A Day Trip to Lefkara
The traditional customs of the local area come alive through folklore dances, songs and plays
In the unlikely event that you are struggling to find things to do in Cyprus, consider taking a day trip to the village of Lefkara. It sits on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains at an altitude of about 600 metres and, with its red-tiled roofs and ochre walls of local stone set against the backdrop of the hazy blue peaks, is incredibly scenic.
The healthy climate of Lefkara, the hospitality of its people, the tradition of the embroidery craft and the unspoilt Cypriot naturalness and simplicity, are some of the many reasons why thousands of people from around the world come to visit, and it is undoubtedly one of the top attractions in Cyprus.
The soil around Lefkara is mostly whitish limestone – hence the village’s name, from Lefka Ori, “white mountains.” This soil is not at all fertile, and so commerce rather than farming has always been the only means of survival for the villagers. The narrow streets are full of workshops of busy silver-smiths. The women sit in groups on their doorsteps, chatting as they make the beautiful Lefkaritika lacework. The whole village represents a lively museum where visitors can feel and experience the past in every corner of the village.
Last September the ‘Lefkaritika’ lacework joined the Argentinean Tango and France’s Aubusson tapestry on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list - a vital step in ensuring its survival for generations to come.
Lefkara was the favourite summer resort of the Venetian ladies and the women of Lefkara profited from these visits. It is said that Leonardo Da Vinci bought an embroidered cloth in Lefkara for the altar of the Cathedral in Milan; he visited the village in 1481.
“The Holy Cross”, a church dating back to the 14th Century, is located in the heart of the village. Characteristic of the building is the wood-carved shrine, made in 1760. According to tradition, the big silver cross bearing a piece of the sacred wood is kept in the unseen crypt, located in the shrine.
The hotels of Lefkara and the traditional houses in the centre of the village offer visitors a sense of tranquility and relaxation and the architectural style is kept traditional. The village’s restaurants are always open and ready to serve the visitors a variety of excellent dishes, such as the lefkaritiko 'tava' (the traditional dish of the village).
Many cultural events take place in the small municipality of Lefkara all year round. The most important event is the “Annual Festival of Lefkara” which is organised every year in August. Famous Cypriot artists perform, offering unforgettable evenings to visitors and traditional customs of the local area come alive through folklore dances, songs and plays.
Furthermore, with its picturesque surroundings, Lefkara is a great place to hold your wedding.
Fishing can also be enjoyed by the any Lefkara visitor as two of the biggest dams of Cyprus are located a very short distance from the village.
With so many things to see and do it’s definitely worth taking some extra time to explore this captivating region and get to know its people.