooded dell nearby and
                                                     vulture riding the thermals near the village.
      Roudia Bridge straddles the upper
      reaches of the Xeros River at the bottom       Leave Agios Ioannis by the road on
      of the valley between Vretsia and Agios        which you came and go right onto the
      Ioannis. Return to Agios Nikolaos, go          F618 at the signpost for Salamiou and
      right onto the F616, then go right onto        go right again at the signpost for
      the F617 at the signpost for Filousa.          Kelokedera. Go through Kelokedera
      Go left at the coffee shop; drive down         and Stavrokonnou and go right at the
      the valley and cross the Diarizos River.       signpost to Agios Pandeleimmonos.




118
After you pass the ruins of Choletra,          added later. It was restored in the 1990s
abandoned about forty years ago because        and one of the outbuildings contains an
of landslides, go through the ford and         exhibition of the restoration project.
head for Nata, a village of traditional        The project received the prestigious
two-storey houses, many with large             Europa Nostra Award. On either side of
pitharia wine jars in their courtyards.        the river nearby are the remains of two
After Nata, go right at the signpost           water mills.
to Axylou and at the main road go
                                               To leave, drive down to the riverbed
right onto the F622, and drive through
                                               and go straight ahead on the track
Axylou and Eledio. After Amargeti,
                                               among the boulders. The track meanders
go right onto the F623 at the signpost
                                               but is easily discernable. Go right after
to Agia Maria Kelokedaron. This road
                                               fording the river and keep the orange
takes you down through the beautiful
                                               groves on your left. There are hillsides
Zirupillis forest. There is room by a
                                               studded with olive trees on either side and
roadside shrine shortly after a church
                                               further on are limestone cliffs where you
to stop and take in the view. After climbing
                                               might spot a Bonelli’s eagle, if you are very
out of the valley, you enter the village
                                               lucky.
along a road bordered by almond trees.
Agia Marina is one of seven villages in the    When you reach the tarmac road, go
Kilithes Project for the Sustainable           right heading for Nata (you drove along
Development and Management of the River        the last part of this road before) and go left
Valleys of Eastern Pafos. The other villages   at the fork before the village, following the
are Amargeti, Episkopi, Eledio, Kelokedara,    signs for Anarita. Just before the Anarita,
Nata and Salamiou. An information centre       birdwatchers can take a left turn to
is in the Postal Agency building on your       Phinikas (Foinikas), a deserted village on
right as you leave the village. Drive to       the bank of the Asprokremnos. Drive
Pentalia and, as you near the village you      through Anarita, a village engaged
get a magnificent view of the summit of        in livestock farming. A little further on at
Mount Olympus, with its ‘golf ball’ radar      Timi you will see the Church of Agia Sofia,
stations. At the t-junction in Pentalia,       now a mosque. Just after Timi you will
follow the signs to Panagia tou Sinti          come to the main road. Go right for
down the road to your right and you will       the motorway to Pafos and left for all
have magnificent views of the church as the    other destinations.
track descends.
The church of Panagia tou Sinti, on the
west bank of the Xeros River, was built
around 1500 and had monastic buildings




                                                                                                119
                             Route 13
               Pafos
      and the Akamas
                 Distance: approximately 145 kilometres
                     ñ Wild coastal scenery with wind-carved
                                           rocks and sea caves
                                    ñ Abundant flora and fauna
                                             ñ Stunning scenery
         ñ Pretty hill villages, some specialising in handicrafts
                ñ Excellent walking and cycling, with specially
                  designed nature trails for all levels of ability
                                             ñ Accommodation
                       If you are staying in Pafos, take the
                           road to Coral Bay and turn right
                  at the sign for Lempa. If you are coming
                               from the Lemesos (Limassol)
                        direction, follow the signs for Polis
                                at the end of the motorway
                                  at Pafos and go right onto
                                    the B7 at the t-junction.
                            Go immediately left, signposted
                            to Empa, then right at the next
                               t-junction and left again into
                          Empa village where there the 12th
        church, Panagia Chryseleousa, has beautiful frescoes.
          Go straight ahead at the crossroads and right
                at the t-junction, then left at the signpost
                to Lempa. Go right at the next t-junction
       and immediately left. Take the first right into the
          village and the ‘Lempa Artistic Wall’ of the Cyprus
        Art College is on your right. Follow the signs for the
        Prehistoric Site but watch for the turn to the Lempa
                   Experimental Village, as the sign is obscure.

120
To continue, go right and right again at the
fork, then left and you will be between banana
groves and peach orchards. Go right onto the
E701 and left onto the E708 to Coral Bay,
then left at the sign to Maa Palaiokastro,
to a Bronze Age settlement and museum.




                                                   N
                                             W         E
                                                   S

Back at the main road, go left and drive
through banana, olive, citrus and almond groves.
A side trip to the Sea Caves is via a track to
your left where the road doubles back.
On the main route, go right at the
t-junction, left at the next one and drive
to Agios Georgios Pegia, the site of an early
Byzantine settlement. A tiny Byzantine church,
fishermen’s cottages and tavernas overlook the
fishing harbour and Geronisos island.

