The Troodos (pronounced "tro-dos") Mountains cover a wide area across the centre of the island. The highest mountain in the range is Olympos (1,951 m above sea level). Winters are wet with snow falling mainly on higher ground. The slopes are pine-clad in the west and central parts, with golden oak and willow in the valleys. Aromatic maquis (shrubs) colonise areas of low rainfall on the rocky slopes. During June and July the high ground turns yellow as the shrubs come into flower. Hill-walking is very popular and the Cyprus tourist office has prepared many trails through the pine woods.
Troodos is famous as a source of spring water, which is bottled and sold island-wide. It is also a notable fruit-growing area. The Solea Valley and Marathasa regions specialise in cherries, apples, pears and plums. Grape vines are grown everywhere in Cyprus but nowhere better than on the southern slopes of Troodos. The luxuriant harvest is transported down to Limassol (Lemesos) where it is processed in one of its many famous winerys.
The mountain regions are highly populated, with a great number of villages and roads built on all but the very highest peaks. Prodromos is the highest village at 1,390 m. Many villages give a ramshackle appearance as they perch precariously on the hillside, with roofs steeply pitched with red tiles or sometimes corrugated iron.
This little mountain side resort makes a good base for visiting the whole Troodos region. If you are interested in following the local walks take a visit to the Platres Tourist Office for a selection of trail maps.
traditional Cyprus village, located in the wooded Solea Valley, halfway
up the northern slopes of Mount Olympos. Picturesque, but ram shackled,
it is now a small holiday resort with several small hotels and
restaurants. Some buildings in the older part have been restored with
preservation orders placed on them. The village's name means 'bad
stone', relating to the legend of a fabled stone that rolled
crushed some newlyweds. Most days the main square presents a typical
Cypriot village scene with crowds of local people at the cafe tables in
Located 56 km southwest of Lefkosia.
This whole village was declared an ancient monument
to safeguard its 18th-century houses. Many with remarkable woodwork
features. The restored dwellings of Katsinioros and Achilleas Demetri,
with parts still surviving from the 16th century, received the Europa
Nostra award in 1987.
Location 35 km southwest of Nicosia. Open daily.
A summer resort, situated high on the northern slopes of the western
Troodos. Kalopanagiotis is best known for its three sulfur springs. The
water temperature varies in each spring, and an assortment of medical
treatments are claimed for the differing degrees of warmth. The Agiou
Loannou tou Lampadisti church (shown opposite), contains some of the
best paintings from the 13th century. A short
distance down the valley is the Kalopanagiotis Dam, an ideal spot for a
Located 55 km northwest of Lemesos.
Pano Panagia (Birthplace of Archbishop Makarios)
small village is the birthplace of Makarios III, the first president of
Cyprus. The Archbishop Makarios III Historical and Cultural Centre is
located in the main square. It displays details of the cultural events
of Panagia, including photos of significant moments in the archbishop's
life and some of his personal effects. The house where the young
president grew up (a humble, two-room abode) is also open to the public.
Location 32 km northeast of Paphos. Museum open daily.
An important attraction of the region is the various monasteries and Byzantine churches that proliferate the hillsides and valleys. These cloistered retreats offer ideal places for short visits, containing a wealth of frescoes and beautiful imagery. Visitors to all churches and monasteries in Cyprus, should be modestly dressed (no shorts, tight pants, short skirts or sleeveless tops).
Literal translation: "Our Lady
of the Golden Pomegranate" (the symbol of Cyprus). Situated high on the
western slopes of the Troodos, the monastery was founded in 1152 AD by
St Ignatius, inspired by the Virgin Mary to build it here. The
monastery was totally destroyed in 1770 to punish the monks who had
shown political allegiance to an uprising on the Greek mainland.
Rebuilt in the late 18th century, although due to a fire in 1967, some
parts were rebuilt much more recently. The monks also make some of
Cyprus’s finest wine on the premises, which can purchased at their
winery. The Icons and Utensils Treasury is open to the public,
containing an icon of the Virgin Mary, discovered by St Ignatius, and
kept on the iconostasis. There is also a cafe adjacent to the monastery.
Located 34 km northeast of Paphos. Open daily. Admission charge to Treasury.
most celebrated monastery in Cyprus and renowned throughout the Greek
Orthodox world. Surrounded by pine trees at well over 1000 metres above
sea-level. The drive there provides marvelous views of the mountains
along the route. The monastery was founded around 1100 AD by a hermit
called Isaiah. The Byzantine emperor Alexios Comnenos supported its
foundation, in gratitude for his daughter being cured of sciatica,
presented Isaiah with an icon of the Virgin Mary. The icon, one of only
three painted by St Luke, is claimed to have miracle powers and is
encased in gilded silver. Its famous rain making power still draws
farmers to pray in times of drought. The monastery has been burned down
and rebuilt several times over the years but the icon has miraculously
survived each disaster. Kykkos is also renowned for including
Archbishop Makarios amongst its novices.
Located 61 km northwest of Lemesos. Open daily. Admission charge to museum.
Agiou Irakleidiou Monastery
monastery was founded during Byzantine times. Run by a community of
nuns who manage the wonderful gardens as well as selling almond honey and
other tempting confections. Remarkable Byzantine frescoes and icons decorate the
interior of the Church.
Located 9 km southwest of Lefkosia. Open daily (closed to from noon to 3 pm).
in an idyllic location, high in the hills and surrounded by pine trees.
Originally built in the 6th century on the foundations of an ancient
pagan temple, it was rebuilt again in 1638 and 1820.
closed to the public but is worth visiting for the magnificent views.
Agiou Nikolaou tis Stegis
translates as "St Nicholas of the Roof". Its large shingle roof was
built in the 13th Century to cover the lower domed roof. The original
church was constructed in the 11th century, with a narthex and cupola
added in the 12th century. It has many fine frescoes, dating from the
11th to the 17th centuries.
Located 3 km southwest of the village of Kakopetria. Open daily (except Monday).
Troodos' remarkable painted churches were built between the 11th and 16th centuries. At least nine churches are listed on the World Cultural Heritage list.
Asinou Church (Panagia Forviotissa)
small old church, dating from 1105, is one of the finest of Cyprus's
painted churches, located on a north-facing hillside, surrounded by
trees. The frescoes inside are highly ornate, providing an
remarkable record of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art from the 12th to
the 16th century.
Located 40 km southwest of Nicosia. Open daily.
Panagias tou Araka (Lagoudera Church)
A typical church of
the mid-Byzantine period. It has a vaulted single aisle and arched
recesses in the side walls and a dome over the centre. Its
wall-paintings are some of the best on the island. Artists were
commissioned from Constantinople (capital of the Byzantine Empire) to
create a full set of frescoes. From the dome, Christ looks down from
heaven, while the Virgin Mary is displayed in the arched north recess.
Located 48 km north of Lemesos. The church is kept locked - escorted tours only.
Agiou Loannou tou Lampadisti
in the Byzantine period, and providing one of the best ecclesiastical
monuments in Cyprus. The three churches include the cross-in square
church dating from the 11th century, a rebuilt barrel-vaulted church
dedicated to St John, plus one other from 15th century. Some of the
paintings are from the 13th century, one in particular shows the
Triumphal Entry of
Christ into Jerusalem.
Located inKalopanagiotis, 55 km north of Lemesos. Open daily.