various roads that lead to the Troodos highest point (Olympus Peak)
pass by fertile hills, the slopes of which are planted with vineyards,
apple trees and almond trees, gorgeous in spring time. These mountain
roads inevitably pass from some very charming and historical villages,
which kept their traditional Cyprus character.
Pitsillia area lies on the eastern slopes of the Troodos mountain
range. Picturesque villages cling to the mountainside amid vineyards,
orchards of almond and hazelnut trees, and an astonishing array
of wild flowers. Pitsillia area is reached either from Limassol,
on the Limassol-Ayios Theodoros - Agros Road, or Limassol - Kato
Amiantos Karvounas - Kyperounta road, or from Nicosia through
Palaichori - Agros, or through Kakopetria Karvounas - Kyperounta.
km north of Limassol through Ayios Theodoros, Agros is the center
of the district. It has a good dry climate, gardens of roses, cool
springs and hotels for visitors. A 19th century church in Byzantine
style now stands on the site of a 9th century monastery of Panayia
Eleousa Agrou, founded by monks from Constantinople.
km south of Nicosia on the Nicosia-Agros-Limassol road, and 15 km
from Agros. The Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior (tou
Sotiros) is an early 16th century chapel on the hill overlooking
the beautiful old village. Its interior is completely painted with
one of the most accomplished series of murals, of the post-Byzantine
period in Cyprus. The church of Panayia Chrysopantanassa was built
in the 16th century and is the main church of the upper village.
It also has four cycles of wall paintings.
TOU AYIASMATI AT PLATANISTASSA
village, 15 km from Agros, 30 km off the Nicosia-Astromeritis road,
turning left before Peristerona village. A 15th century church,
which lies about 3 km outside this very pleasant old village, retains
the most complete cycles of mural paintings of the second half of
the 1 5th century in Cyprus. Visitors can ask for the key from the
TOU ARAKA AT LAGOUDHERA
village, is 15 km from Agros or off the Kakopetria-Troodos-Limassol
road (Karvounas crossroad) 12th century church stands just outside
the village with some of the finest frescoes of the late Comnenian
style (1192), prevailing throughout Greece, the Balkans and Russia.
Together with Assinou church and that of Ayios Nikolaos tis Steghis,
it is considered to be one of the most important Byzantine churches
on the island. Visitors can ask for the key and be escorted by the
priest who can be found in the premises next to the church.
below Kato Amiantos, off the Karvouna-Limassol road, 32 km from
Limassol. Once the property of Jean de Lusignan, son of the Lusignan
King of Cyprus, Hugh IV. There are two interesting churches, the
14th century church of Timiou Stavrou with beautiful wall paintings
and the church of Panayia Katholiki in the middle of the old village,
which dates to the early 16th century with paintings of the Italo-Byzantine
the main Nicosia-Troodos road, 56 km from Nicosia and 56 km from
Limassol (via Kato Amiantos and Saittas). The picturesque mountain
villages of Galata and Kakopetria, situated in the Solea valley
(or otherwise the apple valley), are popular hill resorts with a
good range of hotels and restaurants, but also retaining much of
the old folk architecture. Both villages are famous for their Byzantine
churches. Other important villages, in the area are: Evrikhou, Flassou
church of Ayios Nikolaos tis Stegis (St. Nicholas of the Roof) stands
about 5 km above the village and once belonged to a monastery. It
is completely painted with murals dating from the 11th to the 17th
century and, is considered one of the most interesting Byzantine
churches on the island. The small 16th century church of Panayia
Theotokos, off the main road, retains about half of its murals and
the church of Ayios Georghios Perachoritis, on the east of the village,
has most of its wall paintings belonging to the first quarter of
the 16th century. The old quarter of the village has been declared
protected and old houses have been restored.
