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Thomas Platans are quarried and sold to all over Cyprus for the pavement of squares, courtyards and traditional houses. The monuments of the village are plethoric. At the center of the settlement stands the church of Archangelos Michail, a building of 1794. In the cemetery there are pierced stones. Mothers help their children pass through a pierced stone in the cemetery, hoping that they will be cured of possible illness. The most impressive feature of the village is the large Byzantine medieval monastery, originally painted. The cells of the monastery are currently ruined. As mentioned by Kyriazis and Tsiknopoullos, one of the crosses of the monastery of Omodos originally belonged to the monastery of the Holy Cross of Anogyra. For safety reasons, it was taken to Omodos. The monastery most probably was abandoned in the 19th century.

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Anogyra together with Foinikas and some other villages belonged to the “Small Commandery” of St. John. Nearly every year the people of Anogyra organize the festival of “pastelli”, which attracts many local and foreign visitors. From carobs people produce carob honey, which with more stirring gets condensed and becomes “pastelli”, a sweet cake, known for centuries in many carob-producing villages of Cyprus. Agios Thomas. The village with its strategic position is probably of Byzantine origin. Platanisteia. Only a few dozen people live in the village, now engaged in carob, olive and vine cultivation.

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Platanisteia belonged to the Commandery of Foinikas. Alektora lies at the extreme western boundaries of Limassol, having promoted quite early the cultivation of table grapes, particularly sultana as well as citrus. Near Lakkos tous Frankous is an arched whitewashed church of Agios Georgios, of the 16th century, as well as a new peculiar in architecture house, resembling, as Gunnis cites, a Scottish Hunting Club. L. Machairas and historian Florio Bustron mention the church of Agios Kasianos, now ruined.

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Monastery of the Holy Cross, Anogyra

MOUNTAINOUS VILLAGES

a) Villages east of Kouris valley

Route: Pelendri, Potamitissa, Dymes, Kyperounta, Chandria

Pelendri. A visit to the village which, according to Italian priest and historian G. Mariti, was a vine producing village as early as the 18th century, should include the churches of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis, of Madonna (Panagia) and of the Holy Cross. The three-aisled, domed church of Ioannis Lampadistis is built with local igneous rock and bricks. However, it is the church of the Holy Cross, built with gabbro and red tiles, that fascinates locals and foreigners. Originally the church, which lies south of the present settlement, was simple with a dome. Later, two additions north and south, probably of the 14th and 15th centuries, have transformed the church to a three-aisled edifice. The interior of the church is entirely painted. One dome is dominated by the painting of Pantokrator, with the angels and the evangelists around, a work of the 14th century. The most interesting work is in the north aisle, where there is a painting of Christ and Doubting Thomas, with two kneeling donors, a man on the left and a woman on the right, who, in all probability, are Jean de Lusignan and his wife.

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The church contains a large wooden cross, with a smaller bronze cross inset, the whole covered with square silver plates with scenes from the life of Christ. The church of the Holy Cross is one of the nine churches on UNESCO’S World Heritage List. The church of Panagia, of the 17th century, is steep-pitched with a contemporary gilted iconostasis. It contains some large portable icons. One of Panagia (17th century) presents the Madonna on one side and the Crucifixion on the other. There is also a rain compelling icon of Panagia which during periods of drought is transported to the fields by the villagers.

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The church of the Holy Cross, Pelendri

Potamitissa, a picturesque village with abundant greenery, offers many beautiful pictures to the visitor. N. Klerides considers the village to be the successor settlement of Rongia which disappeared because of Saracen attacks. The tradition concerning the construction of the village’s church, dedicated to the Madonna (Panagia), is very interesting. The contractor was led to the exact location by divine will. Dymes. This is a green village a few km southeast of Kyperounta. Apple-trees have increased recently and refrigerated chambers have been built to store apples. The church of Ioannis of Prodromos, by the bed of the river, standing on a river terrace, is an edifice of 1861. Kyperounta, the large village of Pitsilia, south of Madari, originated as a settlement in the valley around cultivated and irrigated land. The well-known sanatorium of Kyperounta is converted into a regional hospital which serves the surrounding villages. The church of the Holy Cross on a tiny rise is a medieval church with frescoes. In the interior of the north and south walls are two arched recesses, one of which contains a painting of the Cross with scenes from the life of Agia Eleni. Below kneels a man, most possibly the donor, with an inscription dated 1521. In the south recess is a painting of Archangelos Michail. Left of the north recess the Raising of the Cross constitutes a very rare painting for Cyprus. Close to the church of the Holy Cross stands the three-aisled 18th century church of Agia Marina, with the aisles supported by wooden posts. The iconostasis as well as the women’s gallery are made of wood. Outside the village, by the edge of the river, stands the church of Panagia, of the early eighteenth century. In essense, there are two joined churches with separate iconostases, women’s gallery and seats. One is dedicated to Panagia and the other to Christ. Chandria is a very beautiful and picturesque mountainous village, south of Madari, with an extensive view to the south. Between Kyperounta and Chandria lies an earthen reservoir, constructed recently for the irrigation of the village. If time permits, it is recommended to ascend by car the narrow, meandering road that leads to the top of Madari. From there you can enjoy the superb view of Mesaoria, Kionia, Troodos and the vine-growing villages of Limassol.

