Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mathikoloni Abandoned Village

The Mathikoloni Abandoned Village is located near the current Mathikoloni Village, which is about 10 km north of the city of Limassol, within the Limassol district of Cyprus.

Throughout the island of Cyprus, there are abandoned villages due earthquakes and landslides, as well as the 1974 conflict.



According to an elderly Cypriot man from the present-day village of Mathikoloni, the original village was abandoned due to "the earth shaking."

Also, he mentioned, in roughly-spoken English with a heavy Greek accent, that he was born in the village and continued to share about his life in Cyprus, particularly about spending most his life in Mathikoloni Village.



There's a restored church located on the hillside above the abandoned village.  The Mathikoloni Abandoned Village is quite lovely and picturesque. 



Site: Mathikoloni Abandoned Village. 

Category: Village and Nature. 

Location: Near Mathikoloni Village, within the Limassol district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: Daylight hours. 

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2010.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Carob Museum

The Carob Museum is also known as the Pastelli Museum.  It's located in Anogyra Village, which is about a 25 minute drive from the city of Limassol, within the Limassol district of Cyprus.


This mini-museum is actually only one room with a guide speaking about carob production and the manufacture of pastelli, which is a traditional Cypriot sweet delight made from carob syrup.  It's not my favorite sweet, but it's seems to be quite popular in Cyprus.


In another room next to the museum, there's a gift shop with primarily carob related products.  It's a nice stop while driving through the village.  However, the museum aspect is best for those truly interested in learning about carob production.


Site: Carob Museum. 

Category: Museum and Shopping. 

Location: Anogyra Village, within the Limassol district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 25222225 and 25222357. 

Operating Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, daily. 

Entrance Fee: €3,00. 

Date of Visit: 2010.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kouris Dam

The Kouris Dam is the largest structure of its kind in Cyprus.  It's located about 15 km from the city of Limassol and about 6 km west of Ypsonas Village, within the Limassol district of Cyprus.



After construction was proposed in 1968, the Kouris Dam was completed in September 1988.  For this structure to be built, Alassa Village had to be relocated nearby.  The water is collected from the Kouris River, Kryos River, Limnatis River, and Diarizos River.

Even though it's nice to visit the Kouris Dam, unfortunately, there's not a picnic site located nearby. 




Site: Kouris Dam. 

Category: Nature. 

Location: 15 km from the city of Limassol, within the Limassol district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: Daylight hours. 

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2010.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton Monastery

Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton Monastery is also known as the Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton Convent, and the name translates to Saint Nicolas of the Cats Monastery.  It's located on Cape Gata within the Akrotiri Peninsula, near the city of Limassol, which is within the Limassol district of Cyprus.


Since it's from the 4th century, the Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton Monastery is considered the oldest monastery with the district of Limassol.  However, the current church buildings were built in the 14th century and then abandoned in the 16th century.  The monastery was re-occupied by Orthodox nuns in the 1980s.

While exploring the Akrotiri Peninsula, the Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton Monastery is one of several stops along the drive.  However, it's not a specific location to plan around an exploring day in Cyprus. 


Site: Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton Monastery.

Category: Monastery. 

Location: Akrotiri Peninsula, within the Limassol district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 25952621. 

Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, daily. 

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2010.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oleastro Olive Park

The Oleastro Olive Park is an educational and fun park that contains years of olive culture.  It's located about 3 km from Anogyra Village, which is within the Limassol district of Cyprus.  While driving along the Limassol-Paphos highway, take the Avdimou exit, and then turn to drive through Anogyra Village on the way towards Oleastro.



In 2003, Andreas and Lina Ellinas created Oleastro's House of the Olive, which includes an olive museum, gift shop with primarily olive products, visitors' center, and a modern olive mill.  In 2006, they updated and expanded with the Oleastro Olive Park, which features interactive themes that relate to the olive over thousands of years.

According the Oleastro website, the Oleastro Olive Park is "unique as its representations feature various aspects of the 60,000 years of the civilization of the olive....  The park, a tribute to this wonderful tree that has healed and nourished Cypriots for thousands of years, is both educational and recreational for all ages."


At the Oleastro Olive Park, there are various exhibits, which feature the following (and more):
  • Olive extraction methods, such as pressing olives with one's feet (like the tradition of pressing grapes) and the current state-of-the-art ecological pressing method.
  • Farming activities that relate to olive trees, such as harvesting, organic cultivation, ploughing, etc.
  • Professions related to olives, such as soap maker, olive tree woodworker, olive oil seller, etc.
  • Excavations, such as Kouklia.
  • Role of olives and olive oil within the typical Cypriot household, as well as the customs, traditions, mythology, etc.
In addition to the various exhibitions, the Oleastro Olive Park has a mini-museum, cafe and restaurant, gift shop, pony rides (for an additional fee of €3,50), several farm animals, small playground, etc.  


 
According to a sign posted at the Oleastro Olive Park, "The Olive Oil Museum, the first in Cyprus, deals with the civilization of the olive tree and the technology of olive oil extraction.  It houses equipment related to olive oil extraction, such as old millstone, press, etc., as well as informative passages with pictures and items related to the storage and use of the olive oil."

