The Small Traditional Village of FYTI
On my recent trip to Paphos I had the opportunity to visit the small and traditional village of Fyti. I have dedicated a whole entry with details on my Cyprus Guide #5 and I give you the link to read about this place.
It is very interesting indeed and it pays to drive out there.
It has a weaving museum and friendly people. Read about my whole trip there through the link below.
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4 kilometres north of Paphos, the village of Empa (also known as Emba) is, these days, almost swallowed up by the expansion of Paphos. The surrounding land that for centuries was used for growing a wide variety of produce for local markets (even sugar cane was grown in Lusignan times) is more and more being turned over to retirement and holiday villas for foreigners. The local population is expanding too and the needs of the parish have seen the village's old church superannuated and a truly horrible modern edifice built to replace it. Needless to say, that's not what you come to Empa to see.
The church of the Panagia Chryseleousa is the prize here. Its unusual twin domes are the result of a 13th century addition to the 12th century church that was itself built on the foundations of a much earlier, probably Byzantine, building. The eastern dome is the older, sitting above the crossing of the nave and transept of the first, cruciform, church. later work extended the nave, added a second transept and dome and created a narthex at the western end.
The church is kept locked as a rule but the caretaker is usually around some where and, provided you are suitably dressed - that means no knees or upper arms bared for both men and women - he will appear, open up for you and most probably point out the finer points of the frescoes and icons inside. He was happy for us to take photos but we were the only people there and it was on our first visit to Cyprus back in 2000. Things may well have changed, they certainly have in some other churches we re-visited this year.
The frescoes date from the 15th and 16th century, the iconostasis from the 16th century. The icons are in good repair and include a fine Christ holding a Gospel and St John the Baptist. Time, earthquakes and moist sea air have all taken a toll on the frescoes and heavy-handed 19th century restoration to some areas hasn't helped, but back in 2000 there was talk of more sympathetic restoration being done in the future. Whether or not that has happened yet was not something we had time to explore on our most recent visit - next time.
Polis, some 30 kilometres north of Paphos is a pretty little town with far less development and a much more laid-back feel about it. If I had more than just a few days to spend in Cyprus, it would be where I would choose to stay but, being that little bit further away from everything, we made it a day trip destination instead. And what a nice day trip it makes.
With two main roads between Paphos and Polis, not to mention lots of smaller ones between villages, you can make the journey without having to double back on yourself, and all along the way you'll find different points of interest, lovely views and great photo opportunities. As well as the Monastery of Ayios Neophytus (a destination in its own right), abandoned mosques, isolated churches, traditional villages, fields of flowers all are to be found along the way. Take the easterly road through Choli and you might be lucky and find the newly restored Church of the Archangelos Michail with its 15th and 16th century frescoes open. It wasn't when we stopped by but the garden surrounding it was scented with oranges and the ancient chapel in the cemetery just down the hill was open was open and there we found unrestored frescoes of a similar age, still black with the candle smoke of centuries.
Just a few kilometres west of Polis, the glorious blue waters of Chrysochou Bay lie near the woodland pool known as the Baths of Aphrodite; ancient legends tell us this is where Adonis first saw the goddess bathing.
Before you get there, Latsi's pretty little horseshoe shaped harbour lined with carob warehouses-turned-cafes and filled with boats makes a good place to stop for a while.
Heading back to Paphos, you have some choices - if a little wine tasting is your fancy, head back south from Polis for Kathikas, one of the island's main wine areas. Heading further west, past Aphrodite's Baths, will bring to the wilderness area of the Akarmis Peninsula. Both good options.
East of Paphos, the ancient village of Yeroskipou has been entirely swallowed up the bigger town to such an extent that thetwo just run into each other seamlessly. You could come just for the Turkish Delight made here - it is reputed to be the best on the island, or you could come to see yet another of Cyprus' old stone churches - this one uniquely possessing five domes.
Dedicated to Ayia Paraskevi, like so many other churches, it was built on the foundations of an even earlier church and it is likely a pagan temple stood on the site prior to that. Unusually, the fresco in the altar dome is not the usual Christ Pantocrator of Orthodox churches, its non-figurative fresco tells us this part of the church dates back to the 9th century when, for a period of a hundred years or so, icons and depictions of any person were considered idolatrous. Other parts of the fabric of the church building date from the 10th and 11th centuries; the frescoes are largely 15th and 16th century works.
The main dome's fresco is of the "Virgin Orans", that is a young Mary, full face with her arms raised in prayer and the Infant Christ within a round auriol on her breast. (photo 2)
Nothing remains in Yeroskipou of the much older cult that was worhipped here. The village takes its name from the ancient Greek Hieros Kipos meaning "sacred garden"- the holy gardens of Aphrodite.
