“Enchanting natural landscapes guard secret, untold ancient stories and traditions that capture the imagination. “
Emerging serenely from the stunning blue waters of the eastern Mediterranean sea, Cyprus is a mysterious and magical island, blessed with natural beauty and shrouded in rich and intriguing history. The enchanting natural landscapes guard secret, untold ancient stories and traditions that capture the imagination.
The beauty of Cyprus nature is captivating and so diverse, it beckons to be discovered. The Island’s heartland is an idyllic destination with enchanting landscapes, valleys, rivers, caves, nature trails leading to dreamy waterfalls and many more spectacular natural monuments. In between rugged mountain peaks and the shimmering coast, there is a dreamscape of rolling hills, covered with vineyards, olive groves and endemic wild flowers and shrubs, that color and fragrance the scenery.
A complex geological process that took place more than 90 million years ago let to the creation of the Cyprus Island. The collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates that triggered the rise of the island from the bottom of the sea. The Troodos Mountain range is part of the Earth’s ophiolithic crust, which can be found at the depths of the seas and can be observed above the water only is very few places on Earth, one of them being the Troodos Mountain Range. If you want to experience the unique landscapes of Troodos “rock” yourselves out by spending some time at the Troodos Geopark Visitor Center, a beautifully restored building that once housed the school for the children of the miners working at the nearby Amiantos (Asbestos) mine. With an array of interactive lessons and demonstrations, its exhibits of rocks and artefacts from the Asbestos and Chromite mines of Cyprus as well as its amazing geological garden, the Troodos Geopark Visitor Center will open up a window into the magical world of rocks.
What no magic in rocks? Oh yes there is!!! Legend has it that on the highest peak of Troodos there was a huge rock that could barely be moved by four strong men. This rock, once moved, had the strange attribute of bringing rain!! So every time Cyprus experienced a period of doughtiness, the villagers led by chanting priests went up the mountain and moved the rock. The result was imminent and rain came pouring down on them. The legend says that the rock disappeared but you can always try to test it!! If it doesn’t work you can always try another activity like climbing massive rocks and crags: the climbing experts of Cyprus are here to offer you a lifetime experience.
Today, Troodos National Forest Park is one of the most important natural areas of Cyprus, reaching 1952m at its highest peak – Olympus, from where one can enjoy 360° astonishing panoramic views. Most of the Troodos area is clad in dense forests, with a variety of plants and trees of a great ecological and aesthetic value, such as the Calabrian Pine (Pinus brutia), the Golden Oak (Quercus alnifolia), the Black Pine (Pinus nigra) and the Troodos Juniper Tree (Juniperus foeditissima). The pine trees might have different names but they share a common ancestry. It all started with Pytis, a beautiful forest nymph that shared a passionate love with Panas the god of the woods. Panas promised Pytis he would always protect her, but as in all great love affairs, he did not make good on his promise. Voreas the god of the north wind also fell in love with Pytis and tried to seduce her. When she denied his love he got very angry and with a gust of wind he blew her over a cliff. When Panas got to her she was badly wounded and dying, so he asked Mother Earth to pity her. Mother Earth heard his pleas and transformed her into a pine tree. So every time you see a pine tree just remember the sad story of Pytis and pay your respects.
The Troodos i-life project website offers you all sorts of information on the Troodos National Forest like: camping and picnic sites, nature trails, cycling routes, accommodation, restaurants, museums, churches, waterfalls, environmental centers and many more. Do you feel like playing? Just download the treasure hunt app on your mobile phone and off you go!! It includes three treasure hunt games, each of which corresponds to a different thematic section: Environmental Route, Cultural Heritage Route and Platania Picnic Site. The first two thematic sections are for adults and the third section for children aged 10 – 15. During the game, the players will have the opportunity to familiarize with the natural areas and infrastructures in the area and to acquire knowledge on environmental issues and the cultural heritage of the area.