The Wine Villages -Kouris-Xilourikos Valley

Trip Start Mar 03, 2010
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Trip End Feb 06, 2011


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Where I stayed
'Ambelikos Traditional AgroHotel'

Flag of Cyprus  , Limassol,
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Route#8 and #9 – The Wine Villages



Since driving is on the opposite side from that of Greece, I have arranged to be picked by the owner of the hotel 'Ambelikos' at the very small and picturesque village of Potamitissa. I longed for years to visit again these beautiful villages up the foothills of Troodos but I had never heard of Potamitissa before. It must really be a very small village.



The set time I am picked by Mr. Kyriakou. His name is Tryfonas but friends and guests call him Aki for short. On the way to the mountains we discuss different things and I am telling him the reason of my visit.  



Routes #8 and #9 are the Wine villages, of Troodos and the Solea Valley respectively. I have picked these routes not only because I love good wine, but because some of the villages are real gems in the slopes of the Troodos range. There are some very old churches inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List which I hope to be able to see.



We leave behind the city of Limassol and come to the slopes of the countryside which are full of carob trees  - 'the black gold of Cyprus' as they were called in ancient times.

We pass in a distance the dam of Kouris - the largest one out of 107. As we move upwards towards the village of Lania the vegetation changes. There are wild olive trees and very tall Aleppo pines. Beside the vine production the whole area boasts for its fruit and almonds and Trimiklini is a popular village with a big fruit market. Of course at this time of year the stalls are empty and everything is closed, but if you happen to be here in summer you can’t easily decided what to buy as the variety is great.



We make a stop at the Monagri Foundation to have a look at the art gallery and studio but find everything closed including the church. The people working in the premises tell us that they don’t have the key so a bit disappointed we move on. The church of Archangelos here is very old and Mr. Kyriakou tells me that if the gallery was open I could have seen a restored Roman olive press.



We come to the village of Lania and I remember the huge 800 year old Royal Oak tree and restaurant we used to come to. There were 10 or 12 wooden stairs and we as young children liked to climb out there. This wooden platform had a breast rail around for safety reasons. Unfortunately in 1997 the royal oak collapsed because of its old age. We would always have a stop with my parents at this spot but in reality I don’t remember a single time passing through the actual village itself because the tree was the main attraction back then and it was on the main road to the mountains.



Lania is one of the main wine producing villages with a very active community also known as ‘The Artistes Village’. Famous painters discovered it many years ago and helped with its cultural improvement. Many festivals and events take place each year. Throughout the village there are huge posters on walls and signposts, taken from very old photos of the previous century. All these posters give an artistic look and beautify the place.

On one of the walls the visitor can see 3 different generations of locals posing in front of their cars.  Another one that attracts the attention and which is the largest of all was taken back in 1894 depicts the occasion of the completion of the bridge close to the Royal Oak. Most of those people pictured in the photo have descendants who still live in the village today.

You don’t easily see such things in other villages and I tell my friend that we ought to congratulate the head man of the village because this shows how much he cares for the progress of the village he represents. In an attempt to meet him we find that he is not in the village today. I am sure I am going to meet him on my coming trip to Lania in March. I am planning to spend one or two days here as well. Anyway, we come to the square and we see the 16th century stone-built church of the village dedicated to Virgin Mary of Valanas, and then my friend shows me the other significant site of this village which is the ancient and very famous ‘Linos  workshop’ - the wine press which was used for the production of the famous Cypriot wine called ‘Commandaria’.



For my friends abroad who follow my entries and have never heard of ‘commandaria’ I put a link below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commandaria

Another traditional spirit is ‘Zivania’ distilled from grapes with great acidity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zivania


We are in a neighbourhood and my friend sees Elli out in her garden.  She used to work as a cook at the hotel and she invites us in for a cup of tea. We make ourselves comfortable in the sitting room while she hurries to make us some tea. In minutes she is back with home made dessert and of course our tea. I am telling her that I fell in love with the village and she tells me that many tourists who come to the village feel the same. When it is time for us to move on she hurries in the kitchen and brings us some spinach rolls that she has made. We tell her that it is no need for anything else since we have already had the dessert but she insists that we take them along. In the end she wraps some rolls in a foil and gives them to us. This is the normal reaction of Cypriots!




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Comments

Georgia on

Loved this entry.

venoth
venoth on

A very informative entry Popi. Appreciate the amount of work you have put into this pice.

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