Wanna know the top villages to visit in Cyprus? You will find several articles mentioning Lefkara. So, allow me once again to take you to this famous Cyprus Village: Lefkara, Famed for Laces and Silverworks.
GPS Coordinates: 34.8703° N, 33.3009° E
What I am about to show you is Pano (Upper) Lefkara Village, situated in the foot of the Troodos Mountains. This belongs to Larnaca District and is 30 km NE of Limassol. The name Lefkara is of Greek word origins; “lefka” means white and “or” means mountains.
Related Articles: What to Do and See in Larnaca & Discovering Troodos Majestic Mountain
History of Settlement
Archaeological findings suggest that there are no signs of early settlement for centuries. The earliest recording is the birth of St. Neophytos, the Recluse born in Lefkara around 1134. He is one of the significant figures of the Church in Cyprus.
The Venetians occupied Cyprus during 1489 – 1570 A.D. and most of the noble families spend their summers here. Noble wives during this era influence the local women, the art of lace-making.
By 1570 with the Turks in Cyprus, an event may have taken place for residents to abandon the village.
During the late 18th century, under the British Administration, Lefkara became one of the first rural villages.
The residents are of a mix of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots though the former are majority. Just like most of the Cyprus villages, population decline sometime 1960s due to migration in other cities or abroad.
The Birth of Lefkaritiko
In the olden times, lacemaking or lefkaritiko is a past time hobby of the women in the village. Visiting the village, you can immediately spot groups of women sitting together outside with their needleworks.
Grandmothers and mothers, train young girls with this skill. There is no template for the designs, it is something one remembers and continues the cycle of teaching.
Carobs, grapes and olives are the main agricultural produce in the village but in so many occasions, residents experience hardships due to droughts. The women found a way to market the laces to supplement the needs of the family.
Further Reading: Lefkaritika Delicate Lace of Cyprus
In 1896, a village woman brought the laces to Alexandria, Egypt to market them. The first attempt is not successful and by 1902, she visited Egypt again with her husband, and this time bringing orders from abroad. Hence, the year 1920-1930 is the peak of lefkaritiko.
The early years of trading are relatively simple, the sons are sent abroad carrying suitcases of laces that reach various countries worldwide. Later on, these entrepreneurs reside abroad and establish their shops.
As you walk through the village, it is evident how this craft flourish traditionally and economically.
This is how Lefkara laces rise popularity throughout the world.
Further Reading: Lefkara Laces Exhibition in New York; 2018
Da Vinci Pattern
Leonardo Da Vinci, the Renaissance artist visited Cyprus during the Venetian as a guest of Queen Cornaro of Cyprus. He found an embroidered table cloth and donated to Milan Cathedral.
Following the 600th anniversary of the Cathedral, the women of Lefkara gave a new tablecloth of the same design. The pattern is now popular with the name, Da Vinci Pattern.
UNESCO Intangible Heritage
In 2009, Lefkara lace was inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Heritage. One of the many reasons is that this folk tradition is passed to generations up to the present day, and the craft provided women a sense of identity and continuity.
Further Reading: Intagible Heritage of Cyprus – Lefkara Laces
From the excavation finds, it shows that as early as 2000 BC, the settlers use silver to create objects. Moreso, during the Christian times as icons of saints, have silver leaves and other household items have elements of silver.
A historian, Aristides N. Koudounaris, recounts silverworks in Lefkara during the 18th century from the dates of his collections.
While the women of Lekfara are busy with the laces, the men set up metal workshops along the streets. Continuing the local tradition of silverworks, they hone metal handicrafts such as goblets, plates, and spoons. When you enter a shop, there are laces and metal crafts on display.
Image from LefkaraVillage, one of the stores in Lefkara.
