The mountainous village of Lefkara is split into Pano Lefkara and Kato Lefkara (higher and lower Lefkara), and is world-renowned for its traditional handicrafts of lace embroidery and filigree silver. The village is situated at the foot of the Troodos Mountains in the south eastern region, 650 m above sea level, 43 km from Larnaka, and can be reached by following the A5, A1 and E105 route.
The village took its name from the lime stone rocks of the region (Lefka Ori – White Mounts – Lefkara). Its character is very picturesque with narrow, winding streets and traditional architecture of old, terracotta-roofed houses. The women of the village are often sat outside their picturesque homes, creating the world-renowed ‘Lefkaritika’ lace pieces that have been made in the village since Venetian times and are on the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage List. Visitors can learn all about the lace and the village’s second craft of delicate filigree silver pieces at the Lefkara Handicraft Centre, the Museum of Traditional Embroidery and Silversmithing, and various workshops, where you can watch craftsmen at work.
Among the village’s other interesting sites are the Local Ethnological Museum of Traditional Embroidary and Silversmith-work the old fountain, the old olive mill and Oliva Terra – Ktima Sofokleous, where you can stroll through the olive tree orchards and learn all about the island’s ‘liquid gold’. The village also has beautiful and ancient chapels, including the church of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross), and the chapel of Archangelos Michail in Kato Lefkara, with frescoes that date from the 12th and 15th centuries.
The popular annual Lefkara Festival takes place each August, and includes a programme of music, dance, theatre and handicraft exhibitions, with visitors warmly welcomed. The village is also included as one of the stops on the island’s 7th Wine Route that encompasses the area of mountainous Larnaka – Lefkosia.
An interesting excursion to Lefkara is included as part of the Free Winter Experiences programme and offers visitors ample time to explore the winding streets of the village on foot; enjoy the panoramic views and learn more about the unique handicrafts and their history.
Villages of Orini (mountainous)
he villages of Orini are in a mountainous area that offers a breathtaking change of scenery and atmosphere thanks to its elevation. Here, tradition has been ardently retained, along with local pastimes and small folkart industries. The stunning environs have remained largely untouched, and nature’s rich palette is further enhanced by traditional architecture and old churches and monasteries. Among the most popular villages to visit are Tochni, Skarinou, Kato Drys, Vavla, Ayioi Vavatsinias, Ora and Odou. All are ideal for visiting on a day trip and offer many varied sights, as well as a traditional warm welcome.
Larnaka town is embraced by a cluster of coastal villages that offer a more tranquil and natural beach experience, and are becoming increasingly popular as year-round retreats thanks to the sensitive development of their infrastructure. Travelling westbound, the costal village of Pervolia is followed by Mazotos, Alaminos, Agios Theodoros, Maroni and Zygi. Each has its own scenic charm and individual style of beach and sea activities, from traditional fishing harbours with the freshest catch of the day, to ideal sailing and sea sport conditions.
Located 11 km southwest of Larnaka, the large coastal community of Kiti is a blend of the old and the new with one of the island’s finest examples of Byzantine art of the Justinian period, and the best beach for the growing sport of kitesurfing.
One of its most defining attractions is the significant Angeloktisti Church, which features a rare 6th century mosaic of the Virgin and Child between two archangels and is featured on the tentative UNSECO World Heritage Site List.
Its famous Softades beach, known amongst the kitesurfing community as ‘The Spot’, is the island’s first and only designated beach for wind and kite surfing, and offers some of the best sea and wind conditions in the whole of the Mediterranean region, attracting fans of the sport and hosting world-class tournaments.
Kiti is also home to one of the region’s four Venetian Watchtowers, which is also included in the Thematic Cycle Routes.
Courtesy of the CTO