                                                           121
      Go back and go left at the signpost to           who set up mandras (sheepfolds) on the
      the Akamas Peninsula. This wild and              coast for winter grazing. There are
      rugged area is practically uninhabited and       sweeping views of the coastline below and
      is a nature lover’s paradise of thick forests,   of the geologically diverse hills around you.
      abundant flora and fauna, a beautiful            As you near the Laona Plateau, you come
      coastline and a patchwork of geological          to terraced vineyards with dry-stone walls.
      formations. After a short distance, the road     Go left at Ineia and left again then
      becomes a dirt track but it is easily            follow the sign for Pittokopas.
      passable with a little care.
                                                       You will see Chrysochou Bay to the right
                                                       just before you go through Pittokopas,
      Over millennia, winter floods                    a village of only half a dozen stone houses,
      and snow melts have created                      and take the right fork to Androlikou.
                                                       This mostly ruined village is home to vast
      some impressive gorges. These                    herds of goats. The brilliant white reef
      make excellent places to hike                    limestone of this area is quarried for the
                                                       building industry.
      and explore. The most
                                                       Go left onto the E709 signposted to
      popular are Avakas,                              Polis and go left again onto the E713
      Androlikou and Petratis.                         at the t-junction. Latchi (Lakki), is the
                                                       fishing and pleasure boat port of Polis.
      When you reach the sign for Avakas               From here you can take boat trips along
      Gorge, a narrow defile between towering          the Akamas coast. In this area there is
      cliffs, take a side trip to walk and explore     plenty accommodation as well as tavernas
      this stunning location, and don’t forget to      serving fresh fish and local food.
      take your camera. Continue on along the          After turning inland, go right to the area
      main road and you will soon see Jurassic         known as the Baths of Aphrodite.
      rocks carved into fantastic shapes by wind       According to legend, this is the place
      and water. Go right onto a concrete              where the goddess of love and beauty met
      road at the signpost to Ineia. You can           her lover Adonis, and bathed in the cool
      take a side trip to the Turtle Hatchery          water of a grotto, fed by a trickling stream
      and Lara Beach by going straight ahead           and shaded by wild figs. There is a good
      and can continue to Neo Chorio but the           beach beneath the nearby tourist pavilion
      road is best suited to 4wd vehicles.             and several delightful nature trails traverse
      As you climb, on your left is a perfectly        the surrounding hillsides, offering stunning
      preserved stiadi (makeshift house),              views of countryside and the crystal blue
      built by shepherds from the plateau,             waters of the bay. During spring the entire
                                                       area is carpeted with wildflowers.



122
Go back and go right on the F735               rocks in the sea. The next village is Kato
to Neo Chorio, which used to be a              Arodes, sitting at the head of the Avakas
donkey-breeding village. Go left of the        River and gorge. It is in these Laona villages
church, then straight ahead and fork           that you are most likely to find older men
right onto a dirt road signposted ‘Smigies’.   still wearing the traditional vraka, baggy
Agios Minas, a 16th century church atop        breeches.
12th century foundations near a small
                                               The varied rock formations have created
stream is a good place to spot indigenous
                                               spectacular gorges, karsts and undulating
Agama lizards. A little further on you come
                                               chalky hills around Pano Arodes, a village
to Smigies picnic site, which has toilets,
                                               surrounded by vineyards and which is
tables and fresh water. In this area are
                                               known for its white grapes and an old linos
several nature trails and it is a good
                                               (wine press) that has been preserved
birdwatching area too.
                                               among the vineyards. The houses are
                                               typical, narrow, two-storey stone buildings.
The remote Akamas area is
                                               Go left onto E709, signposted to
particularly beautiful during                  Prodromi and go right at the sign to
springtime when the wild                       Kritou Tera, where there is a huge plane
                                               tree by the bridge as you enter. Saddlers
flowers are in bloom. This                     and chair makers were prevalent here and
region is particularly famous                  the women made sweet pasteli, carob
                                               toffee. At the end of the 19th and the
for its wild cyclamen, irises,                 beginning of the 20th century, the village
anemones, tulips and narcissi.                 was famous in the region because one of
                                               its coffee shops was a ‘casino’ where
Go back through Neo Chorio and                 gambling took place and exotic dancers
Latchi and go right onto the E709,             from abroad, mainly Smyrna and Adana,
signposted to Kathikas, and head for           entertained the punters. Kritou Tera is
Drousia. This popular rural holiday spot       home to an Environmental Studies Centre.
has renovated arched village houses,           Drive through the village, go right at
a modern hotel, a weaving museum and           the coffee shop with a spiral staircase,
wonderful views across Chrysochou Bay.         and follow the signs for Agia Ekaterini.
Go on the F708, signposted to Pafos,           As you drive down the valley between
to Ineia, where one of the old limestone       apricot orchards, there are wide views
houses is a basket-making museum.              across to the Pafos Forest. Agia Ekaterini
Looking across the vineyards to the coast      Church, with its interesting architecture,
you can see the Karavopetres, tall isolated    was founded in the 15th century by monks




                                                                                                123
      from Mount Sinai, who still own it. As you    On your left among the vineyards, you will
      drive down the hill, there is a deep          see a set of steps going nowhere. During
      tree-filled gully to your right.              the grape harvest, grape-pickers would
                                                    climb them to tip grapes into sirizes,
      Go right onto the main B7 road and
                                                    donkey panniers.
      right onto the F734 at the signpost to
      Kato Akourdalia, a village of traditional     As you drive down towards the coast,
      houses, some of which have been               there is a spectacular view ahead, especially
      renovated as rural accommodation and          at sunset, when the sea turns to
      a folk art museum. You can take a side trip   shimmering gold. Go left onto the F706
      by going right to Pano Akourdalia,            at the bottom of the hill for Pafos and
      which also has rural accommodation            the motorway.
      and a herbal garden.

