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About Cyprus

Among Europeans, the mountain villages in Cyprus are the same favorite destination, as well as the coastal cities. Valuable Troodos has long been recognized by its lovers as an ideal place to sit in a hot summer evening, enjoying the wonderful natural landscape and the cool fresh mountain air.

The beneficial mountain climate and natural abundance

Alona villageFor those attracted to adventure and in search of finding a secret place away from the beaten paths, the introduction to the little-known region Pitsilia and one of the most interesting villages in the region, Alona will be very interesting. Pitsilia is a mountainous area to the east of Mount Olympus, which lies on the eastern slopes of the Troodos Mountains. Part of the district is located in the district of Limassol, and part belongs to the district of Nicosia.

The mountainous nature of Pitsilia is contributed to the fact that summer is dry and relatively cool here, and the region is popular with the locals and visitors to the island who want to escape the sweltering heat, but to satisfy their curiosity as travelers. Due to wet winters here, throughout the year one can observe an abundance of vegetation. Many years ago Pitsilia was covered by dense forests, but over time the cutting of trees and damage by the forests animals affected nature in a negative way. It should be noted that the climate of the region is ideal for growing a variety of fruit – we don’t know, what you will not find in Pitsilia: plums and quinces, apricots and apples, pears and cherries, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts, centuries-old olives, etc.

Well, we have arrived to our destination – the village of Alona, ​​located on the north side of the mountain peaks and sharing its boundaries with Paputsa (Papoutsa) and Madari (Madari) at 1200 meters above sea level. It has been known since the beginning of the reign of the Franks. Alona is one of the most beautiful villages in the area, with traditional stone houses and lush green gardens. The path that runs through the village gardens is full with hazelnut trees, cherry trees, almond and apple trees.

The population of the “aging” village

Alona villageThe local people in Alona and the neighboring villages in the district Pitsilia have traditionally been consisted of Christian Greek Cypriots. Turkish Cypriots did not settle in these areas in the period from 1572 to 1964, but many of them came here for holidays.

The name of the village most likely derived from the Great Plains area located below the village. This piece of land was called “Aloni” in a sign that in the old days threshing harvest with sheaves was held there.

Unfortunately, in the XX–XXI centuries the young and energetic people, who wanted to get an education and have a better life, left from the mountain villages to seek work in the cities. Because of this, the average age has increased significantly among the local residents. But, despite the departure of most of them, they have kept in touch with their families, do not forget their roots, and that is why during the holidays a lot of guests and relatives come here.

The path to the revival and a return to basics

Alona villageHere in village and in the district, a number of projects that aim to revive remote villages, to save the traditions and customs and pass them to the younger generation have recently been implemented. Now visitors can admire Alona’s restored old houses, while walking through the narrow picturesque streets. Here you can see the girls dressed in national dresses of previous years, who carry clay pitchers filled with water on their shoulders, as well as men in vrakes – wide trousers, who are leading loaded donkeys along the narrow village lanes.

Across Alona, stone houses with wooden balconies and tiled roofs are scattered, which are an example of the rustic architecture of Cyprus. Undoubtedly, Alona is of an architectural, historical and cultural interest and it is wise to move away from the main road in order to stroll around it.

There are two old churches preserved in the village, the main of which is the Church of St. George, which has a valuable icon of the Saint. The village also has a library and a bank. Moreover, the village is home to the well-known contemporary Cypriot artist Telemahos Cantos, who depicts mostly the surrounding mountain scenery on his canvases.

Village Festivals – a feast for all!

the Zivania festivalAnnually there are two festivals held in the village, which are undoubtedly worth a visit.

The first one held on the day of the Assumption on August 15th. On this day, you can visit the village and take part in the liturgy, as well as taste the national Cypriot cuisine and drinks and enjoy a holiday with the locals.

The second festival is the Zivania Festival, which aims to spread the culture of the production of the drink and the Troodos mountain traditions among visitors and residents on the island. It is usually  held in early November (in 2015 the festival will take place on November 8th).

The holiday is held to demonstrate the manufacturing process of zivania. In the center of Alona they organize various contests and competitions, stalls sell products from local producers, which can be tried here. You can also participate in music and dance programs.

The highlight of the festival becomes an add for the “zivania months” when the traditional Cypriot drink will actively be promoted in the market of Cyprus: this month at the airports and hotels of the island guests can enjoy complimentary zivania and traditional snacks (dried fruit, suzhukos, nuts, etc.).

So, Alona offers not only splendid magnificent panoramic views. The rich local flora and fauna attract herbalists, ornithologists, entomologists and all those interested in Cypriot nature to the village. For us, Alona was another little-known facet of the treasure called Cyprus!

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