And the loukoumi (Turkish Delight) - a couple of specialist sweet shops on the square opposite the church sell it all year round; during the summer stalls selling more of it line the roadside - as do stalls selling the local pottery and basketwares.
Adonis baths are a two level waterfall and I highly recommend this drive here. I visited it recently on my last trip to Paphos and you will find Mr. Pambos Theodorou there to greet you. He is a writer, poet, lyric and actor. He has great sense of humor and he says that he lives here. He has turned his house into a kind of museum and the entrance is 9 euros.
The waterfall is beautiful so if you plan to go take along your bathing suits…you can also dive in the water naked. Nobody will tell you not to. The surround area is wonderful, birds are singing and you can relax and enjoy this wonderful short trip from Paphos and unwind with the sound of the water coming down from the waterfall.
A very popular beach in Paphos. Of course it is an open bay....not very preferable by myself, but it is beautiful I can admit.
It was too wavy when I visited it in January.
(Don't miss watching the video to get the whole picture of the beach).
The Akamas peninsula situated to the north west of Paphos is a unique area with outstanding varied vegetation, wildlife, landscapes and coasts. The number of plant species found here are up to 600, 35 of which are endermic, there are also 168 species of bird, 20 reptiles and butterfly species and 12 mammals.
It is a paradise for naturalists and if you come here between March and April there are wild orchids and tulips found in the unspoilt countryside here.
If you happen to be in the Winery Route of Paphos pay a visit to the Monastery of Chrysorrogiatissa and Moni, which are set in beautiful surroundings and lush vegetation.
They are two distinctive Monasteries of the 12th century A.D dedicated to 'Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranage'. Moni is dedicated to Agios Nikolaos.
You will see the oldest pine tree found in the island, - 130 years old.
Directions: 40 km northeast of Paphos, turn right before Stroumpi village. The monastery is also reached from Kykkos Monastery via the forest.
It is a popular destination and very near the Aphrodite Baths.
I have been here several times, ....and I am planning a trip the following week as well.
There are fish tarverns by the coast and the harbour, and there is a long beautiful pebbled beach in this area as well.
The harbour is also beautiful because it is full of sailing boats.
Ayios Neophytos Monastery is a trip in the outkirts of Paphos not to be missed!
I was here the previous week, and what astound me was the many cats scattered all over the premises of the monastery. There are so many different kinds. I believe it is out here that I have seen some of the most beautiful cats in my life. There is even a sign put by the monks stating that cats can be fed at that point.
Besides the cats, I can assure that you will have some spectacular views from out there.
Opposite the monastery there are some caves with frescoes. Neophytos is said to have lived for 45 years in one of the caves and you can actually go inside and view this. His last five years were spent in a cave further up the rock face.
Taking photos are prohibited inside the hermitage:
Located about 20 kms from Paphos.
Saranda Colones Castlewas a building, that was at least partly surrounded by a moat filled with water. There are 2 impressive arches left over and you can also still see the only bridge that was leading to the water-castle in Roman times.
The Saranda Colones Castle is at the end of the tour through the excarvation-area, You will need at least 2-3 hours in order to see all of the best exhibits and mosaiques there, that are spread all over quite a wide area.
Unfortunately the gate to the premises of this great greek-orthodox church was locked while I walking through the town of Paphos at about lunchtime, so I cannot show you any photos about its interior.
The Odeon, Asclepion & Agora are at the very end of the excarvation-area in Kato Pafos and they are dating back to the time around 200-400 AD. There are no mosaiques there, just some remains of stones and the seats of a theatre. In this area you also have to be careful, where you go, there are lots of side-paths leading to nowhere or to a place where you have to turn around again or jump down for quite a big distance.
The lighttower has nothing to do with the excarvations of the Roman times, but it is still inside its fences and you can go there and take a look for a great view of the city of Paphos. The lightower seems to be out of duty nowadays and also the house next to it was not inhabited anymore. From the lighttower you will get within a few minutes to the Odeon, Asclepion & Agora - see it in my next tip!
Petra tou Romiou is the birthplace of Aphrodite and it is in fact a great place with some rocks on the beach and hundreds of hearts arranged by stones on the beach -see some of my best pics about this under "local customs" here or on my"Pissouri-page" !
You will find this place when driving the coastroad to Paphos,there is a souvenirshop and a restaurant as well.
For a day out with a difference visit the moufflon at STAVROS TIS PSOKAS. They are the gorgeous Cypriot sheep called “agrino”. The animals are proteted and bred at this forestry hill...