      On the main route, take the road to
      Miliou, where most of the traditional
      houses have pretty flower gardens.
      Near the old monastery building of Agioi
      Anargyri are therapeutic sulphur springs.
      After going right onto the B7, Giolou is
      to your right. This is a fertile village of
      almonds, grapes, citrus fruit and cereals.
      This area is particularly beautiful in        Lempa Prehistoric Site/Experimental
      February when the almond tress are            Village The settlement belongs to the
      in blossom. Go right at the sign for          Chalcolithic period, c.3,500BC. Nearby,
      Theletra, an old settlement tucked under      archaeologists have constructed six
      a cliff. The village was abandoned several    complete roundhouses using the same
      years ago because of landslides and the       building methods as those in antiquity,
      wind whistles eerily around the arched        in order to try to ascertain how such
      two-storey houses and meandering streets.     a mammoth building task was achieved
      At the top of the hill, go to Kathikas.       without the use of carts. The wheel had
      The main income of this village was from      not been invented at that time and each
      grapes and winemaking but rural tourism       building required around 100 tonnes
      is now a feature, with several traditional    of earth, stone and timber. The ancient
      houses accommodating holidaymakers.           builders mixed mud with chaff and put up
      The old village school is the Information     wooden posts to support a roof of beams,
      Centre for the Laona Project and there        myrtle and earth. They lime-plastered the
      is a winery on the outskirts as you follow    floor and walls and completed the building
      the E709, signposted to Pafos.                with wooden window frames and doors.



124
These constructions stand alongside the         prosperity was principally due to its copper
exposed foundations of their prehistoric        deposits. One area focuses on the
predecessors. Many finds from the site are      settlement at Maa itself, with details
at the Pafos District Archaeological            of the life and activities of its inhabitants
Museum. The Lemba site is open daily from       and there is information about settlements
dawn to dusk and you can wander freely.         from the same era at Enkomi, Kition and
The site is on the Aphrodite Cultural           Alassa as well as on the influence exerted
Route.                                          by the Mycenaean Greeks. Finally, there
                                                is a section on the development of writing
Maa-Palaiokastro is a 12th century BC
                                                and religious practices in Cyprus during the
fortified settlement built by Mycenaean
                                                late Bronze Age. Entry is through the
Greeks seeking refuge after the collapse of
                                                Maa-Palaiokastro site, the entry fee for
their main centres of civilisation in the
                                                which covers the museum too.
Peloponnesos in southern Greece, and
                                                Open Mon – Sat 10:00 – 16:00.
who were attracted by Cyprus’ copper
mines. Maa had a natural harbour and            Cape Drepano and Pegeia Early
potable water and the settlers fortified the    Christian Basilicas: In this area there was
site with massive stone walls. Excavations      a Roman and early Byzantine settlement.
have unearthed a large complex of rooms         It was almost certain that it was destroyed
joined by a common corridor and other           by earthquake and its ruins are scattered
finds indicate that internal and external       beneath the scrubland of the area.
trade existed. Although the site was            However, its small harbour, which was
defendable and was a good vantage point         used during the early Byzantine period as a
from which to spot an approach from land        convenient harbour for trade between
or sea, the Mycenaeans Greeks abandoned         Egypt and Constantinople, is still in use
it around 1150 BC and probably moved on         today. There are rock-cut chambers on the
to other parts of the island.                   cliff-side above the harbour, some of which
                                                bear Christian crosses of an archaic design.
The Museum of the Mycenaean Greek
                                                The offshore small island of Geronisos has
Colonisation of Cyprus at Maa is an
                                                what are thought to be the remains of a
impressive semi-underground modern
                                                Roman garrison on its west side.
structure, designed by the famous Italian
                                                The excavations of 6th century Pegeia
architect, Andrea Bruno, and consisting
                                                Basilicas (which gets its name from the
of eight chronological themed areas and,
                                                nearest village), are behind the fishermen’s
with the help of explanatory texts, aerial
                                                cottages. Here you will find excellent floor
photographs, maps and copies of finds,
                                                mosaics depicting animals and birds.
visitors can learn about the glorious history
of late Bronze Age Cyprus, whose




                                                                                                125
      Route 14
              Polis,
        Kato Pyrgos
         and Kykkos
                Distance: approximately 165 kilometres
                     ñ Interesting coastal and mountain drive
                                        ñ Ancient monasteries
                               ñ Impressive scenery and views
                        ñ Vineyards, wineries and pine forests
                             ñ Good birdwatching and walking
                                            ñ Accommodation
                 Leave Polis (once a very important ancient
                 City Kingdom, now a small pleasant coastal
                             town overlooking the delightful
                           Chrysochous Bay) on the E704,
                                     signposted to Argaka.
                          You are heading for Pachyammos
                            and Kato Pyrgo along a narrow,
                              fertile coastal strip with sandy
                              beaches and capes to your left
                                and mountains to your right.
                                  Along the way you will see
                                a wooden pier. This was the
                          place where the copper ore from
       the nearby mines at Limni was loaded onto the ships
        for transportation abroad. There is a picnic site just
           before the pretty hill village of Argaka, which is a
                                  short detour to your right.

            At Gialia, which is known for its tasty oranges,
       and at Agia Marina the houses along the beach have
                    vibrant gardens of lilies in the spring and
               the cultivation of peanuts and small quantities
                         of tobacco are unique to this region.

126
            Shortly after the village of Pomos, go left by
            a banana grove – look for a small blue and
            white ‘Fishing Shelter’ sign on a telegraph
            pole. There is a wonderful view of the bay and
            mountains from the tiny harbour. The small
            beach is good for snorkelling and the seashore
            pebbles are an illustration of the geology of this
            area. Wet a few to see the varied colours.

    N
W       E
    S




            As you drive on, the coastal strip is replaced by
            pine-covered slopes that fall vertically to the sea.
            Pachyammos means ‘broad sand’ and here a
            beach of dark sand sweeps around the bay.
            The large church in the middle of the village
            is dedicated to Agios Rafael and is a popular
            pilgrimage site. After the village, you start to
            climb into the Tylliria, a swathe of austere
            forested territory on the north-west slopes
            of the Troodos Mountains.

