A CITY FULL OF FEELINGS A CITY FULL OF FEELINGS







Under the auspices of:
evel limassol

Lofou

Location

Lofou village is located to the north-west of Limassol, just 26 km from the city. It is on an average altitude of 780 meters and surrounded by the neighboring communities of Pera Pedi to the north (around 6.5 km) and Agios Therapon to the southwest (about 4.5 km). Starting from the Troodos round about and moving north, after passing the community of Alassa, you will head northwest, following the signs to Lofou and Agios Therapon. The route from Limassol takes about half an hour by car.

History

The village was built during the time of the Arab invasions, when the inhabitants were forced to leave the coast for protection reasons. According to the historian, Leontios Machairas, Lofou was gifted around 1392 along with some other villages of the King of Cyprus James I (1382 - 1398) to his brother Janot de Lusignan, Lord of Beirut. According to a Venetian manuscript of the 15th century, cited by Mas Latrie (1861), the village was named Loffou.

The period of British rule, according to the investigator Porakos (2004), transforms Lofou into a large vine. The continuous plantations of vines changed the image of the village, especially when the vines bloomed on the beautifully built and carefully preserved structures. Around the end of the period of the British rule, however, the population of Lofou started to steadily decline to the benefit of Ypsonas. Today, Lofou counts 50 residents according to the census of 2011, and it has turned slowly and gradually into an agrotourism resort in Cyprus. The traditional products for which the village is famous for are wine, zivania and ppalouzes.

Square

The square is the space created at the opening of the built area, in the center of the village and is used as a parking and sometimes for social events.

Buildings

Architecture of the village: Lofou is built in the shape of an amphitheater and the roads follow the inclination of the hills. Most streets are paved with pebbles and the most marginal paths are dirt roads. A few years ago the streets were paved with plates, which has altered the traditional character of the village. The main street of the village is traditionally paved with pebbles. Today, most homes have been restored to their original form. Houses were exclusively built with stone, a middle wall was very common and the roofs were pitched and tiled. Since the stones are irregular, to create a flat surface on each layer, in order to receive the next one, small pebbles were laid on it. So, the pebbles surrounding with stones are presented as a decorative element for the wall. In front of the houses there are courtyards, directly linked to the road with wide gates, usually made of wood.

Wooden structures: The wooden structures are used on the roofs, the floor, the upper floors, the doors and the windows. The doors were made of large and thick boards, placed upright. In older homes the windows closed only with wooden shutters. Later on the glass was added, too.

The form of the houses: The first type of house in Lofou is a long building (“makrinari”), serving for all the needs of a family, which increased in space when extensions were added to the rectangular space. Inside these 2 rooms there was a fire place (tsiminia), while in the yard there was a traditional oven and a water tank (vourna). In the yard, there were various other utility rooms. All of the 2-storey houses used an external stone staircase.

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Museums

Olive mill museum: The olive mill in Lofou is property of the Church and it was built around the 20th century. The building is a stone built rectangular construction with 2 rooms. The means of producing olive oil are in one room, while the other is used as a warehouse. The mill’s basic facilities includes the stone mill. Against one of the walls the fireplace is found, where they would boil the water.

The mill has a stone built base with a carved, shallow vessel on top of it, the “skoutellin”. Inside this base there is a large, round stone following a circular move. There is a hole in the middle of the round stone, where a long pole, which was used to push the stone forward, in order to press the olives, crushing them in the vessel. The second installation was the press or “mangano”. This consists of 2 vertical poles with a metal base, where the crushed olives were pressed, so that the olive would end up in a curve on the floor.

The mill’s customers would have to pay the church for using the area, either with money or with olive. Usually, 1 out of 20 liters of oil would go to the mill’s owner, which is around 5% of the production. Also, the customer should provide the breakfast, lunch and dinner of the staff. The breakfast was no other than the bread they would damp in olive oil, along with some olives, lunch and dinner would usually be pulses or potatoes and they would eat while standing in the mill, or having a quick set up on a table. The Lofou mill was constructed in Limassol, as indicated by a label on it, reading “LEMESSOS”

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Fountains

The “Elitzi fountain” is about 1 km northeast of Lofou, in the middle of the distance to Silikou village, and it was constructed back in 1842. It took its name from the area it is located in. The cistem is decorated with beautiful, large openings, from which the Lofou residents would get water for their daily needs until 1953. After that year, the British built concrete fountains in various spots in the village.

Picturesque streets

The most picturesque streets of the village are the “Ionni Stavrianou” street, at the “Stavros” area in Lofou, as well as the central street of the village, paved with pebbles. Both streets exhibit the traditional, popular architecture of Lofou, showcasing the dominant building materials of the village, stone and wood.

