Revival of Paphos Old Town

The sky was overcast and it had been threatening to rain, but being Cyprus it was warm even though slightly dull it was great to venture into Paphos with my friend Carolyn as we hadn’t seen each other for a few months….. So with umbrellas in hand we decided to have a wander round the old town to see the work that had been carried out over the past year and the changes that have been made.

I’m pleased to say that the work being undertaken is progressing well and it is hoped that it will bring regeneration to the old town where the once vibrant centre of Paphos had become desolate in places with shops and premises lying empty.  It is hoped the €60m worth of projects for Paphos, including the regeneration of the traditional shopping centre and Kennedy Square, the restoration of the municipal market, the upgrading and enhancement of the Markideio theatre, and connecting and enhancing the squares of October 28, Kosti Palama and Dionysios Solomos (around the town hall) will see the old town being revived and re-invigorated not only because Paphos is the European City of culture for 2017 but for the future of Paphos itself!!

From the photographs below you can see the streets have been pedestrianised with lovely paving and beautiful shrubs and trees have been planted.  Shoppers can now wander without any need to worry about traffic on the narrow streets.  Many street cafes have opened in addition to those restaurants that have been there for many years (near the market area)  Clothes boutiques have opened and some little shops open  selling local artist products.  Of course there are still shops selling bags and leather goods.  Fitflops can also be found here at a fraction of the cost of those at home.

They are once again looking to move the bus station from the harbour to the old town near the Markideio theatre where it originally was to bring tourists and locals once again back to the old town.

We couldn’t believe the changes in the area.  It looked amazing we could see that the developers/architects were trying to retain the traditional old world charm expected of the old town but also introducing the more modern cafe and boutique feel about the area too.

 

The little shops and cafes all looked very interesting and definitely worth a trip if you fancy getting away from the beach and out of the sun for a few hours……..

If you do fancy it you don’t need a car to get to the old town of Paphos just jump one of the local bus which is signed to the MARKET.  If you feel like walking then you can go straight up the road from the Kings Avenue Mall and you are there.  In the cooler months it may take about 15 minutes from the mall but allow more time in the hot summer months.

Of course every outing with your friend needs to start with a coffee before moving onto the shops and other attractions.

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Grafico Cafe

We chose this quaint little cafe “Grafico Cafe” to have a coffee in the new pedestrian area where we sat and caught up and watched the world go by as we enjoyed the ambience surrounding us.

Grafico Cafe in Paphos Old Town

Having ventured into a few clothes shops and did a little window shopping we came

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The Place

across an old traditional property housing a   shop called “The Place“.  From the outside we thought it was fabulous and the architecture was typically Cypriot so we had to go inside to find out more…..

 

Once inside we met one of the local artists who told us about the Place and how it offers the opportunity to visitors to get a hands-on experience of Cyprus culture and tradition.  She told us everything that we saw was made by local people.

“Everything here is traditional and handmade. People were disappointed to come to the market and see goods from China. This is why everything we have is natural and from small producers in Paphos villages. People want to see what they’re creating.”

I was very tempted to purchase a few of the items on sale here, from wine jugs to glass candle holders not to mention locally grown herbs too.

There are live daily demonstrations of traditional handicrafts, pottery, basket making, weaving, wood carving and wine tasting performed by wine experts as well as a variety of Cypriot handcrafted gifts, souvenirs and products to enjoy.  We were offered the opportunity to try wood burning and pottery designing (we declined on this occasion but most definitely will return and perhaps take an opportunity to try our hand at one of these crafts.   Who knows we may discover we have a hidden talent!!

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Wheat Harvesting in Cyprus

Woken by the sound of machinery clinking and clanking really loudly outside our villa we (Philip and I) couldn’t help but wonder what was going on.  Walking to the end of our road where the noise was coming from we found it to be farmers in the nearby field harvesting their crop. We watched the combine harvester go up and down the field cutting the crop and storing the grain.  So interesting when standing close to the action!!

Once they had completed the cutting of the crop they were happy to tell us what they were doing and let us take photographs of the combine harvester in action.  It was really interesting to learn what the crop was and what they did with it.  We picked some grain from the road that had been dropped and took a sample of the wheat before it had been harvested.  (see pictures below).

There are 2 parts to wheat –  (1) seeds at the top of each plant (known as the grain) and (2) the rest of the plant (the chaff).