                                                                   127
      The large bands of bare earth that can be        time to check your gauge because there
      seen traversing the forest are firebreaks,       is no more petrol to be had on this route.
      needed here because the ruggedness of this       In the old part of the village, which is
      area makes access difficult for fire             shaded by huge trees, go right onto the
      appliances. The barren terrain to your left      F743, signposted to Pano Pyrgos.
      is where, centuries ago, the trees were cut
                                                       Drive up the valley of citrus, bananas and
      for shipbuilding and smelting in the
                                                       peaches and go right to Pano Pyrgos.
      long-since defunct copper mines. Keep
                                                       This tiny settlement is one of the last
      your eyes open for the wandering goats
                                                       places in Cyprus where charcoal is
      that inhabit abandoned buildings –
                                                       produced. Logs (mainly deadfall) from the
      the animals often stray onto the road.
                                                       nearby forest are placed in pits on top of
                                                       smouldering wood and covered with earth
      The archaeological museum                        to ‘cook’ slowly. The smoke-blackened
      in Polis houses an interesting                   stone houses are now mostly uninhabited
                                                       but there is a little postal agency cum
      collection of antiquities,                       village store that also serves as the village
      all of which have been located                   coffee shop.

      in the area. These show the                      Back at the F743, go right and head for
                                                       Kambos. The winding road now takes you
      importance of this region in                     into the Tylliria hinterland, with its deep
                                                       river valleys, mineral rich rocks and thick
      the past. The Museum is on
                                                       forest. As you travel south along the
      the Aphrodite Cultural Route.                    Pyrgos River, you might see moufflon
                                                       skittering down the rock face to drink.
      Because of the new road, the economy
      and quality of life of the region has seen       After climbing to Selladi tis Syrmenis
      an upturn. This is particularly apparent         there is room to stop to take a look across
      when you reach the village of Mosfileri,         to Morfou Bay, Cape Kormakiti and the
      where many of the old houses are being           Mesaoria plain in the distance. The road
      turned into holiday homes. You can see           now drops down and goes north along the
      the remains of the narrow old road on            Limnitis valley and climbs again, offering
      either side just after Mansoura.                 amazing views of the coastline. Stop at the
                                                       top and listen to the haunting sound of the
      Kato Pyrgos is the regional centre of the
                                                       wind. As you go down into the Kampos
      Tylliria. It is a holiday retreat with hotels,
                                                       River valley, go right at the signpost for
      apartments, tavernas, banks, a cottage
                                                       Kampos. This narrow lane takes you to
      hospital and a petrol station. Now is the
                                                       the quaint shady village of Kampos, where




128
there are tavernas and a small guesthouse.      Drive on and go left onto the tarmac,
Cherry orchards, vines and damask roses         heading for Panagia. You get another
line the road to Tsakistra.                     view of Mount Olympus on your left
                                                before reaching the quiet and peaceful
As you continue up the road to Kykkos
                                                Monashilakas picnic site. After climbing
Monastery, the peak of Mount Olympus is
                                                to Pano Panagia between vine-clad
to your left.
                                                terraces, go left onto the F622,
Go back down the road and take the              signposted to Statos Agios Fotios.
left fork signposted to Stavros tis
                                                Pano Panagia is the birthplace of
Psokas. Just before the fork you will
                                                Archbishop Makarios III, first president of
glimpse the sea in the distance ahead of
                                                the Republic of Cyprus and you can visit
you. At the next fork, take the forest
                                                his childhood home. Many of the traditional
road left, signposted to Cedar Valley,
                                                houses here consist of a one family room
and you will shortly get a view of Olympus,
                                                with an area behind for the animals and
the highest point on the island, and the tiny
                                                a shared front door. The village has several
chapel of Throni tis Panagias, which
                                                tavernas, rural accommodation and a
overlooks Kykkos Monastery, to your left.
                                                winery.

                                                As you travel to Chrysorrogiatissa
                                                Monastery, there is an extensive view to
                                                your right of the surrounding countryside
                                                and Kannaviou Dam.
                                                Travelling on, Agia Moni Monastery,
                                                one of the oldest on the island and
                                                believed to have been founded in 300AD
                                                over an ancient Temple of Hera, is to your
                                                left just before you go right onto the
Cedar Valley contains hundreds of the           E702, signposted to Choulou.
indigenous cedar trees, cedrus brevifolia,
                                                Driving down into the vineyards, the view
which differ slightly from their Lebanese
                                                sweeps across from the Pafos Forest
cousin. The area has seats in the shade
                                                almost to the Akamas. Go through old
and toilet facilities. Hikers can walk
                                                Statos, abandoned after the 1955
up to the summit of Mount Tripylos
                                                earthquake, although the villagers
(1,362 metres), from where there
                                                continued to keep their zivania stills here,
is a magnificent panorama of the Tylliria
                                                (See Section 1, Chapter 5, Food and
and Pafos Forest.
                                                wine), and follow the road signposted