Further Reading: Lefkara Traditional Silversmithing
A Quaint Village
Be ready with your cameras or make the most of your phone cameras and take endless shots of various subjects. We always find cobblestones walkways stunning, lots of distinct doors, windows, and pretty wrought-iron balconies. Don’t forget the vibrant palette of colors accentuated by plants and flowers. This village has one of the stunning architectures, houses made of limestone and terracotta rooftops.
Spend a part of your day going through the village and choose an excellent spot for a cup of coffee or enjoy a delicious Cypriot dish!
Points of Interest
Here are some of the places around Lefkara for you to check out.
- Timios Stavros Church – Many records show that this Church dates back the 14th Century. The Church has a silver cross and according to tradition, a piece of the Lord’s cross is in the center of this cross with silver coating.
- Ayioi Anargyri and Ayios Neophytos Chapel – They are big and small chapels at the entrance of the village for St Anargyri and St. Neophytos. The latter is honored every 28th of September and 24th of January.
- Folk Art Museum – Under the care of the Department of Antiquities since 1988. This a typical house in the 19th century and holds the best collections of laces.
- Dipotamos Dam – one the largest dam in Cyprus with a capacity of 14 million cubic meters of water. The dam looks like the Swiss or Norwegian fiords. Visitors can fish for trouts.
For more information about Lefkara Village, click in the community online portal.
Lefkaritika in Present Times
The intricate needlework is facing challenges in the present times due to these factors:
- Quality vs. Price – Most buyers especially tourists tend to haggle for cheaper prices. The creation of these pieces takes time to complete by hand to produce quality craft.
- Aging craftswomen – When I visited Lefkara, I didn’t see young women stitching. As the young pursue their studies, move to the cities or abroad. What will happen in the next 15 – 20 years?
- Modern trends – Back in the days each household use pieces of this artwork. Here in my house, we have a dining cloth of the same embroidery from my grandmother. What about the new houses with modern interior designs, do they still use these pieces? This affects demand for the products.
- COVID19 Pandemic – We visited Lefkara twice, during this pandemic. On the first occasion, everything is close so there is no sense getting down the car. On the second trip, only a few shops, cafes, and restaurants open; even the museum is close. It is a pity to go around an empty village. Thankfully I chat with one store owner and she shares her woes during this pandemic; no tourists, no sales.
How can we help our society to stop the decline of folk traditions?
What message can we impart to the young generation in uplifting traditions?
As a tourist, do you usually bargain for handcrafted pieces, knowing that the product is the main livelihood that exist for centuries?
May this article shift a course of action and perspective in us, as we are mostly tourists and part of a society with history.
Whew! Did the last questions activate some thoughts to ponder? Let’s put that aside for a while and here is a side trip excursion as you visit Lefkara.
Golden Donkeys Farm is nineteen minutes drive from Lefkara in the village of Skarinou.
This is the biggest camel farm in Cyprus and “probably” in Europe. There are about one hundred seventy donkeys, and they produce donkey’s milk. Yes! Have you tasted donkey’s milk? It has lesser fat than cow’s milk and its composition is similar to breast milk. What?!? Also it is loaded with nutrients, vitamins and anti-aging too! Wow!
Donkeys are part of Cyprus tradition, remember they are the first logistic buddies back in the days!
Aside from the donkeys, there is a wax museum, olive mill, botanical garden, traditional house and Church.
So, there’s a lot more to do and see for this excursion. For more information, click for the website and contact details below.
Golden Donkeys Farm
- Phone00357 99 620 736
- AddressSkarinou 7731, Cyprus
Finally, we are at the end of this article. I will definitely visit Lefkara again, once there are more people traffic and they are back on their usual buzz.
Did you enjoy the virtual tour of this Cyprus Village Lefkara, Famed for Laces, and Silverworks?
Going back to the questions earlier, just hit the comment button below.
60 CommentsAdd Yours →
I’ve never had donkey’s milk. Lefkara looks beautiful. 😀
Me too! They’re saying it’s a strong milk, but let me try this 😉 Thanks for checking out!
