Lefkara Travel Guide

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Lefkara

Lefkara

Half way on the road from Nicosia or Larnaca to Limassol the white Lefkara hills catch the attention. The name Lefkara is attributed to the light color, almost white, limestone (Lefka ori – white mountains).   The picturesque villages of Pano Lefkara, Kato Lefkara and Kato Drys are perched in these southern foothills of the Troodos mountains, 10Km from the Nicosia-Limassol highway and a short distance from the beach and the cities of Nicosia , Limassol and Larnaca.  Once an administrative center with a population of more than 5000 at the beginning of the 20th century, Pano Lefkara today has a population of about 1000 and  boasts a unique architecture that remains to this day. The stone-built houses are separated by narrow winding streets. Occasionally a balcony, with flowers hanging over the narrow street, joins the upper levels of the houses. Places to see in Lefkara are the Church of the Holy cross in the center of the village, the Handicraft museum and the Wax museum. Lefkara is a popular destination for day visits, but remains quiet and almost undiscovered for longer stays. Yet, there is accommodation in Lefkara, restaurants and coffee shops. 

The village of Pano Lefkara is famous not only for its unique architecture but also for its lace and silverwork.  The world-famous Lefkara lace is embroidered on pure linen.  Although colors may be found in antique pieces, today’s embroideries are done on natural color linen with white or light brown thread. Strolling along the narrow streets of the village, one may still come across women embroidering in front of their houses. The delicate and exquisite craftsmanship and unique designs of the genuine Lefkara lace make the handicrafts popular with visitors.   Locally produced Turkish delights is another Lefkara product that is popular.

According to the legend, Leonardo da Vinci visited the village in 1481, and purchased a lace cloth for the main altar of the Milan Doumo. The Lefkaritika style was probably imported here in ancient times from Assyria . Much later, the Venetians brought it home, and set up their own lace industry on the island of Burano . In 1889 a local lace school was opened, and Lefkara lace regained much of its ancient renown.

There are several small old churches both inside the village and in the surroundings. Local women tend to them and visit to light a candle, among them the one on top of the hill above Lefkara.   The climb to the top of the Sotira hill from the main road takes about half an hour on foot. On the top there is a magnificent view of the coast of Larnaca and Limassol to the south as well as the surrounding villages and the Troodos Mountains to the north.

A short distance to the southwest from Pano Lefkara through the village of Kato Drys one finds the Monastery of Aghios Minas, run solely by nuns. A shop in the monastery offers the visitor the opportunity to purchase their own products, such as icons, fruit preserves, pure honey etc. Further down the hills is the Choirokitia site, one of the oldest neolithic settlements in the Eastern Mediterranean .

The back roads from Lefkara through the mountains are in places a bit steep, but are paved and can be easily navigated. There are several local restaurants on the road to Vavatsinia   Further up one can visit the Machairas monastery and the Pitsilia area, a picturesque part of Cyprus with relatively little tourism.

 

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