Double church (restored) dedicated to Madonna and Christ (early 18th century A.D.)

Route: Agridia, Agros, Agios Theo-doros, Agios Ioannis, Kato Mylos

Agridia. It is an attractive village with abundant greenery. The most significant feature within the settlement is the large modern church of Profitis Ilias, quite large for a small and rather poor community. The renovated square of the village with its fountain is impressive.

Agros village

The village of Agros, which is the principal village of Pitsilia, stands at a height of 1150 metres above sea level. It is blessed with important places of historical and cultural interest as well as a fascinating natural environment, with intriguing flora and fauna and several nature trails. Traditional customs are maintained, and the pretty, rustic houses are typical of the attractive mountain village style. According to N. Klerides, the village owes its name to a monastery known as monastery of Megas (Great) Agros which pre-existed the present settlement. The church of the monastery was standing until 1894, before its position was taken by the present-day church of Panagia Eleousa. Many icons, the iconostasis and the altar of the Monastery of the Great Agros were saved and later placed in the church of Agia Eleousa. Two of these icons, Panagia Agriotissa and the Almighty are very valuable. Another church of Agios Ioannis of Prodromos, built in 1760, without frescoes, but with an interesting architecture, attracts the attention of visitors.

Gathering roses at Agros

In 1979 the ex-inhabitants of the village formed the Agros development Company “Proodos” Ltd, which purchased a large piece of land and subdivided it into 154 building lots. At the same time it developed a 400-bed rustic hotel with modern comforts and facilities. The Rodon Hotel, which stands above the village, was named after the beautiful roses that grow so profusely in the area and from which the village produces its renowned rosewater. In the village there are also other tourist complexes, restaurants and recreation centres. Small family-run businesses produce local specialities, such as hoiromeria (smoked leg of pork), sausages, wine, ceramics, souvenirs, nuts, and sweets like soutzoukos and palouze which are made of grapes. The inhabitants of Agros also cultivate fruit-bearing trees and produce top quality fruit. Agios Theodoros. It is often mentioned that Agios Theodoros is built on seven hills with a separate church corresponding to each hill. Currently, only three churches survive, one of which, that of Panagia, is worth visiting. It is steep-pitched with a wooden roof representative of mountainous churches. The iconostasis dates back to 1667, while two old portable icons of Profitis Ilias belong to the 17th century. Agios Ioannis is most probably the successor settlement of Alonatzia which disappeared in the 17th century. The church of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis is rebuilt with one portable icon from the last century. The three-aisled church of Archangelos Michail, steep-pitched with a wooden roof preserves the arches inside, while its gilted iconostasis is still impressive. According to a source, the iconostasis belongs to 1705. The pine-trees on the slopes of the highly dissected landscape of Kato Mylos together with the rich natural vegetation on the bed of the flowing river lend to the village a distinct beauty. According to tradition, there existed two water-mills, the upper and the lower mill. N. Klerides writes that Kato Mylos was built in 1692.

b) From Saittas to Karvounas

Route: Saittas, Filagra, Kato Amiantos, Karvounas, Pano Amiantos

The visitor could explore Saittas by considering four main features: its beautiful villas lying on the slopes of the pine-clad mountain enjoying a superb view; the cement-built dam between Trimiklini and Saittas, constructed in 1958; the agricultural station, or better the nursery, on the main road from Saittas to Karvounas, which serves the tree-planters of the mountain regions with new varieties of deciduous trees; the history of Saittas being in the past an annex of the monastery at Mesapotamos.

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