East of Pitsilia, MACHAIRAS feels even more remote, a fact that is reflected in its total lack of hotels – even villages are few and far between. It is, however, a favourite day-trip destination for Lefkosians, and does have a number of attractions, including a monastery very much associated with EOKA, and a museum village, while its mountains and forests have more of an alpine feel than anywhere else in the Troodos range.
Macharias is signposted along the E902 from Strovolos on the outskirts of Lefkosia, from where an invigorating forest drive via Politiko and Pera brings you to its monastery via the extensive picnic grounds at Mandra Kambiou.Read More
- Machairas Monastery
The carefully conserved mountain village of FIKARDOU lies northwest of Machairas Monastery, and can be approached from there via Lazanias or from the west via Gourri. Either way, you enter the village on the E916. Though somewhat “preserved-in-aspic”, it provides an excellent idea of what a Cypriot mountain village of the eighteenth or nineteenth century would have looked like.
The first building you encounter when you finally climb up into the village is the Church of the Apostles St Peter and St Paul on the left. A pretty little stone and clay-tiled-roofed building, it is set into the hillside below the road. In front of it lie graves which must have some of the best views in Cyprus. Across the road, on the hillside and with equally fine views, stands a memorial to four local men who died during the 1974 invasion. Immediately ahead is the village’s coffee house and restaurant Yiannakos, tucked into a steep hairpin bend. Two-storey traditional houses are stacked up the hillside, each with straw-flecked mud walls and capped by mellow red/brown tile roofs. (The ground floor was used for making and storing wine and other farm produce, the first floor housed the people.) The organic nature of the village speaks for itself – the buildings seem to grow out of the hillside.
Two of Fikardou’s old houses have been opened to the public – the House of Katsiniourou, named after its last owner and owing its plan and features to the sixteenth century, has been turned into a rural museum (Daily April–Oct 9am–5pm; Nov–March 8am–4pm; €1.70; t22634731). Furnishing, tools and utensils from the past are on show, together with photographs, plans, drawings and texts illustrating the process of preservation. The House of Achilleas Dimitri has been furnished as a weaver’s workshop and also acts as a guesthouse.