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Agros (Cyprus)

Pine branch © Troodos

On the slopes of Mount Troodos, in the heart of Pitsilia region centrally located in Cyprus, Agros offers an authentic, traditional travel experience. Its close proximity to all cities and the international airports of Larnaca and Pafos gives easy access by car and bus.

Agros is an ideal year-round rural destination to visit not only for its great countryside, but also for its local traditions and its cultural and religious sites. Named after a monastery from the 11th century, Agros was founded at the end of the 18th century and developed its famous rosewater industry with the introduction of the Mesopotamian Rosa Damascena in the early 20th century. Agros therefore offers its visitors unique opportunities to participate in celebrations of local cultural heritage and nature’s beauty, like the rose festival in May.

The region east of Mount Olympos, known as Pitsilia, consists of 40 villages including Agros. Picturesque valleys are criss-crossed with vineyards and almond, hazelnut, walnut and other fruit trees. Pitsilia is known as the orchard of Cyprus. A good time to visit is in the spring, when the entire valley is in flower.

Agros village

Agros village is situated in the heart of the Pitsilia region in a beautiful valley, where wild roses grow in the hills. It is home to many historical and cultural sites and to special walking and hiking paths for those who love nature and enjoy discovering flora and fauna.

Its beautifully landscaped vineyards, almond trees, walnut trees, fruit orchards and perennial crystal clear water springs have earned Agros a very precious reputation as one of the island’s national treasures.

Nature trails

Through the Agros region there are three nature trails, ideal for taking in this idyllic setting. A walk through Agros village reveals important aspects of the tradition, history and culture of the region.

One of the most important museums of the island is the Frangoulidis museum. The folk art museum housed in a restored traditional building carries a selection of local arts and crafts. Its most interesting exhibits include a traditional olive mill.

Agros churches

Christianity is interwoven into Cypriot history and the village is also home to a fascinating 19th century monastery. The church of Panagia Eleousa erected on the ruins of the Agros monastery is an impressive piece of Byzantine architecture with a massive dome. The church also housed the icon of Panagia (Virgin Mary the Merciful) until 1990 when it was put in a nearby chapel.

The church of Timios Prodromos (John the Baptist) is a 19th century basilica monument in eastern Agros.

Agros wineries

Agros is situated on the path of a wine route through pine trees and grapevines which grow freely on the slopes of the mountain. The route includes two wineries: Vasilikon winery Kyperounta, and Tsiakkas winery Pelendri.

Cultivating and harvesting the rose

Lemesos Apollo temple © Troodos

During the month of May, rose-growers pick around half a million rose buds during the early hours of morning while the leaves are still damp with morning dew. These flowers fill the whole region with a sensational fragrance. Villagers at Agros and the surrounding communities use the rose extract to produce rose oil, rosewater, liqueur and brandy. Rosewater also has many uses in Cypriot cuisine.

Various village workshops provide an array of products for sampling and purchase. The Agros traditional rosewater workshop provides products such as liqueur, brandy, sweets and perfumery all based on rosewater and rose oil.

Cypriot cuisine

Agros restaurants and taverns preserve and promote traditional Cypriot cuisine. Gastronomic choices include a wide selection of Cyprus famed mezze and specialties such as halloumi (white cheese with herbs), traditional sweets like soutzioukos (grape juice dipping with nuts), machalepi (rice starch with rosewater syrup), fruit preserves, salted and dry salted delicacies, well known pork products like pastourmas, spicy sausages and smoked products such as hiromeri (smoked ham), lountza (smoked fillet of pork) and bacon.

The rose festival

Roses have been an integral part in the Judaeo-Christian and Muslim traditions as a symbol of purity, devotion and love. Rose lovers will thoroughly enjoy a visit to Agros during May for the annual week-long rose festival, at the peak of rose blossom. The festival is full of activities, exhibitions and demonstrations, celebrating nature’s beauty and local traditions.

Activities include handpicking roses in the fields, amid nature’s fragrances, joyous colours and sounds; attending the rosewater-making process to learn about the benefits of the current application of rose products; participating in festivities to learn about the cultural symbolism of roses and their products that go back in time; and live performances and shows put on by the local theatre company and dance troupe. Along the festival grounds, local producers and the Agros women’s association offer Cypriot delicacies made with local recipes.

The cultivation of Rosa Damascena and the production of rose by-products, including fragrances, rose brandy, rose liqueur and local recipes for bakery products are also at the heart of seminars and tours. Youth and cultural organisations hold poetry and theatre performances on the theme of the rose and the village of Agros, while folk groups dance to the sounds of local traditional music.

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Last update: 01/07/2011 | Top