are four painted churches in and around the village. The church
of Ayios Sozomenos dates to the early 16th century and retains a
complete series of frescoes in the post-Byzantine style and stands
in the middle of the old village. The church of the Archangel Michael
or Panayia Theotokos is a timber-roofed chapel, just below the village
and, is completely painted in the post-Byzantine style of the early
16th century. Nearby, is the larger church of Panayia Podithou,
which once belonged to a monastery. It was erected in 1502 and its
paintings are of the Italo-Byzantine style, which appeared on the
island towards the end of the 15th century. The small church of
Ayia Paraskevi on the old Kakopetria-Galata road has paintings of
1514. The old Inn which has been restored "the Hani Kalliana"
is also interesting.
from Nikitari village, off the main Nicosia-Troodos-Limassol road,
around 20 km north of Kakopetria. Early 12th century church, dedicated
to the Virgin Mary, with frescoes of the 12th century and later
periods, considered to be among the finest examples of Byzantine
mural painting in the island. Visitors should ask for the priest
of Nikitari village to escort them.
fertile valley, well-known for its cherries on the north side of
the Troodos range, offers an alternative route to Troodos, through
the lovely mountain villages, such as Kalopanayiotis, Moutoullas,
Pedhoulas and then up to Prodhromos and Kykko. The road is signposted
to Kykko, and turns off the main Nicosia-Troodos road just below
Evrykhou. Marathassa is also reached from Limassol-Platres-Prodromos
road (around 65 km from Limassol).
village is famous for its sulphur springs and the famous church
of Ayios loannis Lampadistis. Originally a monastery, it is a complex
of several buildings of various dates and contains excellent frescoes
of the 13th and 15th centuries. One of the biggest religious fairs
in the valley is held here on St. John's day, 4 October.
than a kilometre further up, is Moutoullas village with its tiny
13th century chapel of Panayia tou Moutoulla, one of the earliest
dated examples of the steep-pitched wooden roof type with frescoes
dating to 1280. Visitors can obtain the key from the adjacent house.
Also at Moutoullas, the tradition continues for carved wooden basins.
third village up the mountain is Pedhoulas, a summer resort famous
for its cherries. The painted church of Archangel Michael stands
in the lower part of the village and dates from 1474. Visitors can
obtain the key from the adjacent house, or leave a message for the
village priest at the coffee shop.
km west of Pedhoulas village, it is the most famous and richest
monastery in Cyprus. Founded in 1100 and dedicated to the Virgin
Mary, it possesses one of the three surviving icons ascribed to
St. Luke. The icon, covered in silver gilt and enclosed in a shrine
of tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl, stands at the front of the
iconostasis. The first President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios
III served as a novice here. At his own wish, he was buried at Throni,
3 km west of the Monastery, not far from his native village of Panayia.
Religious fairs are held at Kykko on 15 August and 8 September.
north west of Platres, (40 km from Limassol), on the Platres-Prodhromos
road. A beautiful monastery standing amid pine trees, it was originally
founded in the 13th century, but the present church dates from 731.
The church contains a priceless icon of the Virgin Mary brought
from Asia Minor, plated with silver-gilt and many other valuable
icons. A large religious fair is held in the grounds on 15 August.
area, known as the 'Krassohoria' (the wine Villages) is found on
the south side of me Troodos range. Old traditions are kept alive
in these villages, where the cultivation the vineyards, and winemaking
are still the main occupation of most of the inhabitants. This is
the area which produces famous local red dry wine. Main villages
in the area are Omodhos, Arsos, Pachna. The area is reached from
the Limassol- Paphos road, turning right after Erimi village or
from Limassol-Platres road.
km south west of Platres. A wine producing village, once the property
Sir John de Brie, Prince of Galilee, with the Monastery of Stavros
(Holy Cross), standing in the center of the village. The monastery
contains old icons, excellent wood carving and other ecclesiastical
objects of interest, as well as a small National struggle museum.
old House, with a wine-press known as Linos, is being restored and
can also be visited. A wine festival is held in the village every
August, and there is a large religious fair on 14 September.
west of Platres. Famous for its pottery and as the birthplace of
Archbishop Sophronios II. Visitors can see the Pilavakion private
km south-west of Pera Pedhi, off the Limassol-Troodos road. An attractive
wine-producing village with the single-aisled vaulted church of
Ayia Mavri, typical of 12th century architecture with murals of
the late 15th century.