Cyprus’ Wine Festival
Thousands of visitors flock to the Wine Festival in Cyprus every last week of August till the first week of September in Limassol. This is to celebrate winemaking and in honor of the God of wine and vine, Dionysus! Oh, do you know that Cyprus’ wines are recognized internationally? In this article, I will take you to Cyprus Village Omodos, Discovering Wines, Folk Arts, and Handicrafts!
Just a quick note before we start, you may think that this is a drinking spree article but not as this time. As of this time the Wine Festival is canceled due to COVID 19. In this case, we will see each other by next year perhaps, and Stin Geia Sas! (Cheers, the Cypriot Way)
Known as one of the picturesque and touristy villages in Cyprus, it lies along the Troodos Mountains with an altitude of 820 meters and belongs to Limassol District. The village sits on the western side of Ha Potami river and surrounded by tall mountain peaks with Afamis as the tallest at an altitude of 1,1153 meters.
From Nicosia, it is about 80 kilometers which should take us about ninety minutes drive however we missed a turn and had a detour to the villages of Sava and Pera Pedi, also wine villages. A longer route yet happy to pass these villages.
History of Settlement
The village may have flourished at the end of the Byzantine Period and the beginnings of the Frank Dominion Period towards the 12th century. On the ancient map, the village names are Homodos, Homocios, and Omodos. Archaeological artifacts within and outside the village suggest possible settlement during the prehistoric period.
The name Omodos has three origins:
- Modos means carefully. Villagers from the Koupetra observes a light opposite of the mountain. They decided to find it out by going through thick and prickly bushes where the light is coming from. They tell one another “Me to modo sou” – take your time, act carefully.
- As the village is the starting point of many roads. The name may come from the Greek words” the adverb “omou” which means together and “odos”, meaning road.
- A feudal lord by the name of Homodeus lived in this area during the Frankish period, as stated in the documents.
Omodos’ Wine Route
Omodos Village is one of the largest wineries in Limassol. It is part of Wine Route – Krasochoria Lemesou, of twenty villages on the southern side of Troodos Mountain. Once you turn to the road leading to Omodos, the terrain changes to a more sedimentary and chalky rocks. The soil is good for growing wine grapes and complimented with a relatively cool climate during summer. Before reaching the village you will pass through grape plantations and several wineries. Mavro and Xynisteri are the two indigenous grape varieties that are cultivated in this part.
Wineries in Omodos
In the World Wine Industry, Cyprus wines rank 50th in accordance with production capacity. Yet winemaking in Cyprus started during the ancient times which belongs to the Old World of wine-producing countries as early as 2300 BC! Omodos wines are acclaimed during the ancient years having superior quality.
Here are some of the wineries in this village.
- Linos Winery – The regional wine of Omodos. This winery started in 1825 as Ktima H. Herodotou Linos Wines. By 1986, it operates as Linos Winery. Annual production is 200,000 choosing the best grapes in its vineyards.
- Phone+357 99 672 104
- AddressLeoforos Dimitri Liperty , Omodos , Limassol 4760 , Cyprus
Opens Mon-Fri 0800 – 1600. Website http://www.linoswinery.com/
- Olympus Winery – Under the umbrella of ETKO Ltd, the oldest wine producer in Cyprus since 1844. ETKO wines are exported in UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway, USA, Japan, Russia, Australia, Canada, and Taiwan. In 1992, ETKO purchased vineyards in Omodos and started Olympus Wineries producing grape varieties for Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
- Phone+357 25 573391
- Address31 Tsiflikoudia, 3045 Limassol
To make most of your Omodos trip, enjoy a visit to wineries and learn more about winemaking!
A Quaint Village
A vibrant plaza with coffee shops and local stores greets you at the starting point of the village. The path leads you to the historic monastery at the heart of Omodos and I’ll take you there shortly.
An assortment of handicraft items welcomes you from laces, embroideries, clothing, bags, accessories, dolls to name a few. Because of the women, the handicrafts in this village developed as they work alongside their husbands. Pathways are made of concrete pavements and the alleyways are narrow, some are too narrow that you can’t walk hand in hand or just one at a time. And don’t forget to keep your distance in this pandemic time! You will pass through cafes, tavernas, wine shops, museums, and beautiful traditional houses.
The traditional houses have roof tiles, balconies, wooden doors, and windows and are made of stones. They are decorated with plants and flowers in pots. Residents are conscious of the folklore art, presenting their homes like museums and showcasing items that embody the culture and history of the village such as red clay pots for storing wine.
This is one of the many reasons why Omodos is one of the quaint villages in Cyprus. In fact, it comes up on the list of the beautiful villages. To all doors and windows lovers, indulge and be ready for snapshots! Here is my Instagram post.
Points of Interest
1. Timio Stavro Monastery
Strolling from the plaza takes you straight to Timio Stavro Monastery or the Monastery of the Holy Cross. It has a cobblestone path, beautiful arches, and shapes like the Greek letter, Pi, Π, positioning on the north, west, and south directions.
There are three levels that you can freely explore each floor with museums, and from the corridors, you can admire the beautiful architecture and outdoor breathtaking views.
