Cyprus // Larnaka and around //

Pano Lefkara

The best known hill village in this region is PANO (UPPER) LEFKARA (there’s also Kato – Lower – Lefkara just down the hill, but there’s not a lot there), which stands at almost 700m above sea level, at the end of the excellent E105 that climbs up to it from the Larnaka to Lemesos road. (Parking is not allowed on the streets – they’re too narrow – but there’s a new two-storey car park at the top of the village, near the post office.)

Though pretty enough, Pano Lefkara’s main claim to fame, attracting numerous tour coaches to the village, is its lace, embroidery and silverware. A local, probably apocryphal, legend suggests that Leonardo da Vinci was so impressed with the lace that he bought some for the altar cloth for Milan Cathedral. Today the village exports all over the world. Women in the village (seen patiently working their needles outside) are said to pass on their skills to their daughters when they get to the age of ten, while the men ply their trade making silver ornaments and jewellery. It is difficult to fathom how true this is today, and a lot of the stuff you’ll see on sale is manufactured elsewhere, but there is still a good proportion of top-quality lace and embroidery for sale here. Be prepared, however, for ferociously hard sells and cunning subterfuges to get you into shops. Try D & A Lefkara Handicraft centre (t24342686) on the left before you enter the village, or Harry and Maria Loizou (t24342204).

Clearly signposted in the village centre, the Patsalos Museum of Traditional Embroidery and Silversmithwork (to give it its full, rather long-winded title) is located in a magnificent old house with blue doors and shutters (it belonged to one of the riches families in the village). A visit to the museum gives you a feel for what real Lefkara lace and embroidery looks like, and also displays furniture, textiles and pottery in series of elegant, high-ceilinged rooms.

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