Formed 70 million years ago, the Troodos mountain range is the oldest attraction of the island and the famous progenitor of Cyprus. Today, the Troodos mountains shelter on their slopes cozy and picturesque villages, and Byzantine monasteries, and ancient ruins that attract tourists from different countries.
The cool mountain forests growing on the slopes of the Troodos Mountains are the perfect refuge from the heat on a hot summer day. More than a hundred species of plants grow in these Cypriot forests: pines and oaks, outlandish giant cacti and strawberry trees, cypresses and junipers, alders and old cedars. By the way, the Cypriot cedar recently celebrated its 800th anniversary.
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The Troodos Mountains are a natural reserve. In summer, vacationers escape here from the coastal heat, and in winter, the slopes of Mount Olympos are entirely in the power of skiers. This Cypriot resort is noticeably different from all the others: people come there not to lie in the sun and swim in the ocean, but to wander among the mountain ranges, enjoy the clean air, relax in silence and coolness. In order to please nature lovers with something more than campsites and eateries, the Tourism Authority, together with the Cyprus Forestry Commission, has laid many hiking trails to the peaks of the Troodos Mountains.
Mount Olympus is equipped with four 150-meter ski lifts, and the necessary equipment can be taken in San Veli. The skiing season lasts from January to the end of March.
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An overview of the Troodos villages is a separate page in the traveler’s diary, because each of them is famous for its special craft. For example, the village of Pedoulas specializes in the cultivation of cherries, in the village of Mutullas they bottle mineral water from a local source, while simultaneously making wooden tubs. The best fish in Kalopanayiotis. Apples are sold in the village of Prodomos.
The village of Omodos is especially picturesque with its snow-white houses twined with grapes and bright flower gardens. A fairy tale atmosphere permeates everything. By the way, it is in Omodos that the largest key on the island is kept – the key to the gates of the monastery of the Holy Life-Giving Cross, in the local church there are even Russian icons. You can also visit the old press press and personally see the machine for making zivania. The life of Cypriot families is described in detail in the ethnographic museum in the house of the talkative Socrates Sokratis, in which his family has been living for 400 years to this day.
In the village you can rent a room or a house. There are several options: Pantelis House, a house for 4-5 people, located a minute’s walk from the village square, the price ranges from 18 to 35 pounds; Marios House, house for 4 people, price – from 17 to 32 pounds; Stavris House, a house for 2-3 people, the price is from 16 to 26 pounds.
Another village, Fini, is famous for its potters and the Folk Art Museum of Fanis Pilavakis. Small hotels for visitors have long been built here, restaurants serving mouth-watering trout (in Greek – pestrofa) are open.
The village of Zygi is known throughout the Troodos for its fish taverns, which serve about 15 dishes of octopus, squid, shrimp, scallops, mussels, cuttlefish, a variety of sea fish, etc.
As for prices, if you plan to eat hearty and inexpensive, any tavern will do, and you should try meze – this is a set of dishes served in the complex. The cost is about 15 Cypriot pounds for two. There are both meat and fish mezes. Souvlaki also look appetizing – Cypriot barbecue and keftedes – Cypriot cutlets, dolma and moussaka. Well, real kleftiko – lamb cooked in a tightly closed oven, can only be visited by local residents of Troodos villages.
5 things to do in Troodos
- Take part in the festive celebrations at the Kykkos Monasteryof the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which falls on September 8th.
- Traveling through the Troodos mountains, taste the locals’ sweets made from fruits and nuts in candied grape juice (sujuko), as well as homemade wine and fragrant goat cheese (halloumi).
- August 15 to visit a noisy religious fair, held in the closed monastery of Trooditissa.
- Buy fine embroidery and fragile handmade glassware in the village of Omodos, complete with a bottle of fragrant wine during the annual wine festival in August.
- Ride a special train through an ostrich farm in the village of Agios Ioannis, west of Nicosia.
Entertainment and attractions of Troodos
Mount Olympos is the highest point in Cyprus, Cedar Valley, the village of Fini, the famous pottery village of Kakopetria. Numerous churches and monasteries are also located here, some of them are included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List and are under state protection.
The monastery complex, called Kykkos in the world, has the full name – the Holy Imperial Stavropegic Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos of Kykkos. The uniqueness of this place lies in the fact that one of the three most ancient miraculous icons of the Mother of God, created during the earthly life of the Mother of God and at her request by the Apostle Luke, is kept within its walls. Immediately, a little to the right of the icon, there is a black cast of a hand, another reminder of punishment: a withered hand of a person symbolizes punishment for attempts to desecrate the face of the Most Holy Theotokos with their thoughts and touch. But besides the holy relics, the beauty and airiness of the architecture of the monastery, its rich decoration, amazing frescoes, bizarre mosaic paintings on the walls fascinate.
In the intricate numerous transitions, the no less intricate history of Christianity seems to be read, as evidenced by the scenes from the Old and New Testaments on the walls. The stone cathedral church of the Kykkos monastery is divided into three parts, the main of which is dedicated to the icon of the Mother of God, the southern one – to All Saints, and the northern one – to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. Ancient icons, ancient manuscripts, various church utensils, religious books, rare archaeological treasures are kept in the southwestern part of the Kykkos monastery, namely in the halls of the Church Archaeological Museum.
The only difficulty is the way to the monastery. One of the sections of the road leads along a mountain serpentine.
In the village of Lagoudera there is also the Church of Panagia tou Araka, it is located 15 km from the village of Agros, near the Kakopetria-Troodos-Limassol road (Karvounas crossroads). Near the temple, a small monastery building with cells has been preserved, in which the local caretaker of the holy monastery still lives, who, at your request, will be happy to conduct a short tour of the surroundings.
Church in Nikitari
Another church, Panagia Asinu, is located 5 km from the village of Nikitari, not far from the main Nicosia-Troodos road, the path runs through Vyzakia and Nikitari, about 20 km north of the village of Kakopetria. Visits are allowed in May – August from 9:30 to 17:00, in September – October from 9:30 to 16:30, in November – April from 9:30 to 16:00. The murals of the 12th-17th centuries have been preserved in the temple, and the name of the church comes from the Greek city of Asine, known since the 11th century.
Temple in Kakopetria
One of the most interesting monuments of the Byzantine era in Cyprus is the church of Agios Nikolaos Tis Stegis, located 5 km from the village of Kakopetria and open from Tue. on Sat. 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday from 11:00 to 16:00.
Another ancient Trooditissa monastery is closed to tourists. It is famous for its miraculous icon of the Mother of God in a silver setting. Other monasteries, Chrysoroyatissa and Machairas, although they cannot boast of relics of this level, are also very interesting.
On the territory of all monasteries you can buy authentic Cypriot liqueurs and wines.
Also in Troodos, there are a number of hiking trails that run around Mount Olympus, along the picturesque river Krios Potamos and pass by the Caledonian waterfalls. For example, one of the most popular hiking trails is laid through the mountains from the trout farm of Platres, along the bed of the Krios Potamos River. Another route will take you to the Khantara (Khandara) waterfall on the Diplos Potamos River. There is a trout farm nearby. The shortest way is to walk 1.5 km along the country road starting from the village of Fini, the other way is to go from the village of Pano Platres, however, it will be extended up to 5.5 km. You can also make a trip during a jeep safari.