Love villages with traditional and authentic lifestyle. My grandmother used to do lace embroidery but I never took the time to learn it.
I was also taught embroidery and sewing but it is something I am not so interested in. I hope the tradition continues, now I realized how important they are.
This is lovely! I need to visit this place if I travel to Cyprus. Thank you for sharing.
Hello! Feel free to check other villages here in Cyprus. Thanks for checking this out 😉
Wow! This place looks so awesome! Thanks for sharing!
MagicandBliss | https://magicandbliss.com/
So far, all the villages I visited are beautiful. Glad you like this article.
I haven’t explored Cyprus much, but this looks like an absolutely beautiful place to visit! Thank you for such an in-depth post 🙂
Hope you can plan a trip soon when you are able to do so. So many beautiful places to explore and it is always a culture trip here in Cyprus.
What a lovely village! I love small towns like this, especially when paired with an historical event or custom such as lacemaking.
Thanks Cris! What are the folk traditions in your hometown?
Absolutely beautiful village and really beautiful pictures ❤️ my mother tried to teach me all the embroidery and sewing but it wasn’t for me. But now I think I should learn some.😄😄👍
Me too! Embroidery skill seems to be difficult for me. Yet I can brag with my cross stitching works before 😉 Happy to know you love this village.
Such a beautiful city 🙂
Thanks for the read! 😉
I did want to visit Lefkara when I visited Larnaca but it seemed difficult to get there without a car. Definitely on my to-do list for next time I get to Cyprus. Thanks for sharing this!
Hello! hopefully on your next trip. Also, Larnaca offers free tours during autumn and winter, that includes Lefkara. I have written a post about free tours every autumn and winter season. You can search for the topic on my site. 😉
Wow, I had no idea there was so much to do in Lefkara. The lacemaking and silverworks look fabulous, and how amazing that you can drink donkey’s milk – I’ve tried goats milk but never donkey! Your post is making me very nostalgic – I really want to go back to Cyprus again as soon as we can 🙂
I am also surprised by the donkey’s milk. I will try this. I can’t wait to hear about your next visit here in Cyprus. Take care always 😉
Beautiful pictures of Lefkara! Love all the history behind this too, learned a lot.
Hi Alexis thanks for your feedback! This is inspiring me 😉
Great post. The history of this place is incredible.
Thanks for visiting my site, glad you enjoyed this article. Cheers!
You raise a important global theme that traditional industries are at risk (handicraft & agriculture esp) & its a real shame. It seems to me that, even for those who prefer modern pieces in their home, there’s a way to introduce a few of these lovely embroidered pieces to add a unique character to the room.
Thanks for sharing, Vinn. Lefkara and its limestone/terracotta homes (love that) sounds precious.
Thanks for that insight. I think as travelers we should try to support traditional industries. It can be by purchasing items fairly; too much haggling destroys their dignity and economics. Also we can gift these souvenirs to our friends or loved ones who will showcase it in their homes.
Cyprus seems full of history and beauty. Looks like a place that would be a quaint getaway. I have never even heard of Leftkara before. I loved hearing about places that have been around for hundreds of years. I love that you have shared all the wonderful things about Cyprus. I hope to make it there someday.
Hi Coralie, every village here has a history and I am eager to learn more. Now I realized when you visit Cyprus especially in traditional villages, it is more of a culture trip. Hope you can visit Cyprus. 😉
Another great post! Thanks for the information. Looking forward to traveling again soon when it is possible.
Hi, thanks for dropping by! Be safe always and looking forward to hearing about your future travels
What a darling village. I’d love to visit someday. Thanks for sharing your adventure!
Your pictures are stunning! It sounds like there are so many interesting things to see and do in Cyprus. I like the side trip you took. It sounds like fun. Thank you for sharing!
Hi! Sidetrips are really fun. I always find a nearby village or some attraction where you can possibly make a detour. Like hitting two birds in one stone. Thanks!