                                                                                               129
      to Pentalia. There is a winery at Statos       Kykkos Monastery, isolated among
      Agios Fotios to your left. Go right again      magnificent mountains and forests,
      at the sign for Choulou, then follow           is famous throughout the Orthodox world.
      the signs for Pafos.                           It houses an icon of the Most Merciful
                                                     Virgin, reputedly painted by St Luke the
      After going through the lower end of
                                                     Apostle during the Madonna’s lifetime.
      Statos and Agios Fotios, again abandoned
                                                     This icon, which is kept in a silver
      but with some impressive architecture, you
                                                     phylactery, is venerated by Cypriots who
      are in the heart of the Pafos wine country,
                                                     pray to it regularly but especially at times
      with slow-moving villages where tradition
                                                     of drought. Kykkos is of Byzantine origin,
      holds fast. The rolling hills are covered
                                                     founded by the hermit Isaias, probably at
      with wild barley, almond trees and
                                                     the end of the 11th century, with the aid
      vineyards.
                                                     of the Byzantine Emporer Alexios
      In Choulou, a village of tall and narrow       Komnenos. The first monastery was built
      stone houses, go left at the signpost to       of wood. Over the centuries, Kykkos
      Pafos and take the road to Lemona.             acquired considerable wealth and property
      In the past, this village was famous for its   in Cyprus and abroad and had close
      silk and quite a few mulberry trees remain.    connections with the Russian Church.
      Some of the older inhabitants can still        The current assortment of buildings date
      recite the Song of Arodafnousa, in which the   from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and
      secret love between a mediaeval King of        the frescoes and mosaics are of recent
      Cyprus and a noblewoman from Choulou,          design and execution. To the south-west is
      is told.                                       Throni tis Panagias (throne of the Virgin
      Cross the Ezousa River on the way to           Mary), a place of pilgrimage overlooking
      Letymbou, where you will see an old olive      the entire mountain range. Nearby is the
      mill and a linos (wine press), in a tiny       tomb of Archbishop Makarios III, who was
      square to your right. The village has some     a novice at Kykkos and who chose this site
      beautifully restored houses and it is said     as his final resting place. Kykkos is open
      that there are twelve churches within its      year round from dawn to dusk.
      boundaries, the most important being
                                                     The Byzantine Museum at Kykkos
      Agios Kyrikos and Ioulitas.
                                                     Monastery contains a breathtaking
      The vineyards continue past Kallepia           collection of priceless ecclesiastical
      and Tsada, all the way to the B7 Polis –       treasures. The state-of-the-art interior
      Pafos road.                                    of the building, which is a finely balanced
      Makarios Birthplace: Open 10:00 – 13:00        combination of ancient and modern,
      and 14:00 – 18:00 daily                        includes a small display of antiquities
                                                     and a large gallery with Early Christian,




130
Byzantine and post-Byzantine church
vestments, vessels and jewellery. There is a
circular room with manuscripts and books
and a splendid display of icons, frescoes
and carvings in another chamber. Soothing
Byzantine church music plays unobtrusively
in the background. Open June – Oct 10:00
– 18:00, Nov – May 10:00 – 16:00.
Panagia Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery
(Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate)
is in beautiful wooded surroundings 830m
above sea level, with wonderful views over
the west coast of the island. The
monastery was established in 1152 by the
hermit Ignatius to house an icon with the
image of the Virgin Mary believed to have
been painted by St Luke the Evangelist.
The icon had washed ashore at Pafos after
being thrown into the sea at Isauria in Asia
Minor to save it from iconoclasts.
A fisherman found it and hid it in a cave
from where, four hundred years later,
Ignatuis retrieved it after a vision in which
he saw the icon radiating light and an angel
told him to take it to Monte Rogia and
enshrine it there. The miraculous icon is
now kept in a special casket.
A few years ago, the Abbott revived the
monastery’s wine-making tradition using
grapes from the monastery’s vineyards on
the slopes of Mount Rogia. The winery is
within the monastery’s cloisters and is
open to visitors.




                                                131
                           Route 15
       Pafos Forest
                            Approximately 80 kilometres
          ñ Forested mountain roads with impressive views
                                       ñ Moufflon sancturary
                        ñ Excellent hiking and birdwatching
                     ñ Quaint villages with traditional crafts
                                         ñ Freshwater fishing
                                           ñ Accommodation
             Leave the B7 Polis to Pafos road at Skouli
              on the road signposted to Evretou Dam.
                  From the dam wall there is a wide-angle
                        view across the Chrysochou Valley
                  to the Laona Peninsula and the Akamas.
                 This is a popular place with birdwatchers
                        looking for waterbirds and waders.
                            Go back down the road and
                                 go right at the signpost
                               to Steni and Peristerona.
                         At the entrance to Peristerona,
                         go left at the wooden signboard
                           to ‘Aitichoulis Gorge’ and walk
                          a little way behind the monument
                     for an extensive view of the Polis area.
       This is a good vantage point from which to look for
                    birds of prey wheeling above the gorge.

        Peristerona is the seat of the Bishop of Arsinoe and
       there is a very interesting Byzantine Museum on the
        ground floor of the bishopric. You pass an old olive
       press on the left as you leave the village. Follow the
      signs for Stavros tis Psokas. Drive into the narrow

132
village centre of Lysos and beside the restored
old Church of the Panagia is a viewpoint where
you can sit and take in the landscape of coastal
villages and sea. Below the church is the original
cobbled village square, which is notable for its
many vryses (springs), where the women of the




