There are many abandoned villages in Cyprus, some of which were abandoned during 1974 conflict and many abandoned due to natural reasons like landslides or earthquakes. You can find many such villages in the Pafos mountains. Mathikoloni is relatively closer to Limassol and is considered by many to one of the more beautiful ones to explore.
We had been to Mathikoloni many years ago. So, we decided to check out the place again 2 weeks back along with Harish and Anith. Actually the plan was to just stopover at Mathikoloni and drive through a mountain road to Akrounta near Yermasoyia dam.
To go to Mathikoloni, you have to take the Agios Athanasios exit on Jumbo/Linopetra roundabout. You cross the Agios Athanasios and climb towards Mathikoloni which is around 11kms away. Once you reach the village, take a right from the main road and go into the village. Keep going on this road and you will cross the new settlement and at the end of the road, you will see dirty signboard marked as “Akrounta – 5 km”. This road is pretty narrow and it is difficult to take a U-turn at any point. The road starts as being paved and it is paved for most of the distance. You drive down into the valley and there you have lot of photo opportunities with lot of greenery and mountains on both sides of the road.
Even Akshara (who has become a veteran of road trips now!) seemed to enjoy this drive down the narrow lanes. My mom, on the other hand, held on to the seat very tightly in the hope that the slope would lead to another road
After a while, the paved road gives way to earthern road which at points looks pretty bad. But, rest assured that this road is definitely navigable and you (whether you drive or not) will enjoy this short road trip. The road finally leads to Akrounta (Don’t turn towards Spitali) which is just a few kms north of Yermasoyia.
Yermasoyia Dam (or Germasoyia or Yermasogia) is one of the few reasons one could use to justify living in this beautiful island of Cyprus (and particularly Limassol). It is around 10 mins (lesser now because of the flyovers) from anywhere in Limassol and yet, it is so different. The moment you take the yermasoyia exit (the first one from Larnaca/Nicosia side), you leave the hustle-bustle of the city behind and enter the narrows streets of Yermasoyia village. Small streets running up the sides of the hills, orange farms in the valley below – you wouldn’t realise that the city is just a minute behind you.
There is a road on top of the dam which you can drive across. This will take you behind the dam.
Many people just visit the dam, stop on the road on top of it, click a few photos and then drive back. But, the best part is hidden behind the hills on the other side. The road across the dam climbs over the hill and goes down towards the village of Phinikara (Finikara). In Spring and particularly after a drizzle, this place comes alive with greenery and lots of yellow flowers.
Yermasoyia also looks great in rain, if you manage to cover yourself and still enjoy the view. Under the cover of mist, the far-away mountains and the valley present a pristine sight
There are also small walking trails near the parking place on the other side of the hill(dam). You cross over a small valley and then there is a hillock with a small hut on the top. It is a short climb to the top. Also, there is a small 15 minute trail circumnavigating this hillock.
Yermasoyia dam has overflown in the past and it becomes a major attraction when it does so. The overflowing water form a nice set of waterfalls on the side of the village and for the adventurous, it presents some interesting rock-hopping.
i went there last week and the water level is pretty compared to the emptiness of last year. Also, with the hint of rain in the air, it is a great place to visit now!
Kalavasos dam is on the outskirts of Kalavasos village, just a short drive from any of Limassol/Paphos/Nicosia. The most visible sign from the highway is the big tent called Kalavasos Tenta. This tent protects some archeological finds in that area. Last Sunday, we just had enough time before the Grand Carnical Parade to visit the kalavasos dam.
The drive to the dam from the highway was a small winding road overlooking a valley. The greenery was awesome. Looks like we are in for a beautiful spring this year. There was this house down in the valley with a farm and a stable with many horses. It looked so idyllic.
The dam as such was not a pretty sight with very less water. I remember that this dam had oveflown few years back. I don’t know whether we will ever have such a situation again.
Near the dam, an earthern road takes you to the remnants of an old mine.
On the way back, we stopped over at the village. We spent quite some time walking through the small village. We must have looked like a bunch of aliens walking around this calm and quiet village with cameras in our hands, taking photos of anything and everything! There was even an Archbishop Makarios III Avenue (more like a narrow street) in the village.
A little ahead of the village, you will see a small park opposite a tavern/kiosk. There is a stream behind this park, on top of which is the only rail bridge (the only one that i know of) in Cyprus. There you will find a small train (engine and carriages) which was used in the past to carry stuff out of the mines. When the stream has lot of water, the bridge with the train is a good photo-op!