Πύλη Αμμοχώστου – Επαρχία Λευκωσίας
Παραλιακό μέτωπο – Επαρχία Λεμεσού
Λίμνη Αλυκής – Επαρχία Λάρνακας
Πέτρα του Ρωμιού – Επαρχία Πάφου
Παραλία Πόλης Αμμοχώστου - Επαρχία Αμμοχώστου
Κάστρο της Κερύνειας – Επαρχία Κερύνειας
History – Establishment of the Municipality
The history of Athienou has the same duration as Hellenism in Cyprus.
Seeking the principles of its existence, somebody reaches the first Greeks who arrived in Cyprus more than 3,000 years ago and established the first Greek kingdoms on the island. Among the ancient kingdoms was the Kingdom of Golgoi.
Theocritus, already in the 3rd century BC refers to Golgoi, saying that it is a city of Cyprus that took its name from Golgos, son of Adonis and Aphrodite. Golgoi became known pan-Hellenicly by the worship of Aphrodite, who was honored there before her worship was introduced to Paphos.
Athienou today is situated a little further south than the ancient Golgoi and it seems to have been named since the early years of the Frankish occupation, but this is not clear where it came from.
Athienou is one of the most ancient municipalities in Cyprus, been a Municipality since 1926.
Athienou is located south of the Mesaoria plain. During the Ottoman domination, it was a road junction, in the middle of the road connecting the port of Larnaca with the capital Nicosia. Taking advantage of this advantageous position, many Athienou people served the profitable profession of kiratzi (dagger, muller) by transporting people and merchandise with mules not only in the aforementioned cities but also in various other parts of Cyprus. During the Ottoman domination (1571 – 1878), most Europeans who traveled to Cyprus and wrote about it used kiratsis of Athienou during their tours along the island. The kiratsis contributed significantly to the development of Athienou.
Excavations made by the Jewish Archaeological Mission showed that the Athienou area was inhabited at least since the 14th century BC. In the 12th century, Achaioi from the city of Sikyona of Peloponnissos, Greece, established a colony in the area. Their leader was the Golgos, who gave his name to the city. The ruins of the fortified town of Golgoi are one kilometer north of Athienou. Golgoi experienced their greatest prosperity in the classical period (5th and 4th centuries BC). The most important cause of their acne was the existence in the area of the sanctuary of Aphrodite Golgia with a pan-Hellenic reputation. It is even more likely that the goddess Goghia was the one who gave the name to the city. The city was destroyed during the Hellenistic period (294-58 BC) after its siege and occupation by Ptolemy I at the end of the 4th or the beginning of the 3rd century BC. The settlement continued to exist during the period of Roman rule (58 BC – 330 or 395 AD) and during the Byzantine period (330 or 395-1191 AD), unknown by what name. The name Athienou is mentioned for the first time in the chronicle of the Cypriot chronographer Leontios Machairas, who lived between 1360 and 1450 AD, during the Frankish rule (1192 – 1489). The name Athienou has remained unchanged till today, although on Venetian maps it is noted corrupted as Atirna. The Turks named Athienou Kirakitzikioyiou, a village of kiratsis (daggers, mullers).
During the last years of Ottoman rule, Athienou was administratively owned by Famagusta’s kassa or chalet (district) of Famagusta and in the nahieh (nahieh=sub-administration, territory) of Mesaoria. This was the case and during the first decade of the British occupation, while Athienou was then under Nicosia and the territory Deyirmenlik or Kythrea. Since 1927 Athienou belongs to the district of Larnaca.
In 1926 Athienou became a Municipal town. At the request of its inhabitants, the municipality was abolished in 1935, but it was re-established in 1948. Since then, it has been operating unceasingly and it is an extremely important factor in the development of Athienou.
Today’s Athienou seems to have this name since the early years of the Frankish rule, but it is not clear where this came from. Many argue that the name Athienou came from the word “atta” or “atha”, which means great stone, and which indicated the stony ground in the area of the village. Others claim that the name was given to the village by a few residents of Athens, Greece, who came and lived in the area to remember their home town. Others claim the name to a Lusignian named Etienne, who owned a great part of the land in the area and people said “we go to Etiennou.” Slowly slowly this became ” to Athienou”.
It is a fact that Leontios Machairas, since the 13th century, refers to Athienou with its well-known name. Writing for the saints of Cyprus, Leontios Machairas states: “………… Saint Photios near Athienou …”.