                                                     N
                                                 W       E
                                                     S
village used to go every day to collect water.
You pass a small hotel as you leave the village
and start to climb into the Pafos Forest.
As you ascend, there is a deep valley to your
right and rockroses thrive beneath the tall pines
lining the road.
Stavros tis Psokas is a government forest
station that gets its name from a long-gone
monastery. It is also the headquarters of the
Fire Brigade for the Pafos Forest. Stavros tis
Psokas is a favoured spot with Cypriots,
                                                             133
      who say it is the coolest place on the island    right. The road skirts the dam,
      in summer. There are barbecue facilities         then climbs and joins the tarmac
      at the large picnic site and there is a small    at a t-junction, where you go right,
      shop, café, and limited accommodation.           following the sign to Kannaviou.
      By far the most popular reason for visiting
                                                       You will pass the dam wall on your right
      Stavros tis Psokas is to get a glimpse
                                                       down the hill before going right onto
      of the rare and endangered moufflon (ovis
                                                       the F725, signposted to Kritou
      orientalis ophion), which are reared and
                                                       Marottou. You are now in an area of olive
      protected here in a huge government-run
                                                       trees, wild barley and grape vines. In the
      enclosure. (See Section 1, Chapter 2,
                                                       village, take the road signposted to
      Natural Environment).
                                                       ‘Phiti’ and follow the arrows. At the
      To leave, take the road to your left as          second church, go right and up.
      you face back the way you came.
                                                       Fyti sits on a ridge and has extensive views
      This is an all-weather forest road
                                                       all around. The arched ground-floor rooms
      signposted to Pafos on a dark green sign.
                                                       of many of the traditional limestone houses
      Follow the signs to ‘Agia’ and on the
                                                       are large in order to accommodate a voufa
      way down, there is a deep valley to your
                                                       (loom). Weaving is still done at Fyti
      right and a view of the hills to the south.
                                                       (See Section 1, Chapter 4, Rural Crafts
      Water seeps from the rocks and crosses
                                                       and Skills) and you can see the women
      the track into the trackside stream, where
                                                       working and buy their fine linen.
      bracken and ferns grow, and where you
                                                       There is a weaving museum in the village
      may be lucky enough to spot freshwater
                                                       square.
      crabs. Planes, oaks, arbutus and brambles
      line the valley floor. Agyia picnic site is in   The next village, Lasa, used to be a centre
      deep shade on a tributary of the Ezousa          of chair-making and there are still a few
      River and here you will find drinking water      carpenters working. There is an olive press
      and toilets. A little further on is the Vrysi    on your left and the old circular stone
      tou Diakou, an ice-cold spring, where            threshing floors in the fields are still used.
      moufflon come to drink, leaving dainty           On the road to Simou, which is an almond
      hoof-prints in the mud.                          growing village, there are views of Evretou
      Go right at the fork in the road,                Dam and the Pafos Forest. Many of the old
      following the sign to Kannaviou.                 houses in Simou have been restored and
      The road becomes a bit bumpy and narrow          the village is gradually being repopulated as
      in places but is easily passable.                better roads make it easier for people to
      After crossing a small bridge, you will see      travel to Polis for work.
      the blue waters of Kannaviou Dam to your




134
After the village, you can take a side trip
by going right at the signpost to Skarfos
Bridge and Watermills. Both are ruined
mediaeval structures built over five
hundred years ago. The little track beside
the bridge, which sits in a field,
is a remnant of the mediaeval road from
Polis to Pafos.
From the main route, which goes between
almond groves and grapevines, there is a
wonderful vista of Evretou dam, a favoured
spot for anglers, with a backdrop of the
Akamas hills. To fish in the dam, anglers
require a license from the Department of
Fisheries. (See Section 1, Chapter 7,
Countryside Activities).
Just a few hundred metres after going
right at the signpost to Evretou dam,
you will reach the water’s edge.
You can drive round the dam to the eerily
beautiful ruins of old Evretou on the
opposite bank.
Go back to the road and go right
to the B7 Polis-Pafos road.
An alternative route is head up to
Lysos and return to Polis via Kynousa
or Pelathousa villages where you will
enjoy some superb views over the
Chrysochou Bay as you head down
from the hills.
Arsinoe Byzantine Museum
Apr-Oct, Mon-Fri 10:00-13:00, 14:00-18:00
Nov-Mar, Mon-Fri 10:00-16:00
Saturday all year 10:00-13:00




                                              135
      CYPRUS TOURISM ORGANISATION                    Pafos
      Leoforos Lemesou 19, Lefkosia (Nicosia)        a) Gladstonos 3
      P.O.Box 24535, CY 1390 Lefkosia(Nicosia)       CY 8046 Pafos, Tel. 26 93 28 41
      Cyprus, Tel. 22 69 11 00                       b) Poseidonos 63A, CY 8042, Kato Pafos
      Telefax: 22 33 16 44                           Tel. 26 93 05 21
      E-mail: cytour@cto.org.cy                      c) Pafos International Airport
      Web-site: www.visitcyprus.com                  CY 8320 Pafos, Tel. 26 42 31 61
                                                     (service to all flights)
      TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICES
                                                     Polis
      (For personal and telephone enquiries only)
                                                     Vasileos Stasioikou A’ 2
      Open every morning except Sundays
                                                     CY 8820, Polis Chrysochous
      and on Monday,
                                                     Tel. 26 32 24 68
      Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons
                                                     Agia Napa
      Lefkosia (Nicosia)                             Leoforos Kryou Nerou 12
      Aristokyprou 11                                CY 5330 Agia Napa, Tel. 23 72 17 96
      Laïki Geitonia (East of Plateia Eleftherias)   Paralimni - Protaras
      CY 1011 Lefkosia, Tel. 22 67 42 64             Leoforos Protara - Kavo Gkreko 356
      Lemesos (Limassol)                             CY 5296 Protaras - Paralimni,
      a) Spyrou Araouzou 115 A’                      Tel. 23 83 28 65
      CY 3036 Lemesos, Tel. 25 36 27 56              Platres
      b) Georgiou A’, 22                             CY 4820 Platres, Tel. 25 42 13 16
      CY 4047 Lemesos, Potamos tis
      Germasogeias
      (eastern entrance of Dasoudi beach)
      Tel. 25 32 32 11
      c) Lemesos Harbour
      P.O.Box 55605, CY 3781Lemesos
      Service to all passenger boats
      Tel. 25 57 18 68
      Larnaka
      a) Plateia Vasileos Pavlou
      CY 6023 Larnaka, Tel. 24 65 43 22
      b) Larnaka International Airport
      CY 7130 Larnaka, Tel. 24 64 35 76




