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Pachyammos beach

Pachyammos, the extreme western village of Nicosia, is known for its extensive, almost virgin sandy beach, for the Lorovounos upland known for the tragic events of 1964, when it was bombarded by the Turkish troops, and for the church of Agios Rafael, a focus of attraction for thousands of pilgrims every year. Kokkina is currently abandoned, though a few Turkish troops continue to stay in the village. Alevga, originally a Greek village, converted to a Turkish after 1571, is currently abandoned. Selladi tou Appi is an abandoned tiny village. Agio Georgoudi. The name testifies its original Greek-Orthodox origin, before it was made a Turkish village. Currently it is abandoned. Mosfileri is an abandoned village. Mansoura, inhabited since the Roman times, is currently abandoned. It is known for the battle of Kokkina – Mansoura in August 1964, when Turkey bombarded the area of Tillyria. Agios Theodoros is at least a medieval settlement, most probably Byzantine, converted to a Turkish-Cypriot settlement after 1571. It is currently inhabited by a few refugees. Chaleri is currently part of Pigenia. it is no more a settlement but a mere place-name. Pigenia is a dissected, rocky and barren village, relying on charcoal production and animal raising. Its church of Agios Charalampos contains an icon of St Marina which is taken around the village in times of drought.

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Kato Pyrgos. This is the principal settlement of the area and the whole of Tillyria region, most probably developed as a result of the main road linking Pafos-Polis-Xeros-Nicosia. It is definitely a recent settlement testified by its sprawling along the main road, the lack of cohesion and the scattered houses. Apart from the Secondary School, the visitor will find all public and private services in the village. Fig production is no more the exclusive engagement as in the past. Instead, citrus, orchards, vegetables and bananas are cultivated. The oak-tree in the middle of the coastal road is, as often mentioned, as old as the first house of Kato Pyrgos. Some touristic activities are currently pursued by the inhabitants like the establishment of tavernas, restaurants, hotels, etc. The isle of Petra tou Limniti, on which a neolithic settlement was unearthed, is visible from Kato Pyrgos. It could be surmised that the main occupation in the neolithic settlement was fishing. Most probably reasons of security forced the neolithic man to build the settlement on this tiny isle. Pano Pyrgos is a tiny settlement, engaged primarly in charcoal production. The visitor can observe the transportation of thick trunks of trees from the nearby forest, the placing of timber on heaps to be covered by earth so that burning is slow, the use of water to extinguish them, their weighing and their packing in plastic bags. One of the interesting sites of the village in the tiny church of Panagia Galoktisti, with its peculiar architecture, built, according to tradition, with milk instead of mortar, since water was scarce. Originally it was entirely painted. Frodisia is an isolated, abandoned settlement within the forest.

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North of Machairas Forest

The traditional architecture of Gourri is remarkable with narrow, winding streets, houses of the steep-pitched type, some dating back to the 19th or 18th centuries with wood-carved doors and windows. The parish church of Agios Georgios of the mountain type dates from 1775.

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Fikardou village

Fikardou has been much publicized in recent years, firstly because it has been declared a monument and secondly because it was awarded the EUROPA NOSTRA prize. It can be approached either from Klirou or from Kalo Chorio. Two houses have been restored and currently constitute living folk art museums: (a) The house of Katsiniorou is a two-storeyed building of the 16th century with steep-pitched roof, constructed with local building material. The visitor can see the large wine jars, the stable, the loom, the gypsum “souvantzes” and many other utensils of every day use,

(b) A second two-storeyed house restored by donation of Leventis Foundation, with many exhibits of the 19th century particularly as far as the interior is concerned. Lazanias. The traditional architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries with the preponderance of wood and local stone fascinates the visitor. The church of Agios Georgios of the 18th century, is steep-pitched with wooden beams inside and a gilted iconostasis. Several old portable icons are preserved, while an icon of St. George dates back to 1700. The multi-coloured decoration of the wooden ceiling is probably unique in Cypriot churches.

Monastery of Machairas

Machairas Monastery (Panagia Machairiotissa), lying north of Kionia peak (1425m), is one of the most famous monasteries of Cyprus and one of the three stavropegaic monasteries (not subject to the jurisdiction of the bishop of the See in which it is situated). According to tradition the monastery was founded around 1145 A.D. by hermits Neofytos and Ignatios, expelled from Syria. The two hermits discovered the icon of the Madonna in a cave with a knife near by. Most probably the monastery’s name is derived from the word machaira, meaning knife in Greek. It is believed that the miraculous icon has been painted by apostle Luke. The emperor Emmanuel Komninos assisted with funds in the founding of the monastery around 1172 A.D. Originally a chapel with a few cells were constructed, while later Nilos, the abbot, built the church and the cells of the monastery with wall around. The monastery ever since experienced many adventures, vicissitudes and persecutions. It was completely destroyed in 1530 as well as in 1892, though in both cases, by miracle, the icon of Virgin Mary was saved. The present three-aisled church of Machairas was built between 1892 and 1900. The rest of the buildings were constructed after the fire of 1892. The visitor is impressed by the two mosaic-compositions right and left of the main entrance to the church, depicting the privileges of the monastery and the discovery of the icon of Virgin Mary. During the difficult years of the Ottoman rule in Cyprus, the monastery’s role was not simply religious but educational as well, since a Greek school was operating in the premises of the monastery. The monastery of Machairas is closely associated with Gregoris Afxentiou, second-in-command of the EOKA liberation struggle for independence (1955-59). Afxentiou had his hide-out close to the monastery and on the 3rd of March 1957, when numerous troops surrounded the area, he decided to resist fighting until, after a 10-hour battle, he was finally burned alive. The present hide-out, which can be visited, is a small artificial cave of 3m. long, 2m wide and 35cm high. Within the monastery, in a cell, functions a small museum hosting several belongings of Afxentiou. Mention could also be made of the small and beautiful Byzantine chapel of Agios Onoufrios, originally built in the 14th century, on the road Kapedes-Machairas, about three kilometres from the monastery. Kionia and the neighbouring excursion site. For those who would like to combine a visit to the monastery with an excursion, Kionia, south of the monastery, with a radar station on its top, is recommended. The view from this spot is almost unique. East of Kionia peak, there is an excursion site on the slope with all amenities including barbecue.

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