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Lania

* NOTE: All the tributes of All About Limassol (as the Official Guide of Limassol) aim to ONLY highlight the special aspects of this wonderful city, so that everyone can be aware of the exceptional options they offer. Under no circumstances do they have any promotional or nominal value, and they do not serve the interests of Companies, Municipalities, Organizations or Individuals.

Lania is a village in the mountains of Limassol. Though it may be small, it has made its mark, both due to its long history spanning many centuries and the particular beauty of its picturesque alleys and houses. It is situated at an altitude of 575 meters, just 30 minutes from the city, and is surrounded by vineyards and wild vegetation.

The oak tree is the emblem of the village, in honor of both the perennial oak tree that was once used as a pit stop for travellers between Limassol and Troodos, and the ancient oak tree that survives in the village to this day, as a monument of natural beauty. In fact, according to some, the name ‘Lania’ comes from the word ‘valanidia,’ which is the colloquial term for oak tree.

Name

The name of the village is now a matter of debate, as many people prefer to spell it one way in Greek, despite official government documents and road signs spelling it a different way. Theere are 3 versions of the story of its origin, but none seems to be more accurate than the other.

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1. One version refers to Lana, daughter of Greek god Dionysus. The area is well-known for its vineyards and wine since ancient times and there are has been mention of an area called ‘Dionysos’.

2. Another version, which relates the origin of the name to the acorns which fall from the oak tree (‘valanidia’ in Greek), as this type of tree is frequently found in the area. The village may have taken its name from this tree, therefore, and so may have the area of ‘Valanas,’ and the homonymous church in the village, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

3. A third version suggests that the bird Lanius may be the origin of the village’s name. The female of this kind of bird is called ‘Lania’ in Greek.

The ‘Lanitis’ family name, well-known in Cyprus largely due to the Lanitis family business, is name that literally means ‘someone from the village of Lania.’ 

History

The village was likely first inhabited around 1600 BC as a settlement that served the transportation of copper from the Troodos mines. Vessels and other objects were often found in various areas in the village.

Following the attacks on the island from the Venetian era onwards, residents were forced to move for their safety.

The original settlement of Lania was abandoned and the residents half a century later, in the mid-17th century, and planted vineyards and built a new, prosperous community in the area where the village is still located today.

Alleys and courtyards of Lania

Walking around Lania, one will find picturesque, pebbled alleys, colourful, wooden doors and flowering pots everywhere. In addition, there are also dozens of photos of daily life in the village dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, depicting the historical course and identity of the village.

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The oak tree

The perennial oak: At a small distance from the village, close to the chapel of Agios Georgios, there is a perennial oak tree, which is a unique and a protected natural monument. The oak tree is 800 years old, with a diameter of 8.5 meters and a height of 26 meters. Its dense branches and leaves, the large cavity in its trunk and the intricate shapes formed by its branches, make it particularly impressive. Its awe-inspiring size, combined with the serenity of its solitary location are among the reasons you should pay a visit.

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The royal oak: It has been a landmark and a pit stop (literally and figuratively) for the Limassol mountain area. Located approximately halfway between Limassol and Troodos, this giant tree had for decades offered its leafy shade as a rest stop for travellers making this route. Its thick trunk and branches, which spread across a wide circumference, were just the thing to host a refreshment stand and coffee shop. According to tradition, the name ‘Royal Oak’ was in reference to King Farouk of Egypt.

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Museums

Lania village has museum areas that showcase elements of its history and tradition.

Traditional home: A few steps from the village church, there is a 2-storey house, with a large courtyard, which has been restored, furnished and equipped with items used in the everyday life of a household in the previous centuries.

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Olive press: As an agricultural village, Lania had its own olive press, where the farmers would bring the produce from their olive trees in order to extract their oil for the year. The large size of the building, with its 3 arches, is a sign of the large population of the village.

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Winery: ‘Linos’, the old winery, is situated close to the center of the village. There, visitors can peruse the enormous jars that were used to stored wine, as well as the large grape press.

Shoemaker: A well-preserved workshop, featuring all the tools of a traditional shoemaker, stands as a tribute to the old craftsmen of the village.

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Galleries

The village has attracted a number of artists from Cyprus and abroad, and for decades has been home to galleries and workshops, many of which are also open to the public. 

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Churches

Lania was once home to many feudal monasteries, including Valanas, Agia Marina, and Katalimmata. The temples that stand there today correspond to these monasteries.

The Church of the Assumption: This church is located in the center of the village, and was estimated to have been built after 1650, when the residents who had fled the village returned. The ornate altarpiece bears the date 1676.

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Chapel of Saint George: One of the oldest chapels in the village, the location of which signifies residents’ long-term presence in the area. 

Chapel of Saint Marina: One of the more recent chapels in Lania, it is situated among the vineyards which once made up one of the area’s fiefs.

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Virgin of Valanas Chapel (old): Situated in a location with panoramic views of Lania, this chapel was build following the discovery of an icon of the Virgin within it. The hatch where the icon was found is still visible within the small temple.

Virgin of Valanas Chapel (new): The new Valanas chapel is impressively larger, and welcomes visitors of the picnic site which is located between the old and new chapel. It operates only on festive occasions.

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Picnic site

The Panagia Valana picnic site is nestled beneath the shade of the pine trees, awaiting visitors who opt for this alternative location for their picnic. The space offers approximately 10 wooden benches that can accommodate friends and family. There are also benches specifically marked for people with mobility issues, which can easily be reached by a mobility vehicle or wheelchair.

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Park and play area

A few meters from the Olive Press, the old school of Lania has been restored and turned into a Cultural Center, with a modern playground. A small, peaceful park is situated a few steps away, built around the stream that crosses through the village. The park is the perfect destination for short strolls, a refreshing stop in the summer, and also makes a great backdrop for wedding photographs. 

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Fountains

The village boasts an abundance of water, which helps keep the surroundings lush year-round. The fountain at the entrance of the village and the one at the stream near the large plane tree are evidence of this.

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Food - Drink

Visitors to Lania can choose from a wide selection of warm and welcoming taverns to enjoy a meal or a drink. At the entrance of the village one will find Lania Tavern (25 432398), Platanos (Plane tree) Tavern (25 434273) and Karydia (Walnut tree) Tavern (99 565976). The village coffee shop is located near the church, and it offers coffee, juices and traditional treats. 

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Accommodation

Though there may not be an abundance of accommodation options in the village, the available housing is meticulously beautiful. In the center of the village, one will find Corner Cottage, while a little bit further down there is also the option of  Lania Royal Oak Villa (99 469870) and Troodos View (99 761004).

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