CYPRUS AREA INFORMATION
In presenting a view of Cyprus, one prefers to concentrate on the free regions that are under Greek control. In order to do that, one typically starts at the southwest corner of the Island and works in a clockwise direction.
The largest and most populous district in the southwest region of the Island is the Paphos District. That District contains 4 different municipalities. One of those, Pafos, is the favored destination of those spending a holiday on Cyprus. Pafos, which has a population of 40,000, can boast about having an interesting foundation. It was constructed on top of an old Byzantine castle.
Geroskipou is another of the 4 municipalities in the Paphos District. The founders of Geroskipou chose to build their community around the church of Agia Paraskevi. Even today that church-centered community retains much of the tranquility that existed there at the time of its founding.
Despite that tranquil setting, Geroskipou does not lack any modern-day services. That is because it is adjacent to Pafos, and it is only 7 kilometers from the International Airport. Geroskipou uses its location to draw visitors to the folk art museum. There they can see first-hand what life was like in ancient Cyprus.
Many Europeans choose to vacation at Geroskipou. A seaside community, its beaches are washed by crystal blue waters. In fact, the beach there has been described as the “Blue Flag of Europe.”
The municipality of Pegia owes its size to the fact that it has been a growing community for 4,000 years. The first inhabitants of Cyprus settled in this area. Here they mined the region’s copper, the only resource that Cyprus had at that time. Today Pegia is the largest municipality in free Cyprus.
The municipality of Polis Chrysachous was built on the site of the ancient Kingdom of Marion. That Kingdom was once an important commercial center. During the 10th Century, many merchants passed through Marion. The Kingdom fell to Ptolemy in 312 BC, and the region never fully regained its former glory.
North of Pafos one finds the old village of Kalhikas. It too was once a stopover for merchants. Today it provides tourists with a taste of life in ancient Cyprus. A visitor in Kalhikas can easily imagine what life was like for those Cypriots who suffered invasions from the Assyrians, the Persians and the Egyptians.
In the northwest corner of Cyprus one finds Hrysohon Bay. Polis is the largest city on that Bay. The small hillside village of Latchi serves as the harbor for Polis. Out from Latchi, in the blue waters of the Bay, one can see Chamili Island. Visitors who find the Island of Cyprus too populated, might want to retreat to Chamili Island.
Latchi is typical of many villages in Cyprus. Neo Chorio is a village not far from Latchi. It features proximity to a cave system. The cave system below the land outside of Neo Chorio has the same stalactites and stalagmites that are found in all of the world’s large caves.
East of Latchi one finds the seaside village called Pomos. The residents of Pomos enjoy a proximity to the Paphos forest. That forest contains Moufflon, the mountain sheep that ancient settlers brought to the Island. It also contains many different bird species and some unique insects. Mountain butterflies and damselflies can be seen pollinating the flowers of Paphos forest.
The streams of Paphos forest have been fed trout. That feeding took place more than 50 years ago. Since then the trout have thrived in the streams of Cyprus, giving fishermen added pleasure during a visit to the Island.
Another lovely location east of Polis is Akaourdalia. In that village one can find many restored stone houses. The best time to visit Akaourdalia is in the spring. At that time all of the almond trees are in full bloom. Their orange blossoms then seem to be everywhere.
The mention of spring in Cyprus introduces a second way to relate descriptions of Cyprus. The description of Cyprus changes from season to season. As mentioned above, the orange almond blossoms add color to the springtime. The hillsides of Cyrus also contain other pastels during the spring. Those hillsides become covered with wildflowers, including the red anemones and the pink orchids.
Summers are hot and dry in Cyprus. Still there are always gentle breezes to cool any hot tourist. Wise summer tourists visit the archaeological sites during the early morning and early evening hours. When it is hot, then the tourists stay along the green coastal strips, or they ascend into the mountains.
Tourists can plan to swim in the waters of Cyprus from May to October. That is when the water is nice and warm. Summer sports in Cyprus include far more than swimming. Summer sports in Cyprus include water skiing, banana boating, windsurfing and wet biking.
In October the water becomes a bit cooler, and the leaves in the mountains start to change. During the autumn, the mountains and orchards of Cyprus are covered in gold and crimson. Along the coast the temperature declines only slightly. There the leaves do not change their colors, although the leaves do eventually fall-off of the trees.
The rainy season comes to Cyprus from December to February. At that time the skies contain many scattered clouds. An occasional shower waters the land on the coastal plains and on the cultivated regions of the Island. In the mountain ranges, those showers often turn to snow. Therefore, winter in Cyprus becomes a time when a tourist can admire the beauty of the snow-covered mountains.
The beauty of those mountains more than makes up for the fact that water sports can not be enjoyed during this rainy season of the year. The water is just too cold. The cool temperatures do not, however, motivate the people of Cyprus to close down in the winter. The winter closing of many of the Mediterranean travel destinations is a sad fact of life, and it is one of the reasons that Cyprus remains a popular destination for European winter travelers.