We returned home very curious about the wheat harvest and decided to find out a bit more about it:-

  • The grain of the wheat can be ground into flour, if the raw wheat is broken into parts at the mill which is usually done the outer husk or bran can be used several ways
  • wheat is a major ingredient in such foods as bread, pastries, donuts, breakfast cereals amongst many other uses
  • Straw is a bi-product of wheat and cereal crop production.  Straw is used for bedding for animals and can be used also for animal food, but as it has low nutrient value and  would be used in addition to other animal fodder.  Straw is still used for mattresses in many parts of the world
  • The world trade in wheat is greater than for all other crops combined

As the combine harvester worked it separated the grain from the chaff which is left in the field to be dried and at a later stage/date baled.

There are three main types of bales that can be made,  small square bales, large square bales and large round bales, depending on the type of baler used.

Before modern-day machines were developed, agricultural workers had to harvest crops by carrying out a series of laborious operations one after another. First they had to cut down the plants with a long-handled cutting tool such as a scythe. Next, they had to separate the edible grain from the inedible chaff by beating the cut stalks—an operation known as threshing. Finally, they had to clean any remaining debris away from the seeds to make them suitable for use in a mill. All this took a lot of time and a lot of people.

The complete process these days is performed automatically and all that has to be done is simply drive the combine harvester through a field of crops and it cuts, threshes and cleans the grains all by itself using rotating blades, wheels, sieves, and elevators. The grain collects in a tank inside the combine harvester (which is periodically emptied into trucks/carts while the chaff spurts from a big exit pipe at the back and falls back down onto the field.

The inside “arm” of the combine harvester is like a cork screw which turns and forces the grain through it to load it onto the truck.  You can see from the pictures below how the grain starts to fall in a spiral effect.

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Aphrodite Greek Goddess of Love, Beauty, Pleasure and Procreation

It was the weekend and what could have been more interesting on this beautiful sunny day but to take a lovely drive to the Baths of Aphrodite and the beautiful coastline along the north of the island towards Argaka.

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Our route

We had friends visit and of course you can’t come to Cyprus without finding out about some of the Greek Gods especially Aphrodite the Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty who plays a very large part of Cyprus mythology.

 

 

 

 

 

There are 2 well-known locations to visit when following in the footsteps of Aphrodite:-

  1.  The birth place of Aphrodite and
  2. The Baths of Aphrodite

1. Aphrodite’s mythical birthplace ‘Petra tou Romiou’ is an interesting geological formation of huge rocks along one of the most beautiful coastlines on the island, located on the southwest coast of the Paphos district.  It is about 15 minutes drive from Paphos Airport and 45 minutes from Coral Bay.

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Birth Place of Aphrodite

According to the legend, the Ancient Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty – Aphrodite – was born of the sea-foam here.  Legend tells that she rose from the waves and was escorted on a shell to this particular beach.

 

The giant rock formations, which are seen at the same location are linked with another – more recent – legend which tells that the Byzantine hero Digenis Akritas heaved them there to keep the Saracens Arabs (7th-10th centuries) at bay.  The name of Petra tou Romiou (‘rock of the Greek’ in Greek) comes from the hero.

It is said that in certain weather conditions, the waves rise, break and form a column of water that dissolves into a pillar of foam. With imagination, this momentarily looks like an ephemeral, evanescent human shape. Other popular myths tell that swimming around the rock three times will bring various blessings, including eternal youth and beauty, good luck, fertility and true love.

2.  Our trip with our friends took us to the Baths of Aphrodite with its natural grotto and its botanical garden.  It can be found past the fishing harbour of Latchi and towards the tip of the Akamas Peninsular.

According to legend, after swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Bay, Aphrodite used to bathe in this pond, shaded by an old fig tree amidst lush greenery and surrounded by idyllic landscape with sweet-smelling wild flowers.  It was here that Aphrodite met her beloved Adonis for the first time.  Adonis was hunting in the Akamas forest when he stopped at the spring to quench his thirst.  He was struck by the sight of the naked goddess bathing in the crystal waters.   Aphrodite and Adonis were instantly bewitched by each other’s extraordinary beauty.

Continuing from the pool used by Aphrodite you can follow one of the nature trails, one of which takes you along the coast back towards the restaurant near the car park.

Back in the car again and we head back towards Latchi and then onto Polis.  Taking the coast road which runs along the north of the island to Kato Pygros we decided to go for lunch in a little coastal village called Argaka.  We stopped at a restaurant right on the sea front called Santa Barbara.  What more could you want to watch the world go by….. Amazing sea views, a cool drink and some lovely food

 

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