During the English nomination (1878-1960), Athienou lost its privileged position, because Nicosia and Larnaca were connected with a new road passing through Pyroi and Koshi. A secondary road linked Athienou with the Nicosia – Larnaca road at a point near Pyroi. Through Pyroi the distance of Athienou to Nicosia was 13 miles (21km) and Athienou – Larnaca 16 miles (26km). After the capture of the Piroi by the Turkish troops in August 1974, Athienou was communicating with Nicosia with a new road, which was linked to the road Lympia – Dhali – Nicosia. Through this road the distance of Athienou to Nicosia is 35 km, while the distance to Larnaca via Koshi is 27 km. Since 1989 Athienou has been communicating with Nicosia and Larnaca via a four-lane highway, with which a secondary road is connected from Athienou to a point near Lympia. Via the four-lane motorway, the distance of Athienou to Nicosia is 38 km. For Larnaca the connection to the motorway is near Koshi and the distance is 33 km. Since 2003, Athienou has been linked to Larnaca via a road passing through Avdellero and joining near Aradippou by the Larnaca motorway – the tourist area of Ayia Napa and Paralimni.
A road east of Athienou connects it to the Turkish village of Melousia (3,5 km away) and from there to the mixed villages of Tremetousia and Arsos and the Greek Lysi, where it joins to the old Nicosia – Famagusta road. At the north of Athienou is the Turkish village of Agia (3 km distance) and the Greek Tymbou (5 km distance), with a slight deviation to the east the first and to the west the second. Their connection with Athienou was made by dirt roads. Northwest of Athienou is the mixed village Pyroi (6 km away) and 1 kilometer further the Markos. Southwest of Athienou is the Turkish village of Petrofani (3 km away) and 2 km further is the archaeological site of Malloura. Just south of Athienou is the Greek village of Avdellero (6 km) and southeast the Greek village Troulloi (7 km). The old road of Athienou – Avdellero was asphalted in 2003, while the one to Troulloi remained for coaches.
Reference and Special Interest Points
The traditional center of Athienou retains the features of the medieval architectural heritage. The policy of preservation and revival in the traditional center and more generally in the municipal area was the basic aim of the Municipality of Athienou, despite all the interventions, the new additions and the wear and tear over time.
The Municipality of Athienou, with the main aim of implementing a policy of preservation and revival of the traditional center and of the wider region, proceeded with the purchase of remarkable and serious architectural value, as well as significant historical reference, buildings, with the aim of transforming them into preservatives, highlighting the traditional local architectural heritage and culture. Some of these, which are of special interest, are the following.
- Father’s house of famous monk Kallinikos Stavrovouniotis and Cheese House. Here takes place the presentation of the traditional halloumi preparation.
- House of George and Fotini Pougerasi. It has been rented to individuals and operates as a hostel and cafeteria, under the name “Athieno”.
- Traditional Flour Mill. Here takes place a presentation of traditional bread making.
- An old coffee shop that operates as a Youth Multicultural Center.
- Also, in cooperation with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, the old “Hani”, a remarkable building of the past, has been restored.
Other remarkable points of reference and of special interest are:
- The archaeological site of Malloura, with excavated graves and more.
- The Kallinikeio Municipal Museum, a remarkable museum with ancient finds of Golgoi and Malloura, a Byzantine collection of icons by the famous monk and icon-painter Kallinikos Monachos and many others. The Museum is housed in the same building of the imposing Kallinikeio Municipal Hall.
- The churches of Athienou. The old church of the Virgin Mary of Chryseleoussis of 1711, declared an ancient monument, the entirely icon painted on roof and walls new church of Virgin Mary of Chryseleoussis, which includes the Slipper of Saint Spyridon and the bones of the patron saint of Athienou, Saint Fokas, the old churches of Saint Phokas and Saint George and others.
- The excellent Constantineio Municipal Park.
Elements of Athienou in the National Catalog of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Cyprus
The Municipality of Athienou and the Kallinikeio Municipal Museum of Athienou, after research and collaboration with various local actors, have so far achieved the inclusion of three elements in the National Catalog of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Cyprus. The elements are: “Venis laces” or “pittotes” and Athienou lace full of lace (2015), “The tradition of bakery in Athienou” (2018) and “The Feast of Saint Fokas in Athienou” (2018).
Also, for the year 2018, the UNESCO National Committee of Cyprus, in accordance with a decision of the Special Committee on the Intangible Cultural Heritage, approved the “Athienou Loukkoumi of Wedding” to be included in the “Customs of the traditional Cypriot marriage” already registered in the National Catalog.
- Volunteerism is booming in Athienou. The City has been approved as a Best Practice City, within the framework of the European URBACT Program, and has been approved as a Lead Partner in a Transfer Network for transferring its Good Practice in 7 other European cities.