While the Oleastro Olive Park is located in the Cypriot countryside, it's a modern site with traditional influences, and it's quite enjoyable for both locals and tourists.  Plus, this site features my favorite olive oil brand, and I highly recommend purchasing and utilizing Oleastro olive oil.



Site: Oleastro Olive Park. 

Category: Educational Center, Nature, and Shopping. 

Location: 3 km from Anogyra Village, within the Limassol district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 99525093 and 99565768. 

Operating Hours: 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM, daily. 

Entrance Fee: €3,00. 

Date of Visit: 2010.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Kissonerga Mosfilia Archaeological Site

The Kissonerga Mosfilia Archaeological Site (also known as Kissonerga Mosphilia) is located about 8 km north of the city of Paphos, which is within the Paphos district of Cyprus.

According to a sign at the site, "Kissonerga Mosfilia is the largest prehistoric site in the Paphos District and the settlement with the longest history in Cyprus."  However, there's only a small section of these ancient ruins that are visible to visitors.


 
Since the Kissonerga Mosfilia Archaeological Site is extremely small, it's ideal for the most interested visitors or for those who are already traveling nearby.


Site:  Kissonerga Mosfilia Archaeological Site. 

Category: Archaeological Site. 

Location: About 8 km north of the city of Paphos, within the Paphos district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: Daylight hours. 

Entrance Fee: Free.

Date of Visit: 2010.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Agia Paraskevi Church

The Agia Paraskevi Church is located at Geroskipou Square in Geroskipou Village, which is about 3 km east of the city of Paphos, within the Paphos district of Cyprus.

This ancient church is a 9th century Byzantine church with a five-domed basilica in the form of a cross, which is only one of two such church on the island.


The Agia Paraskevi Church has maintained its original form from the 9th century, except for one wall, which was removed to build onto the church during the 19th century.

Within the church, there are some frescoes that date back to the 9th century, and these are considered the oldest wall paintings in Cyprus.  Also, there are 15th and 16th century frescoes to view.

The Agia Paraskevi Church is a lovely ancient church to visit in Cyprus.



Site: Agia Paraskevi Church. 

Category: Church.

Location: Geroskipou Square in Geroskipou Village, within the Paphos district of Cyprus.

Phone Number: 26961859.

Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 2:00-4:00 PM (November to March) and 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 2:00-5:00 PM (April to October), on Monday to Saturday.

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2010.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lempa Chalcolithic Village

Lempa Chalcolithic Village (also known as the Lemba Prehistoric Settlement) is located about 4 km north of the city of Paphos, near Chlorakas Village and Kissonerga Village, within the Paphos district of Cyprus.  This archaeological site is a partially reconstructed settlement.



According to a sign at the site, "The village consisted of clusters of round houses built of stone and mud and had no defensive walls around it....  They probably worshiped a powerful fertility goddess who protected childbirth and infants.  In particular this worship is evidenced by numerous female figurines may of clay and stone, especially picrolite.  These were found in houses and in tombs, mainly of infant and women.  One of the largest and most important Chalcolithic statuettes is the so-called Lady of Lempa which was found in a round house of the settlement."

Today, Lady of Lempa, the ancient limestone statue, is on display at the Cyprus Archaeological Museum in Nicosia.



The Lempa Chalcolithic Village is a smaller site to explore in comparison to the main Cypriot archaeological sites.  Nearby, there's a little picnic site primarily consisting of a covered gazebo, which is a perfect spot for a picnic lunch.



Site: Lempa Chalcolithic Village and Lempa Picnic Site. 

Category: Archaeological Site and Nature.

Location: 4 km north of the city of Paphos, within the Paphos district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: Daylight hours. 

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2010.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Santa Marina Retreat

The Santa Marina Retreat is located in the Cypriot countryside near Parekklisia Village, within the Limassol district of Cyprus.  It offers a variety of activities, such as nature trails, golf driving range, archery, wall-climbing, horse riding, mountain biking, paintball, etc.

 
 
 
According to the Santa Marina Retreat website, "In early 2007, his [Elias Onoufriou] son Christian began creating the Santa Marina Retreat as a unique place where family, friends and business colleagues could enjoy time together and a range of sports and activities in beautiful countryside in the environment of a working farm."



While the Santa Marina Retreat is a unique site for Cyprus, it simply doesn't meet the same standards as places away from the island.  However, for those interested in one or more of the specifically offered activities, it's worth exploring at least once.

Site: Santa Marina Retreat. 

Category: Activities and Nature.

Location: Spyrou Ahimastou Avenue, Parekklisia, within the Limassol district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 99545454 and 99535000. 

Operating Hours: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Wednesday and 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday.  Private bookings for groups available throughout the week. 

Entrance Fee: €3,00 plus fees for the various activities. 

Date of Visit: 2009.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Limassol Castle

The Limassol Castle a medieval castle that's located near the Mediterranean Sea in the old section of the city of Limassol, which is within the Limassol district of Cyprus.

