This is one of the many places unheard of till I visited Cyprus and hang out with the locals. When you search Cyprus it leads you to – Rock of Aphrodite, Nicosia, Larnaka, Limassol, Agia Napa, Protaras, Paralimni, and Pafos. And still, many of you may not be familiar with these places.
So let me take you to an off the beaten path excursion.
Fikardou is one of the oldest villages, believed to exist around 700 AD and deserted between the 17-18th century. Astyfilia (αστυφιλία) means rural exodus or deruralization; is the reason why people left the village, in search of better opportunities. There are a number of villages in Cyprus that are uninhabited or owners only return during holidays.
Everything you see today is exactly what it was. Nothing has been changed. Entering the village will lead you to cobblestones walkway, the houses are made of stones – a Medieval Architecture.
It has a vibe of serenity as I stroll along. Only a handful of residents live today and there is not much tourist traffic. At one point, I sat on the cobblestones step and I imagine myself living during this period….daydreaming.
Oh, so going back…
Why is this called a villain’s village? Fikardou, evolved from Greek word φυγά άνδρον which means den of fugitives.
According to legend, this region was controlled by 2 clans: the Kourries for the east mountainside and Braves for the west mountainside. By 700 AD many prisoners from Cyzicus Propontis (Greek mythology: King Cyzicus ruler of Dolionians; a tribe that inhabited the shores of Propontis); were repatriated and joined forces with the fugitives in this region. These fugitives, who were recruited by these clans; formed a group to avoid oppression and made a sword as a tool for survival in the mountains. During this era, the region was shaken with anti-pagan laws and Arab invasions.
In 1978, this village was declared as Ancient monument and in 1987, it won the Europa Nostra Award/European Heritage Awards.
Europa Nostra is a leading citizen’s movement to protect and celebrate Europe’s cultural and natural heritage.
After the tour, you can relax with a kafe or dine at taverna Yiannakos. Its the only restaurant in this village located at the entrance. They offer traditional Cypriot food, prepared just like the olden times. Roast lamb, cooked on a stone oven is just the perfect meal on a winter day. I am amused by hanging figs from the ceiling and tempted to ask if anyone got hit by a falling fig. LOL! The restaurant has free wifi, so you can post your at the moment photo and #medievalperiod.
This village is also a location shoot for a Cypriot TV show.
Located 40 km southwest of Nicosia, about an hour’s drive. It lies in the countryside of Pitsilia, 900 meters elevated. From the mountain of Trodoos, it is on the southeastern slope.
Here are other points of interest that you can visit:
1. Lazania Village – a destination for nature trails or hiking.
2. Machairas National Forest
Machairas National Park is a home of hundreds of plant species and various animal species – mammals and reptiles.
It has 3 picnic areas with grilling facilities and playgrounds. This is a popular picnic spot, as Orthodox celebrates the feast of Virgin Mary every 15th August, known as Dormition of Theotokos or The Falling Asleep of the Virgin. Families and friends look forward to this major holiday every summer and get together.
And for those who love nature trails, there are 5 trails of about 19 km route. One trail is dedicated to those in wheelchairs and there are bicycle tracks too! For more information, check here.
There’s a smell of freshness as I walk through the forest. Along the way, I find some eucalyptus and wild mushroom. Then I sit on the picnic area listening to the sounds of nature – the wind touching the branches and leaves, birds chirping, and all sorts of sounds coming from different directions in harmony. It is very calming, another way to pass the time and let your thoughts wander to where you want to be or just be still.
There are so many things you can do here, whether you want something laid back or ready for an adventure!
3. Machairas Monastery
This orthodox monastery is dedicated to Mother Mary of Machairas. Inside is just like most of the monastery, decorated with religious icons and chandeliers. I lighted a candle and said prayers. Cameras and phones are not allowed inside.
The monastery has a shop offering organic products, religious items, and books. I bought an organic green tea, honey, and eucalyptus ointment. There are about 25 monks running this place.
According to legend, a hermit stole 70 icons painted by Apostle Luke from Asia Minor to Cyprus. One of the icon is the Virgin Mary which was hidden into the caves. Then 2 hermits found the icon and in order to retrieve it, they have to machete the growing plants into the cave. Hence the name came from the Greek word knife μαχαίρι (Makhaira).
How we got here?
Drove a car from Nicosia, itinerary as follows:
Nicosia to Machairas National Park = about 1 hr and 15 mins
Machairas National Park to Machairas Monastery = less than 5 mins
From Monastery to Lazania = 10 mins
From Lazania Village to Fikardo Village = 15 mins.
As for directions they can easily be found on the maps.
No entrance fees.
Pet-friendly areas too.
If the above doesn’t work for you, here are some suggestions:
As of the moment, there is no direct bus service route to Fikardou. OSEL buses can provide assisting route through service calls. Please call (+357) 22335115 or 7777 7755.
Contact your local travel agency, for sure they have tour partners here and provide you with the itinerary above.
Or you can tap yourself a private tour office or Cypriot local guide here. Approx rates as follow:
Up to 3 persons 140 USD
Between 4-7 persons 280 USD.
General Inclusions: 1-day car service (7 hours), guide and light snacks.
Hope these help and ping me if you have questions.
Ας πάμε στην Κύπρο . Let’s go to Cyprus!