Villages, Larnaca Attractions
There are numerous small villages in the Larnaca region. Many of these grew with the influx of refugees who lost their homes in the 1974 Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of the Famagusta area.
The village of Lefkara, west of Larnaca, is famous for its lace. It is said that Leonardo de Vinci bought lace here in 1481 for an altar-cloth in Milan Cathedral.Lefkara is 8km from Skarinou, off the Nicosia-Limassol road, 40km from Larnaca. It is a picturesque village famous for its local lace, known as "lefkaritika" and for its silverware.The local "Lefkara lace" is hand-made by local women using Irish linen. Many of the women sit in their doorways where you can watch them practicing their trade.The beautiful House of Patsalos houses the Lace and Silverware Museum of Lefkara. The Church of Archangelos Michail in Kato Lefkara is of the single-aisled domed type and has wall paintings of the late 12th century.At Pano Lefkara there is the church of the Holy Cross, with beautiful 18th century and 13th century artifacts. A religious fair takes place September 13-14, in celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.The village has a traumatic history, as it was the sight of two major battles. The first was between Richard I and Comnenos in the 12th century and one in 1426 between Arabs and King Janus. It was then sacked by the Venetians and many of its inhabitants were massacred.
This museum has examples of different "lefkaritika", including items made in the Lefkara style of lace.Cyprus was the traditional center for the making of gold thread in the late Middle Ages and during the Renaissance. Cyprus gold thread appears in royal inventories from Scotland to Sicily.
Church of the Madonna Built by Angels, Kiti, Cyprus
Two km/1.25mi southwest of Larnaca, in the village of Kiti, is the Church of the Panayía Angeloktistos, with beautiful early Byzantine mosaics (sixth century).This beautiful 11th century Byzantine church was erected over the ruins of an early Christian basilica. The original apse survived together with one of the finest pieces of Byzantine art, a rare sixth century mosaic of the Virgin Mary and Child between the two archangels (Michael and Gabriel), which rivals the Ravenna Mosaics.The Virgin is standing on a footstool with Christ in her left arm. It is an extremely delicate design and much more naturalistic in style than other contemporary paintings.This has puzzled many Byzantine scholars and they have been unable to determine exactly when it was painted, although there is a consensus that it belongs to the sixth century.A small chapel attached to the north end of the church has some good 15th century paintings, including one of St George.In the village is a bridge which was once part of a medieval castle destroyed by the Arabs.The village is becoming a tourist center and has several shops, banks and cafes.
Ormidhia, on the road from Larnaca to Agia Napa, is a small village, inhabited mainly by refugees from the 1974 Turkish invasion. The village dates from the Byzantine period and later was a popular summer resort for the foreign residents of Larnaca.Its church, Agios Konstantinos Alamos, is said to contain the saint's bones, which were found nearby.There was once numerous archeological sites in the area but these were destroyed by Cesnola, the American consul in Larnaca in 1865, who was given power to excavate the island's archeological sites.The vast majority of the finds were shipped to New York and the sites were rendered useless for further excavation.
Xylophagou, near Ormidhia, has a 15th century church dedicated to St George. Its paintings are in a poor state of repair, blackened by smoke from a fire, but they are slowly being restored. Those that have been already restored, at the eastern end of the church, show the birth of Christ and associated scenes. In the apse is an impressive coat of arms with a double headed eagle, probably the coat of arms of the benefactor of the church. There is also an iconostasis of St George from 1772 and a huge depiction of the Archangel Michael on the north wall.
Pyla is a unique village in that it has a mixed community of Greeks and Turks, supervised by the United Nations. It is often held up as an example of how Greeks and Turks can live together in harmony, but there is still a feeling of tension underlined by the military and there is little mixing between the communities.The village is accessible only to residents, but there is an annex on the coast, with several good fish restaurants.
Potamos, in the eastern Larnaca region, is a small fishing harbor on a creek (Potamos in Greek means creek). It is an idyllic place, especially early in the morning, when the fishermen are returning with their night's catch.The banks of the creek provide a very pleasant place to stroll.At the far end of the track is a rocky but pleasant beach and a small church.