136
UNITED KINGDOM                             FRANCE
CYPRUS TOURIST OFFICE                      OFFICE DU TOURISME DE CHYPRE
17, Hanover Street London W1S 1YP          15, Rue de la Paix, 75002 Paris
Tel. 0207 569 8800, Fax: 0207 499 4935     Tel. (01) 42 61 42 49, Fax: (01) 42 61 65 13
E-mail: informationcto@btconnect.com       E-mail: cto.chypre.paris@wanadoo.fr
IRELAND                                    BELGIUM
CYPRUS TOURISM ORGANISATION                OFFICE DU TOURISME DE CHYPRE
71, Lower Leeson Str., Dublin 2            DIENST VOOR TOERISME VAN CYPRUS
Tel. 00 353-1-6629269                      Avenue de Cortenbergh 61,
Fax: 00 353-1-6629270                      Kortenberglaan
E-mail: cyprusinfo@eircom.net              B-1000 Bruxelles/Brussel
                                           Tel. 02/735.06.21, Fax: 02/735.66.07
GERMANY
                                           E-mail: cyprus@skynet.be
FREMDENVERKEHRSZENTRALE
ZYPERN,                                    THE NETHERLANDS
FRANKFURT                                  CYPRUS VERKEERSBUREAU
Zeil 127 - 60313 Frankfurt                 Keizersgracht 635, 1017 DS Amsterdam
Tel. (069) 25 19 19, Fax: (069) 25 02 88   Tel. (020) 624 4358, Fax: (020) 638 3369
E-mail: info@cto-fra.de                    E-mail: cyprus.sun@wxs.nl
BERLIN
                                           SWEDEN
Wallstr. 27, 10179 Berlin                                       O

                                           CYPERNS TURISTRAD
Tel. 0 3023 4575 90, Fax: 0 3023 4575 92
                                           Norrlandsgatan 20, 1st floor,
E-mail: cto_berlin@t—online.de
                                           111 43 Stockholm
SWITZERLAND                                Tel. (08) 10 50 25, Fax: (08) 10 64 14
FREMDENVERKEHRSZENTRALE                    E-mail: info@ctosweden.org
ZYPERN
                                           FINLAND
Gottfried Keller – Strasse 7, CH-8001
                                           KYPROKSEN MATKAILUTOIMISTO
Zürich , Tel. (+4144) 262 3303
                                           Aleksanterinkatu 48B, 00100 Helsinki
Fax: (+4144) 251 2417
                                           Tel. (0) 9-476 09 100, Fax: (0) 9-476 09 120
Geneva: Tel: (+4122) 741 33 03
                                           E-mail: info@ctofinland.org
E-mail: ctozurich@bluewin.ch
                                           GREECE
AUSTRIA
                                           CYPRUS TOURISM ORGANISATION
ZYPERN TOURISMUS
                                           ATHENS
Parkring 20, A–1010 Wien
                                           Voukourestiou 38, Kolonaki, Athens 10673
Tel. (01) 513 18 70, Fax: (01) 513 18 72
                                           Tel. (210) 36 10 178, (210) 36 10 057
E-mail: zyperntourism@aon.at
                                           Fax: (210) 36 44 798
                                           E-mail: cto–athens@ath.forthnet.gr



                                                                                          137
      THESSALONIKI                               ST. PETERSBURG
      37 Nikis Ave., Thessaloniki 54013,         Prospect Chernyshevskogo
      P.O.Box 50046                              Flat 56, House 17, 191123 St. Petersburg
      Tel. 00 2310-242880                        Tel: 007-812-332-58-08
      Fax: 00 2310-286881                        Fax: 007-812-332-58-09
      E-mail: kotthes@the.forthnet.gr            E-mail: spbcto@yandex.ru
      ITALY                                      HUNGARY
      ENTE NAZIONALE PER IL TURISMO DI           CIPRUSI IDEGENFORGALMI
      CIPRO                                      HIVATAL
      Via Santa Sofia 6, 20122 Milano            H-1051 Budapest, Dorottya Str. 3. III floor
      Tel. 02 58 30 33 28, 02 58 31 98 35        Tel. 00-36-1-266 6044
      Fax: 02 58 30 33 75                        Fax: 00-36-1-266 6043
      E-mail: info@turismocipro.it               E-mail: ciprusinfo@t-online.hu
      UNITED STATES                              POLAND
      CYPRUS TOURISM ORGANIZATION                CYPRYJSKA ORGANIZACJA
      13 East 40th Str. New York, NY 10016       TURYSTYCZNA
      Tel. (00 1212) 683-5280,                   Piekna 20, 00-549 Warszawa
      Fax: (00 1212) 683-5282                    Tel. 48 22-827 90 36
      E-mail: gocyprus@aol.com                   Fax: 48 22-827 90 34
                                                 E-mail: cto@cypr.pl
      ISRAEL
      CYPRUS TOURISM ORGANISATION                CZECH REPUBLIC
      Top Tower-14th floor, Dizengoff Centre                `
                                                 KYPERSK∞ ORGANIZACE
      50 Dizengoff Str., - Tel-Aviv 64332                    `
                                                 CESTOVNI HO RUCHU
      Tel. 00-972-3-52 57 442,                   Pod Hradbami 662/9, 16000 Praha 6
      Fax: 00-972-3-52 57 443                    Tel. 00-420-222-253 097
      E-mail: cto@netvision.net.il               Fax: 00-420-222-251 639
                                                 E-mail: cto.prague@volny.cz
      RUSSIAN FEDERATION
      CYPRUS TOURISM ORGANISATION-               MIDDLE EAST & ARABIAN GULF
      MOSCOW                                     CYPRUS TOURISM ORGANISATION
      Povarskaya 9, Building 2, 121069, Moscow   Al Ghurair Center, Offices Tower 436B
      Tel. 007 495 744 2953/54                   P.O.Box 94670, Deira, Dubai, UAE
      Fax: 007 495 744 2955                      Tel. (00971) 4 2277637
      E-mail: moscowcto@yandex.ru                Fax. (00971) 4 2277638
                                                 E-mail: tourism@cyprusme.com




