The quintessential Cypriot traditional village of Omodos is only 40km or half an hour from the Londa Hotel and well worth the trip if just to taste the wine and walk through the historic cobbled streets.
Even the drive up the mountains is a treat but once in the huge piazza of Omodos, the real nature of a Cypriot village is revealed. A beautiful, serene square with whitewashed stone houses, mulberry trees, tavernas, souvenir shops, and, of course, the traditional coffeehouses (Kafeneion).
At the far end is the imposing Timios Stavros Monastery, alternatively known in Omodos culture as the Monastery of the Holy and Life-giving Cross. Founded before St. Helen‘s arrival in Cyprus in 327 AD, the actual building has undergone huge renovation across the centuries. Monastery ‘must-sees’ include the original cross found in the cave on which the Monastery was built, the Holy Rope that bound Jesus to the crucifix, the 1817 carved golden screen, and the skull of the Apostle Philip. Grab a guidebook to find out all the mysteries, miracles and remains associated with this fabulous Monastery.
Meet the people
If ecclesiastical history is not quite your thing and you would like to get to know the real secrets of Omodos then chatting to the people who sit out in their front gardens can be informative and fun. The ladies who crochet their lace have many tales to tell, and the men who farm the fields and make the wine are a font of stories. And whilst there are about half a dozen official museums featuring everything from lace to icons to the history of the 1950s EOKA struggle, some private houses are also open for you to step back in time – to a time of basement liquor stills, goats and sheep in the house, farming done by hand, huge earthenware pots full of wine and oil, and the occupation of the people under the Ottomans and British – these are real museums of life and definitely worth visiting.
Wining and dining
Yes there are taverns and there are cafes, all bursting with local produce and traditional Cypriot dishes, but one of the pleasures of Omodos is being able to sample home-grown and home-made delicacies. Just walk through the streets and soon someone will invite you to taste their glyko fruit sweets or their local Zivania liquor or their grandmother’s recipes of soutzoukos, palouze and koulourka. Then being in one of the most prominent wine making regions of Cyprus, you can try out the local specialities created with grapes such as Mavro, Maratheftiko, Xinesteri and the classic Cabernet Sauvignon. This really is an epicurean’s heaven and an experimenter’s delight!
There seems to be three originations of the name Omodos, but our personal favourite is the derivation of ‘modos’ meaning ‘take your time’ – great advice when it comes to visiting this fine village!
More information and directions to Omodos are found on the village website, http://www.omodos.org/english/index.shtm