Monuments / statues

Important historical personas emerged in the village, such as the hero of 1821, Ioannis Stavrianos, and the sergeant, Elias Kannaouros, who died in 1974. Both statues of Ioannis Stavrianos and Elias Kannaouros are located in the courtyard of the Primary School of Lofou.

Churches

Temple of the Annunciation of Mary: The village church is dedicated to the Annunciation of Mary. The building of the main hall began 1854 and was concluded in 1872. It is built on a small hill on the west side of Lofou, looking over the entire village. The length of it reaches 3,5 meters and its width is 13,3 meters.

For the building process all the residents of Lofou worked as volunteers, with lots of passion. The technicians were from out of the village. Interestingly enough, it has been witnessed that when a rich member of the community was asked to contribute by transporting and paying for some water for the building process, he preferred to use wine instead, since he had it in plenty and its price was quite low.

The interior of Panayia Chrisolofitissa: The church has a single aisle inside, where one can see some visible influences from the Gothic art, especially on the temple’s roof. The artistic wooden templum on the east side of the temple and the master throne are creations of Eftichios Leptourgos from Larnaca. The interior of the church is also attributed to the work of another great artist, Othon Giavopoulos, grandfather of the former President of the Republic of Cyprus, Giorgos Vasileiou, who painted all the murals in the church between 1910 and 1919. Inside the holy area there is also a picture of Mary dated back in the 11th century, while in the temple there are also several pictures dated in the 19th century and a picture of Mary, which Robert Gunnis dated back in the 16th century.

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The belfries: On the exterior of the church, there are 2 stone built belfries, built back in 1910. The eastern belfry was decorated with 8 lions and 4 angels. Due to an issue on the belfry, the lions had to be removed and 4 of them are embellishing the entrance of the church, while the other 2 of them are at the fountain in the yard. The artistic, threefold belfry hosts a rather large bell with a deep sound. In older times, when the bell would ring, people would hear it all the way to Lania village, Kivides and maybe even to Koilani. The bell on the single belfry was also used as a bell for the school.

The tradition around the construction of the church: Locals say that some shepherds used to live at Foinikas area (south of Lofou) in the “Chatziroussos cave” and they would see a light coming from across the cave. Curious enough, they decided to look around in the dense plantation and they found Mary’s picture. They moved the picture in their cave, but the morning after the picture was missing and it was again found on the spot where the light was shining. According to the legend, the shepherds cleaned up the area and they built a small house. They placed the picture inside the house, next to a candle. Later on, the church was built in that place.

Chapels: Lofou also has some chapels such as the ones dedicated to Agios Georgios, Profetes Elias, Agia Marina and the Holy Fathers. The chapel of Profetes Elias is located in the area where a picnic site also operates.

School

Lofou Primary School is built on the village’s highest point. It is a classic building, which has incorporated elements of the traditional architecture of the houses. The construction of the new school’s building began in 1917. Its implementation was delayed due to the World War 1 and the expenses of its implementation were covered by clerical funds. The building of the new school cost 800 pounds. The Girls’ School moved into the new building, which was first intended for the Boy’s School, in 1937, and thus, the Mixed School of Lofou was founded.

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Festivals, feasts, fairs

August 15th festival: The 4-day Festival during August attracts around 5000 visitors and has been awarded as a “Europe for Festivals – Festivals for Europe” festival in 2015 – 2016.

Ppalouzes festival: The annual festival by the Expats Association attracts around 2000 - 3000 visitors and treats everyone with fresh, warm ppalouzes (must cooked with flour) and traditional activities.

Easter games: On Easter Monday at the village square, traditional games are organized for children and adults to participate.

Green Monday: On Green Day at the Profetes Elias pic-nick area, a traditional feast takes place with fasting buffet music and dancing, kite-flying contests and games.

Nature trail

Lofou nature trail starts a few dozens of meters outside the village, heading to Silikou village, from the dirt road north to the village. It is around 1,5 km long and it follows a descending path towards Elitzi fountain, which provided the residents with water until 1842.

The currant along the trail has resulted to 1 small ecosystem with plenty of different kinds of the Cypriot flora and fauna, where high bushes and oak trees, as well as herbs are the dominant kinds of plantation.

Profetes Elias picnic area

Α well-preserved area with an enchanting view to the Kourris dam, the city of Limassol, the Akrotiri salt lake, as well as the roots of the villages west to Lofou, such as Kivides. It is an area with wooden benches, a playground for children and barbecue spots, around the chapel of Profetes Elias.

Contact information:
Phone: 25 470 020
Fax: 25 470 040
E-mail: [email protected]

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