- At the beginning of October of each year, Constantineio Municipal Park is hosting the Pancyprian Festival of Athienou Products, where all the Athienou products are presented (dairy products, bread, trachanas, sweets, eggs, ofto of Athienou, feast items, Athienou nuts, spoon sweets, liqueurs, traditional embroidery, etc). During the festival takes place a representation of the production of halloumi, spoon sweet of almond and the Athienou bread, and this is enriched with exceptional artistic activities.
Aradippou is situated in Southern Cyprus, with a small distance from the International airport of Larnaca. The village used to be traditionally for farmers but its view changed after the Turkish invasion in 1974 as well as due to the economic explosion which followed. In the present day Aradippou constitutes a nodal point at the international road network of the island and the nodal transportation of Rizoelia which is known to every Cypriot. Aradippou received its township in 1986 and it has gradually been established as one dynamically evolving vigorous town.
After its proclaim as a town, Aradippou defined the municipal limits and is the second biggest municipality of Cyprus in an extend to a land of 42.982 square governmental acres. The resident population of Aradippou today reaches 20.000 residents.
Our town was named after its settler, King Aradippos. The ancient spade brought to light the architectural and other findings which are dated since the Ancient times. Aradippou was excellent during the Middle Ages, because of the Royal Villa called as ‘The Despotissa Courtyard’ which belonged to Mrs Margarita de Louzinian, the sister of Leo the 6th and Amori’s granddaughter, the Prince of Tyrou.
The cultural development of the community is redound methodically and organized with different honours events for persons who have been distinguished and offered a lot to Aradippou, with elections, anniversaries events, exhibitions, publications and much more. The achievement of the objectives for cultural development constitutes the establishment of artistic-folklore events (on 18th of October) which basically has a folklore character.
Aradippou hosts within the municipal boundaries, the biggest part of the industrial zones which serve the wider region of the urban cluster and throughout Cyprus. These are: the free zone trade, north of the motorway Larnaca-Limassol, the industrial zone with limited degree of perturbation (Zone Ba3) north of the motorway Larnaca-Kofinou and governmental industrial area of Larnaca which although it has joined the municipal boundaries of Larnaca in terms of location is located in the area of Aradippou.
Aradippou is also famous for its numerous churches and chapels. The oldest church of Aradippou is Apostle of Loucas. The size of the church today takes the third position in line and was built in 1959 in order to cover the increasing needs of the population in Aradippou. The first church was built in 1700 AD in the same area but much smaller and the second one in 1851 AD on the foundations of the first one. In 1960 the church was destroyed due to a fire, part of the iconostasis. Miraculously nothing happened to the Saint’s figure and was not destroyed at all and today is still rescued as a remarkable legacy. Other temples of the community is Saint Phanurius and Saint Spyridonas and the newly contructed temple of the Apostle Varnavas. The most well-known chapel of Aradippou is ‘Panagia twn Ampelion’. The chapel is built on the ruins of an old temple which was destroyed by the Saracens in 1425.
The coastal city of Larnaka is one of the world’s 20 most ancient continuously inhabited areas. With a continuous history of over 4.000 years, Larnaka is the gateway to Cyprus and a blend of old and new. From its traditional architecture, authentic taverns and local handicrafts to its cultural sites and religious monuments, old Larnaka is an evocative glimpse into a Cyprus past. New and modern Larnaka harmoniously intertwines with these elements of ancient Kition, and offers the cosmopolitan visitor beautiful beaches, a bustling promenade lined with cafes and restaurants, brand-name shopping, advanced infrastructure and every conceivable amenity.
The defining features of Larnaka city include the bustling promenade of Foinikoudes – which is lined with mature palm trees and flanked by beach, eateries and entertainment – and its joining sea walkway of Piale Pasha, which passes by quaint old neighbourhoods and fresh fish taverns. The parallel shopping centre with its traditional architecture puts everything at your fingertips, whilst the famous Salt Lake that fills with flocks of vibrant pink flamingos in the winter months attracts visitors for its natural beauty and ecological value. Larnaka town is also significant for both Christians and Moslems. The most revered monuments of the two are included in the main attractions of the city: the Church of Agios Lazaros, the patron saint of the town who Jesus resurrected and held dear as a friend; and the mosque of Hala Sultan – an important place of pilgrimage for Moslems that is flanked by the Salt Lake.
Although Larnaka has always offered plenty to both its residents and visitors, this has been further enhanced with a host of changes the town has recently undergone, including numerous new hotel developments. However, Larnaka has even bigger plans for the next five years including the Larnaka Port & Marina re-development, the removal of the oil refineries and the regeneration of the area, excavations of the Ancient Port of Kition and new EU-funded projects which will significantly contribute to the revitalization of the town centre.
