The Troodos mountain range stretches across most of the western side of Cyprus. There are many mountain resorts, Byzantine monasteries, and churches on mountain peaks, and nestling in its valleys and mountains are villages clinging to terraced hills.
The name Troodos probably comes from one of two sources: either τρία + ὁδός (tría + hodós), referring to the three roads that lead to the mountain, or τό + ὄρος + Ἄδος (to + oro + Ados), meaning the mountains of Adonis
The area has been known since antiquity for its mines, which for centuries supplied copper to the entire Mediterranean.
In the Byzantine period it became a centre of Byzantine art, as churches and monasteries were built in the mountains, away from the threatened coastline.
The mountains are also home to RAF Troodos, a listening post for the NSA and GCHQ.
Geology of Troodos
The Troodos mountains are known worldwide for their geology and the presence of an undisturbed ophiolite sequence, the Troodos Ophiolite. These mountains slowly rose from the sea due to the collision of the African and European tectonic plates, a process that eventually formed the island of Cyprus
The slowing and near-cessation of this process left the rock formations nearly intact, while subsequent erosion uncovered the magma chamber underneath the mountain, allowing a viewing of intact rocks and petrified pillow lava formed millions of years ago, an excellent example of ophiolite stratigraphy. The observations of the Troodos ophiolite by Ian Graham Gass and co-workers was one of the key points that led to the theory of sea floor spreading.
The region is known for its many Byzantine churches and monasteries, richly decorated with murals, of which the Kykkos monastery is the richest and most famous. Nine churches and one monastery in Troodos together form a World Heritage Site, originally inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1985. The nine Byzantine churches are:
- Stavros tou Agiasmati
- Panagia tou Araka
- Timiou Stavrou at Pelendri
- Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis
- Panagia Podithou
- Agios Ioannis Lampadistis at Kalopanagiotis
- Panagia tou Moutoula
- Archangel Michael at Pedoulas
- Transfiguration of the Saviour Palaichori
Whether you are looking to discover the hidden cultural jewels of Cyprus, have an exciting hiking activity, or simply relax in the green area of Cyprus, Troodos is waiting for you!
Things to do in Troodos (depending on season): nature Hiking, skiing, cycling, wine tours, religious tours for pilgrimage and just for a breath of the fresh mountain air and a day (or two) away from the cities