Wow!! This looks like an incredible place to visit – your pictures are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing! I’ll definitely keep this in mind for when I visit Cyprus!
Hello! Glad that I inspired you with your future travels. Take care and be safe always!
I am fond of needlework. I was in the Bruges Handicraft Museum, I would very much like to get to this beautiful place in Cyprus. Thank you very interesting guide.
Hello, I’m sure you will be delighted to visit Cyprus especially the villages. There are several handcrafted products here and the laces are must-see. Thank you 😉
Cyprus looks like a great place
Wish I could go rains to much in the UK.
Hello, hope you can arrange your trip soon. Visitors from UK already started to arrive here. Thanks for dropping by 😉
Wow this looks so lovely – I’ve never been to Cyprus but this has definitely made me want to go. The Golden Donkeys park looks amazing – I’ve never had donkey milk either but I would definitely give it a try – anything once, right?
Yes, I’m looking forward to try donkey milk too. Cyprus is a very lovely country to visit and not so touristy compared to other destinations. Hope to hear from you soon, especially about your trip here. Thank you 😉
This place looks amazing..!! I am getting married in the next couple of months and wanted to search for a beautiful, serene and special place for my honeymoon.. I believe I can explore this blog to find more of such places..Also, if you have any suggestions then please let me know!!
Oh my, this is so exciting! Congratulations. Well, Cyprus is indeed a wedding destination! I do have an article in one of the weddings I attended here last year and I highlighted several reasons why couples choose to be wed here. Please do check it out! The villages, Paphos, Agia Napa, and Protaras are some of the few locations where you can celebrate your wedding. I’m really excited for you, drop me a message anytime. 😉
What a beautiful village! I have a constant fascination with cobblestone walkways and old silver and, as a writer, cannot imagine the writing that would come out of it if I ever managed to reach Lefkara. Thanks for sharing.
I really hope you can visit Lefkara and make this an inspiration in your stories. I will be the first one to read it! Thanks!
Sounds absolutely beautiful. All that beauty and history and a donkey farm as well! Fantastic!
Hello! Thanks for enjoying the tour 😉
This blog is LIFE! Cyprus is on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing this. Your blog is really beautiful.
Hello! Hope to hear about your future travels to Cyprus. Love your blog too, I miss Dubai so much! Thanks 😉
[…] like the lefkarita laces in Lefkara Village, the work is spearheaded by the women with patterns from their minds. The craft is more intricate […]
It’s sad to think that the lacemaking, so important to this beautiful town’s identity, could die out with this generation.
I wish the community will be able to carry on teaching the new generation on this skill.
How cool, I didn’t know that Cyrus had a lace making village. It does look super quaint. I’ve been to Burano, Italy and watched some lace making and thought it was super interesting!
I think Burano may have similar origins with Cyprus, as it is told that it was brought about by Venetian influences. They have wonderful and intricate designs.
Very thoughtful piece on how old industries are struggling in this modern age. Sadly with generations they may be lost entirely.
On another note- Donkeys milk- I don’t know about that. I didn’t even know you could milk them, and my dad keeps donkeys.
If they don’t successfully preserve this culture in the years to come, all these will be just printed stories. And I guess it is the same with centuries-old folkart all over the world. I have yet to taste donkey’s milk. LOL!
Lefkara looks like a beautiful Cypriot village with an interesting history. I hope the tradition of lacemaking continues in the modern age as it’s an incredible skill and piece of their history and culture. I certainly don’t haggle over prices when this much work goes into a piece of art like this. I have some lace from Cyprus that I bought years ago in Cyprus.
I always think twice when haggling especially if it’s an intricate artwork and handmade. That souvenir will certainly last for a long time. Thanks!
Wow!! Cyprus really is incredible. The intricacy of the lace work in Lefkara is stunning! I really hope they are able to preserve this!
And then a donkey farm 🙂
Ahhaha, the donkey farm is a great side trip.