Lefkara is home to the traditional Cypriot embroidered lace, the well-known «lefkaritiko». It is said that the famous Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci visited Cyprus at the end of the 16th century and came to Lefkara, where he bought a large ornate tablecloth, which he gifted to Milan Cathedral. The village is located on the south-eastern slopes of the Troodos mountains at 650m above sea level, some 45km from Lefkosia (Nicosia), 30km from Larnaca Airport and just 12km from the Lefkosia – Limassol motorway. The name Lefkara comes from the colour of the limestone that surrounds the village: Lefka (Greek for white) + ori (Greek for mountains, hills) = Lefkara.
Lefkara lace is the finest example of what embroidery and folk art in Cyprus has to offer. It is a valued specimen of embroidered artwork, which reflects the strength and sensitivity of the women of Lefkara. The competent hands of the embroiderer create perfect artistic designs. Lefkara lace reached its peak as an art in the period 1920-1930 when, according to some experts, it was among the finest handicrafts in the world. In 2009, it was added to the UNESCO list of intangible heritage items.
In addition to Lefkara lace, another craft that has thrived here for decades is silversmithing. Hand-made jewels, spoons, censers and other ecclesiastical implements, candle burners, processional staffs, crosses etc. are made locally, while silver and gold are also used to coat icons and bibles.
Lefkara is a large settlement whose main architectural characteristic is the fact that buildings are concentrated in a dense area and are mostly terraced. The houses are built from stone with tiled roofs, balconies and inner courtyards, filled with flowers.
The roads are narrow and often lead to a dead end, with balconies so tightly close that they almost appear to merge one into another. Several of the narrow picturesque alleyways are paved and blend in with the stone walls of the buildings.
FOLK ART MUSEUM
Visitors to the Museum can see exquisite samples of embroidered lace, some of which date back to the 19th century, typical examples of silver craft, traditional costumes and photographs of times gone by. The building in which the museum is housed is in itself a typical example of vernacular architecture in the 19th century.
CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS
The most significant monument of vernacular architecture in the village is the Church of the Holy Cross, which dates back to the 14th century.
It is one of three churches in Cyprus said to hold a fragment of the Holy Cross. The church’s wood-carved iconostasis, which was gold-coated in 1761, is highly valuable.
THE CHAPELS AROUND LEFKARA
There are many chapels in Lefkara. This is because of the religiousness of the locals, who contributed to the construction of eighteen chapels in many neighbourhoods of the village and the surrounding area, some of which are superb examples of Byzantine architecture.
At the village restaurants, visitors can enjoy local dishes, such as the famous Lefkara ttavas and “koupepia” (stuffed vine leaves). The restaurants also serve and sell the Lefkara “loukoumia” and “sykopittes” (fig pies).
The village has a small but pleasant hotel and several dwellings developed for agrotourism. The village has banks, a local hospital, post office, police presence, coffee shops, restaurants, supermarkets and kiosks.
The village of Lefkara is located on the south-eastern slopes of the Troodos mountains, some 45km from both the capital Lefkosia (Nicosia) and Limassol and 30km from Larnaca airport.
Lefkara is famous for its lace and silversmithing.
Visitors to the village can watch the women of Lefkara embroider lace as they sit outside their shops and homes in the village. The village has several silversmith workshops that make hand-made jewels, spoons, censers, crosses etc. and traditional delights from the local industry.
Visitors can also head for some of the local taverns and restaurants, which serve traditional foods, such as the famous Lefkara ttavas.
The most significant monument of traditional local architecture in the village is the Church of the Holy Cross, which dates back to the fourteenth century and is one of three churches in Cyprus said to hold a fragment of the Holy Cross.
The architecture of Lefkara is unique. Houses are built from the traditional Lefkara stone and blend harmoniously with the landscape of the village.
The Museum of the Art of Reed has been created after the initiative of Livadia Municipality and was inaugurated in November 2016, with a view to preserve the memory of the people regarding the use and the processing of the reed.
In 2015, the art of basketry and straw –mat making was included in the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO as a traditional art of Livadia. The aim of the Museum is not only to promote the local tradition and the uniqueness of this local product , but also to protect the art of basketry and straw –mat making.
The interior of the Museum is made from reeds growing in Livadia, well-known for the craftsmen of basketry and straw-mat making for the last centuries. The exhibits are displayed in `Windows of Memory, opening to the world of the art and use of reed. The modern approach of the traditional techniques of construction as well as the modern display of the products attract and stimulate the interest of every visitor.
The exhibits of the Museum include baskets used for a variety of purposes, made with different techniques such as the wattle, the straw-mat, musical instruments, tools used for the processing of the reed, historic photographic material and short films which introduce the human intervention of the reed as well as the techniques used for the creation of products.