The next stop north down the Marathasa Valley, PEDOULAS, is an attractive place tumbling down a hillside in a series of terraces, only slightly marred by the rusted corrugated iron roofs on some of the houses. The village, notable mainly for its painted church, was established during the Byzantine period by refugees fleeing Arab coastal raids, though the origin of its name is somewhat in doubt – perhaps it refers to the shoe and sandal makers who once plied their trade here (“pedila” being the word for sandal). Pedoulas packs in all the services you might need including restaurants and shops, a petrol station and banks with ATMs, though, like many settlements in these mountains, its serpentine lanes are something of a maze – probably the easiest way to get orientated is from the huge white Church of the Holy Cross in the centre (not the painted church for which the village is famous). As you explore, look out for the statue of Archbishop Makarios III on the main (upper) street, the large monument to Aristides Charalambous, a local man who died during the independence struggle, and in particular (you can’t miss it – it dominates the skyline above the village) the white 25m-high Cross of Fithkia, which stands next to a modern chapel.

 

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