138
                      General
info
The fire hazard                                  Cyprus weather
It is highly likely that fires would get         Cyprus enjoys an intense Mediterranean
started in the Cyprus countryside                climate, with long, dry summers from
especially during the summer months when         mid-May to mid-October and with mild
it gets parched and dry. Please be aware of      winters from December to February which
the danger and avoid discarding cigarettes       are separated by short autumn and spring
out of car windows, having barbecues in          seasons. Summer is the season of high
places not allowed or discarding glass           temperatures with cloudless skies but the
bottles which can easily reflect the sun.        sea breeze creates a pleasant atmosphere
If you do notice a fire or even smoke,           in the coastal areas. Winters are mild with
please call 1407 immediately.                    some rain and snow on Troodos
                                                 Mountains. In Cyprus there is abundant
Driving
                                                 sunshine. Even in December and January
Driving is on the left, with priority from
                                                 there is an average of six hours of bright
the right at roundabouts. The road layout
                                                 sunshine per day.
and road signs follow the international
system and distances and speeds are given        Clothing/Dress and Activities
in kilometres. Fairly good surfaced roads        April-May: Days are pleasantly warm,
complying with international traffic             but temperatures may fall a bit at night.
requirements link the towns and the              - Medium-weight and summer apparel
various villages. Four lane motorways            - Excellent season for those who prefer to
connect the capital Lefkosia (or Nicosia)          enjoy nature as the countryside is green
with the coastal towns of Lemesos                  and flowers are in blossom.
(Limassol), Larnaka, Paphos and Agia Napa.       June-July-August: Warmest months of
Minor roads and forest roads are still           summer
largely unsurfaced but in good to fair           - Very light weight summer clothing
condition. Appropriate care should be            - Ideal for swimming and all beach/water
taken when using these roads especially            activities.
during wet weather. Police will fine you for     September - October: Warm days, cool
careless driving, not wearing a motorcycle       October evenings
helmet or a seatbelt and using a mobile          - Light weight apparel for the day
phone while driving.                               and medium-weight for the evenings
                                                   in October.
Driving licenses
                                                 November: Pleasantly warm days
Visitors in Cyprus can drive using a valid
                                                 - Medium-weight apparel. Light woollies.
International driving license, or their
                                                 - Ideal weather for autumn travel. Lunches
National driving license, provided it is valid
                                                   in the open-air still a delight. Sunbathing
for the class of vehicle they wish to drive.
                                                   and even swimming can still be enjoyed,
                                                   as well as most outdoor sports.


                                                                                                 139
      December-January:                              credit cards and have efficient and easy-to-
      - It may rain occasionally, yet the promise    work self-service pumps when the garage
         of glorious sunshine is still there.        is closed. Petrol is sold by the litre and
      - Winter clothing-not heavy coats though!      15% VAT is included in all prices.
      - Outdoor activities and excursions can be
                                                     Pharmacies
         enjoyed.
                                                     These are in main towns only and are open
      February: The possibility of exceptionally
                                                     during shop hours. Pharmacists are highly
      warm days. Almond trees in blossom,
                                                     qualified and able to assist with many minor
      occasional rain and mild day time
                                                     problems. The list of late-night openings is
      temperatures are the harbingers of spring.
                                                     displayed in all pharmacy windows or you
      It can be quite cold however in the
                                                     can find out about it on 90901433.
      evenings.
      - Winter apparel.                              Photography
      - Conditions are ideal for snow skiing on      Please note that you are not allowed
         Troodos mountains                           to take photographs near military camps
      March: Moderating weather with plenty          or military installations, in museums where
      of sunshine and with nature at its best.       a special license is required by the
      - Winter apparel with medium-weight            appropriate authorities and in churches
         wear.                                       with mural paintings and icons, if ‘flash’
      - Most outdoor activities can be enjoyed       is required.
         and March is an excellent period for long   Wild flowers
         country walks.                              Please do not pick the many endemic and
      Safety in the sun                              rare wild flowers and herbs you will find in
      Avoid being in the sun between                 the Cyprus countryside.
      11:00 -15:00 and always apply a suncream.      Traffic accident
      Religion                                       In case of a road traffic accident call the
      The dominant religion of Cyprus is Greek       police (199). Your statements will be taken
      Orthodox. Visitors are welcomed in             in English and read to you. Get the name
      churches but must be properly dressed          and number of attending police officers
      with long trousers for men and knee-high       Liabilities are often agreed on the spot.
      (or longer) skirts or trousers for women.      Call your car hire company immediately.
      At mosques you should leave your shoes         Afternoon relax hours (Siesta)
      off.
                                                     Siesta time is still observed in most villages
      Petrol Stations                                and shops might be closed between
      It is advisable to fill up before you leave    13:00 –15:00 (or some cases 16:00)
      towns. Petrol stations take electronic         during summer time.




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