This the oldest and most historic monastery in Cyprus, the true pride and joy of the people of Omodos. The exact date of the construction of the monastery is unknown, it may be before the arrival of St. Helen in 327 AD and before the establishment of Omodos village.
In the ancient times, the residents of Koupetra village, which no longer exist today, observe a fire in the bushes for several nights. They scan the area and found no source of the fire. Until they decided to dig the ground and found a cave with a wooden cross. This is the same spot where the monastery stands today and over the years, it underwent renovation and expansion works.
Throughout Cyprus history with various occupations, the monastery stands today with numerous miracles. The monastery has invaluable relics recognized worldwide, such as the Great Cross with the Holy Rope, Wooden Cross, and the Skull of Apostle Philip.
Click here for further reading.
Opening Times: Daily 9:00 to 19:00 (April-September) and from 9:00 to 16:00 (October-March). No Entrance Fee.
The village of Omodos is a preservation of culture and heritage.
2.A Museums inside Timio Monastery
Ecclesiastical Treasury Museum – A collection of valuable and precious objects of the Orthodox. Located on the ground floor of the monastery just beside the church. The museum is sponsored by the foundation of Anastasios G. Leventhis.
Culture Museum – A blast from the past. How Cypriot traditional homes look during the olden times.
Lace Museum – This the center of preservation of the Omodos Lace – Pipilla, showcasing extraordinary laceworks as cultural and historical heritage.
Painting Gallery – Works from various Cypriot painters about everything in Omodos – landscapes, way of life, architecture, history., etc.
Struggle Museum – EOKA is the National Struggle of Liberation of Cyprus against the British Colonial Administration from April 1955 to February 1959. The exhibits are collected from the heroes’ families all across the island. The inhabitants of Omodos were always present in the struggle of Cyprus including World Wars.
2.B EOKA Hideout
Further down into the village, there is another museum of EOKA. As you can see that EOKA fighters are occupying in the basement of a house. The fireplace is the entry and exit point. To disguise, the fireplace is lit like in normal homes.
2.C Linos – The Grape Press
This the medieval grape press, linos, a symbol of traditional winemaking in Omodos. This is one of the Ancient Monuments in Cyprus and belongs to the Department of Antiquities.
Take a virtual tour here and make sure you have Adobe flash player 9/10.
3. Traditional Houses and Wine Shops
In the village, you can explore what’s inside traditional houses and if you miss visiting wineries, you can learn more about winemaking and enjoy tasting!
4. Village Market
Lastly, before you head home, or to your accommodation, stop by at the village market for their traditional produces. They are known for the sweet-tasting nuts, “soutzoukos” (sticky almonds), and “arkatena koulourka” (crunchy rusks with yeasts).
For more details and information about the village, click this link Omodos Village Portal.
Pipilla, The Omodos Lace
The lacework in Omodos, Pipilla, belief to originate during the Byzantine times. It comes from the Turkish word, bir-bir which means one after the other.
Just like the lefkarita laces in Lefkara Village, the work is spearheaded by the women with patterns from their minds. The craft is more intricate referring to “knot in the needle” or “knot near each other”.
Similar designs of Pipilla laces can be found in other parts of the Mediterranean, in the islands of Kos, Crete, Rhodes, Constatinople and Smirne.
Further Reading: Cyprus’ Lacework, Embroidery and Crochet
Omodos can easily explored with a car. In the event of visiting wineries with steep roads, a car is manageable.
Going around the village will be by foot, just make sure you have comfortable footwear.
Also there are no entrance fees when you walk in these museums!
Where to Eat?
As much as we want to enjoy the food and ambiance in Omodos, our timing was not favorable due to the heat. The mid-morning of August is just too warm and we were kinda worn out after exploring the village. Hence, our best bet is to continue our journey to the mountain of Troodos and stop for lunch at Kakopetria Village, which is cooler.
Don’t worry I will not disappoint you for the time being. Here’s where you can eat as per our friendly travel partner, Tripadvisor.Newly Launched & In-Stock: Espresso Capsules
My trip in Omodos
To sum up, visiting Cyprus villages is indeed a cultural trip! What I know is that Omodos is famous for its wines, and they too produce the Zivania, Cyprus’ very own alcoholic drink. As we all know wines and other drinks are part of a country’s diet. A meal with a good drink just completes the puzzle of the whole dining experience. When you get the chance to enjoy a taste of Cyprus cuisine have a glass of their own wine produce.
Moreover, I also learned that Omodos have their own laces with a long history. Research and preservation is well commended to all stakeholders in this project.
For the most part of this trip, it is like a blast from the past. Starting from Timio Stavro Monastery, a historical church, having museums filled with memorabilia that tells a story. All the handicrafts are a story of the village’s creativity. I allow my eyes to wander all the artistic elements in every house, wall, corner, and just about everything that surrounds.
While still in COVID 19 pandemic, as visitors we should pay attention to guidelines and be extra cautious as we move around.
Two things I need to do when I go back is to visit a winery and learn about the “secrets in winemaking”! And secondly is wine tasting! Who’s coming with me?!
Finally, here we are at the end of the article Cyprus Village Omodos Discovering Wines, Folk Arts, and Handicrafts. Thanks for exploring with me!
How do you find Omodos Village?
From your travels, have you seen a similar village like this?