The original castle was built over an Early Christian Basilica and Middle Byzantine monument.  Over the years, there were several earthquakes that damaged the castle, as well as various restorations and reconstructions.


According to tradition, Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre at this site in a chapel, and then he crowned her Queen of England in 1191.  The chapel was built for the royal wedding, but it was later destroyed by an earthquake.  A new Gothic style church was built in the same location as the chapel, and it was later encompassed by the currently built castle.

In 1576, the remains of the Limassol Castle were integrated into the new Ottoman fort, which is the castle as it appears today.  The original castle was considered a fort, and it was larger than the current castle.  Between 1790 to 1940, the castle was utilized as a prison, before becoming an ancient tourist site.

Within the castle, there's the Limassol Medieval Museum, which is also known as the Byzantine and Medieval Museum of Cyprus.

  
On the castle grounds, there are various ancient ruins, including sections of mosaics floors from the Ayia Mavri Basilica in Alassa, which date back to the late Roman period, as well as an olive oil press.

According to a sign posted at the Limassol Castle, "Reconstruction of an olive-oil press of the Byzantine period used from the 7th to 9th centuries A.D.  The press was found during rescue excavation as the locality 'Dameftis' in the Kouris river valley and the mill was found north of Limassol town....  The origin of this press goes back to the Roman period and has been described by Plinius.  In Cyprus it was widely used, not only in oil presses but also in wine presses, even until recent times, e.g. at Lania, Omodos, etc."
 


The Limassol Castle is an interesting castle and museum, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants surrounding the castle to visit, too.  


Site: Limassol Castle and Limassol Medieval Museum. 

Category: Archaeological Site and Museum. 

Location: Near the Old Port in the city of Limassol, within the Limassol district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 25305419. 

Operating Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Sunday, and closed on Monday. 

Entrance Fee: €4,50. 

Date of Visit: 2008, 2009, 2013.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yermasoyia Gardens

The Yermasoyia Gardens are located within the Yermasoyia Municipality Cultural Center in the Yermasoyia Village, which is in the Limassol district of Cyprus.
 
 
Within the gated courtyard of the Yermasoyia Gardens, there's an amphitheater.  Next to the Cultural Center, there's the Agia Paraskevi Church, which was built in 1904.
 
 
Cyprus is a popular wedding destination island, and the Yermasoyia Municipality conducted civil wedding ceremonies.  For more details regarding civil ceremony weddings in Cyprus, particularly at the Yermasoyia Gardens, please click HERE.
 
The Yermasoyia Gardens is simply a lovely location, particularly for wedding photographs.  :)


  
Site: Yermasoyia Gardens at the Yermasoyia Municipality Cultural Center.
 
Category: Nature. 
 
Location: 39 Agios Paraskevis Street, Yermasoyia Village, within the Limassol district of Cyprus. 
 
Phone Number: 25879898. 
 
Operating Hours: N/A. 
 
Entrance Fee: N/A. 
 
Date of Visit: 2008.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tombs of the Kings

The Tombs of the Kings is located about 2 km north-west of the Paphos harbor in the city of Paphos, which is within the Paphos district of Cyprus.  It was built near the Mediterranean Sea during the Hellenistic period as part of the ancient city of Nea Paphos.  This necropolis was used as a burial ground during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
 

These tombs were originally constructed when kings didn't exist in Cyprus, so the tombs were most likely utilized for important Paphos citizens, including civil servants and army officers.  According to the Cypriot Department of Antiquities website, "Its name is not connected with the burial of kings, as the royal institution was abolished in 312 B.C., but rather with the impressive character of its burial monuments.  The 'Tombs of the Kings' was the place where the higher administrative officers and distinguished Ptolemaic personalities as well as the member of their families were buried."
 
Since ancient times, the tombs have been looted and sometimes damaged over the years until official excavations occurred in the 1970s.  Today, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular tourist site in Paphos.
 

 
There are several underground tombs to explore.  According to the Cypriot Department of Antiquities website, "Most of the tombs are characterized by an underground, open aired, peristyled rectangular atrium completely carved into the natural rock....  It seems that the walls were originally covered with frescoes although today only small fragments are preserved."  According to a sign at the Tombs of the Kings site, "The architecture of the underground funerary monuments imitates that of the houses of the same period."
 
The Tombs of the Kings is an enjoyable site and worth visiting, particularly for those who have extra time to explore the ancient tombs. 
 
 
Site: Tombs of the Kings. 
 
Category: Archaeological Site. 
 
Location: Leoforos Tafon ton Vasileon in Paphos, within the Paphos district of Cyprus. 
 
Phone Number: 26206217 and 26306295. 
 
Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (October to April) and 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM (May to September), daily. 
 
Entrance Fee: €2,50. 
 
Date of Visit: 2008.

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New Entry Fees for Cyprus Museums and Ancient Monuments

According to the Department of Antiquities, there are new fees for the Cyprus museums and ancient monuments, as of November 2013.  Most sites have raised the entry fees from previous prices of 1,70 and 3,40 to the current prices of 2,50 and 4,50 for these tourist sites.  However, there's a twenty-percent reduction in price for groups of more than ten people.

For more information, please click HERE.