Built amidst the hillsides and with an average altitude of 190 metres above sea level, Skarinou is the heart of Cyprus. It is located on the island’s road-network axis that connects Nicosia, Limassol, and Larnaca.
According to tradition, the village received its name during the Medieval times. In old maps it is found marked as Scharino but also as S. Harino, the letter S standing for “Saint”. However, it is not certain which is the name of the Saint (perhaps Chariton), since it is a name misquoted during the Frank domination era. Therefore it is possible that the original name of the village referred to a Saint during the Byzantine times, e.g. Saint Chariton, today’s corrupted name originating from it.
According to another point of view that Nearchos Clerides mentions, the village’s name has its origins in the name or a characteristic of the first settler, which he assumes was named Skarinos (means shepherd that took his flock to pasture during the night). (Encyclopaedia of Cyprus, Andros Pavlides). Whichever of the above interpretations we choose to accept, the conclusion is that the village of Skarinou was probably founded before the Frank domination era and during the Byzantine days.
Because of its geographical position, the village has gone through a continuous increase of population from 1881 until 1921. In 1881 its inhabitants were 227, increasing to 341 by 1921. In 1941 the inhabitants decreased to 335, increasing to 411 in 1946. As a result of the urban pull and emigration, the village’s inhabitants gradually decreased, dropping down to 181 in 1982. Today, in 2004, Skarinou’s permanent inhabitants amount to 250.
Skarinou, built at the hillsides with the “Panagia i Odigitria” (the Guiding Virgin Mary) church being the dominant building, is one of the most picturesque villages of Cyprus. Its houses are made of local stone and preserve their traditional folkloric architecture to a rather great degree.
Apart from the “Panagia i Odigitria” church, there also are another two country churches, dedicated to Saint George and Apostle Luke. Another note-worthy spot in the village is the old fountain, which is located at the community’s centre.
The village became well known throughout Cyprus for its station (road stop). The Station of Skarinou is found on the old Limassol – Nicosia highway.
During the past few years the village, because of its picturesque quality and its privileged geographical position, the very good climate, the amazing natural beauty, and the traditional hospitality of its people, has started to draw the attention of several foreigners and Cypriots that bought land in the region so as to build their country houses and cottages. The development of the community is general. There are also several Agro-tourism quarters operating in Skarinou today.
Marvellous embroideries of the “Lefkara” type are made in the community, which are on offer in the village’s small shops. (You can find more information in the special “Traditional” page).
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Courtesy of the Community Council of Skarinou