The rising temperatures during summertime; sometimes hitting at 40 degrees Celcius can be overwhelming. So, let’s cool down to the mountains and visit another Cyprus Village: Agros, A Rose Village!
Beautifully sits at 1100 meters along the Pitsilia Region in Troodos Mountains, belonging to Limassol District. It is about forty-five minutes’ drive when departing from Nicosia or Limassol cities and if you want to proceed to Troodos Square that’s another twenty minutes drive.
Agros coordinates: 34.9205° N, 33.0170° E
History of Agros Village
During the era of Byzantine Iconoclasm*, forty monks from Asia Minor arrive in Cyprus bringing the icon of Holy Mother. Staying in the cave where Agros is; they build a monastery of Agros Megalos,the same monastery from Asia Minor hence, the village name.
*Byzantine Iconoclasm is a period in Byzantine history where the use of religious images and icons was strongly opposed by both church figures and state officials within the empire. The word “iconoclasm” itself, having Greek origins, means “breaker of icons. (Byzantine Conference)
The original settlers in the village are the survivors of the deadly cholera plague during the late 16th century which killed 2/3 of the population. The survivors abandoned their homes and settled near the monastery thus, the birth of Agros Village.
During the fight against the end of British rule from 1955 – 1959, Agros is the command center in the Pitsilia region of the guerilla fighters EOKA, the acronym for Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston. Gregoris Afxentiou, is a national hero in Cyprus, leading the guerrilla fighters of the entire Troödos area from Agros.
With our plans for another excursion and having rose beds in our garden, this is the perfect village to visit! By the way, why is Agros, popularly known as a rose village?
According to the locals, the roses with thorny stems were planted to drive away goats from destroying the village plantations such as potatoes, tomatoes, and other crops.
The region’s altitude and cool weather is a great cultivating ground for these flowers. Thereupon, various wellness products are developed and the roses business thrived in the community.
The Rose Factory
You can never miss finding the rose factory with the giant rosebud on the building. We don’t have any reservation for the tour, just press the bell at the entrance and a friendly lady ushers me for the tour. Sorry, no photos allowed inside.
The Tsolakis family in Agros, started planting a specie of the roses called Rosa Damascena since 1948. The harvest season of the roses is from April to May. There are so many products ranging from rose water, liquor, candles, cosmetics, oils, and more! And guess what, there is a rose marmalade, chocolate and toothpaste! I got a free taste of the chocolate! Yum!
The Rose Factory has a bronze award from the Cyprus Tourism for the year 2019, under the category for Rural/Mountain tourism, ecotourism, wine tourism and agro tourism.
This will be one of your stops when visiting Agros Village and you can support the local community by purchasing their organic products – Venus Rose Cosmetics. You can also purchase their products from Select Shop in Nicosia Mall.
Traditional Meat Products
The village is also known for its tasty meat products that are smoked or salted; such as chiromeri, lountza, and bacon which are traditional Cypriot recipes made from minced pork, salt, and wine.
And also sausages! Yes, traditional Cypriot sausages. Pastourmas sausage is very famous in this village made from minced beef, garlic, several spices, and salt. It takes three days to make this and then left under the sun for several days. For you to taste Cypriot food, try them! Of course, we stop at the local store to take home some of these products.
The village also produces several agricultural products such as tomato, zucchini, potato, grapes, and pears. The local residents have a healthy way of life and are working on sustainability with their crops. They also have traditional sweets and marmalades.
Driving around the village is easy, as there are signboards to the direction of the points of interest, hotels and restaurants.
After a forty-five minute drive from Nicosia, we stop at a cafe bar, at the center of the village.
A statue dedicated to Nearchos Clerides, who is a prominent figure in Cyprus at the beginning of the 20th century for his contribution in the field of education and literature.
In 1917, he founded the “Pupils Association for the Dissemination of the Rosebush” and introduced the expansion of the cultivation of the Rose Damascena with the aim of producing rose water. And indeed, this has aided on the growth of the village economy.
Cyprus fourth President, Glafcos Clerides, his family is from this village too.
Where to Eat?
After visiting the Rose Factory and checking out the meat store, we are then ready for our lunch. There are several restaurants along the road. Then finally we settle in Seven Hills Taverna. We chose an outside seating at the roadside, opposite of the restaurant. Loving the weather which is eight degrees cooler from Nicosia and enjoying the green scenery. While waiting for the order, I walked a couple of meters further…
Just sit on that bench and enjoy that fantastic view. You know what, I can chill out here all day!
Food is really superb, our appetizer is calamari and the main dishes are fish trout and mixed grill. They are all freshly cooked, not typical preheated food that’s why they have awesome reviews!
As grey clouds start to form, we are ready to head home. Before that, let me show you around a little bit more.
Other Points of Interest
- Church of “Panagia Eleousa” – this is the same ground where the forty monks build the Monastery of Agros Megalos. It was demolished late 18th century by the residents so that the Ottoman empire cannot impose to levy taxes. The inhabitants rebuild the Church till 1909. Currently it can accommodate 1500 devotees.
- Timios Prodromos / Church of John the Baptist – located East of the village build by the initiative of the local community around 1860. The Church is 100 feet long and 25 feet wide with tile on the roof like a Basilica. Because of its architectural design with its length, it is unique throughout Cyprus.
- Frangolides Museum – near the Church of Panagia Eleousa, one of the most important museums of the island. The museum was founded in 2004 to honor Solomos Fragoulides (l902-1981), who was one of the greater representatives of the first generation of Cypriot artists and also considered a pioneer painter and hagiographer (a writer of the lives of saints).
- Agros Kato Mylos Trail – this is a two-hour nature trail that starts near Hotel Rodon in Agros, going through vineyards and rose bushes. This offers an excellent panoramic view of the village that continues into a forested area. This trail is good for adults with fair to good fitness levels.
- Lagoudera – Agros Nature Trail – this is a two hours and thirty minutes nature trail that starts at Lagoudera Village and ends in Agros Village. This route passes through vineyards and land with fruit trees such as apple, cherry, and pear trees. Please note that this a difficult route with a steep gradient.
Ready for an Adventure?!
Wait, here’s more!
Just you know, this rose village has something for adrenaline junkies. What a great way to explore this region in quadbikes! The safari offers several scenic trails to the mountains, forest, lakes, monasteries, vineyards and plantations. So buckle up and let’s drive!
The Agros Safari adventure is fully booked almost every week so if the idea is playing on your head now, here’s how you can reach them for booking and inquiries:
Watch out for more village tours in the coming weeks. Now, Cyprus is in post lockdown from coronavirus pandemic, we are glad to freely move around with caution. Visiting places is also a way of supporting local businesses as the economy is just waking up and international tourist support is still under the radar.
For more Cyprus villages, you can read more in my article about Troodos mountain.
Hello everyone thanks for the read, love to hear your thoughts about this article!
Do you love Cyprus villages? Any favorites by now?
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