Mahairas – Lazanias and Fikardou trail: Saturday 28 March

Our excursion of Saturday 28 March 2015 takes us to a picturesque trail full of thrills, involving mountain tops, as well as a river bed. The area is North West of Mahairas monastery, at an altitude about 900 m, and our itinerary includes two small, beautiful villages, Fikardou and Lazanias, reminiscent of past decades.

The walk will take close to 4 hours and is rated 3 (difficult), with several demanding downhill and uphill sections. We set off at Fikardou village, climb up to an adjacent mountain top, then down the other side, to the neighbouring village of Lazanias; from there we continue our descent, all the way down to the Pedieos river bed; finally, we climb up to the monastery of Mahairas. After a break, we follow the same path back to Fikardou. The total distance is 8 km. The walk covers an area rich in vegetation and also offers several beautiful scenic views.

The walk starts at 11:15 am. Xenophon is leading this walk, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call 97613720.

At the end of the walk we shall sit down for a meal in a taverna in Fikardou.

You have the choice of meeting the group at the walk start, if you are very familiar with the place, or meet at the designated meeting point in Nicosia. In either case, you need to carry copy of this set of instructions. Meeting in Nicosia offers two important advantages: we drive in full cars, leaving some cars behind; thus, we save in fuel and enjoy the trip in good company. The meeting point in Nicosia is the very large church named tis Theou Sophias (also referred to as Agia Sophia) in Strovolos, which offers ample parking space on its side street. The car trip starts at 10:15 am. Please ensure you observe start times, for the benefit of the group.

How to get to the walk start:

From Nicosia get to the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital. At the traffic lights where you have the Cineplex on your left hand side and Apolloneion Hospital on your right hand side, zero your odometer and continue straight ahead (on the principal road towards Troodos). At the 0.5 km reading you come to traffic lights, go straight. At the 3.0 km reading you leave the main road, taking the side road on your left, named E903 and signposted to Palekhori.  At the 3.3 km reading you get to a roundabout; take the first exit to the left, signposted to Palekhori. Drive along this main road. At the 17.2 km reading ignore the left turn signposted to Fikardou (a brown sign). Continue straight. At the 22.2 km reading you drive past an army camp (named Tasos Markou) on your right. At the 23.5 km turn left (signposted to Kalo Chorio and Farmakas). As you drive through the village of Kalo Chorio, at the 25.1 km turn right. Drive along this road and follow the (well-marked) signs for Fikardou. At the 32.5 km reading turn left. You drive through the village of Gourri. At the 33.5 km reading you arrive at a T-junction: turn left. At the 33.7 km reading take the left turn. Fikardou comes about 1.4 km after Gourri. As you reach Fikardou, on your left you see the church of Apostles Petros and Pavlos (St Peter and St Paul) at the 35.5 km reading. There is space for parking. Park your car. We meet here.

How to get to the walk start: (here is an alternative route)

From Nicosia get to the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital. At the traffic lights where you have the Cineplex on your left hand side and Apolloneion Hospital on your right hand side, zero your odometer and continue straight ahead (on the principal road towards Troodos). At the 0.5 km reading you come to traffic lights, go straight. At the 3.0 km reading you leave the main road, taking the side road on your left, named E903 and signposted to Palekhori.  At the 3.3 km reading you get to a roundabout; take the first exit to the left, signposted to Palekhori. Drive along this main road. At the 17.2 km reading take the left turn signposted to Fikardou (a brown sign). You drive through the village of Arediou. At the 21.2 km reading take the left turn signposted to Fikardou. The road continues ascending, with lots of bends. At the 29.9 km reading you reach the village of Fikardou. At 30.1 km the tarmac ends, giving its way to the cobbled village road. The road bends right and after another 100 m reaches the church of Apostles Petros and Pavlos (St Peter and St Paul) on your right. There is space for parking. Park your car. We meet here.

How to get to the meeting point for the car trip:

From Nicosia get to the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital. At the traffic lights where you have the Cineplex on your left hand side and Apolloneion Hospital on your right hand side, zero your odometer and turn left. At the 0.3 km reading you see Lidl supermarket on your right. At the 0.8 km reading you reach traffic lights. Turn left into Elaionon street. Immediately after you observe the very large church of tis Theou Sophias, with its green dome, on your right. Just past the church (1.0 km reading) take the first turning to the right into Kastellas street. This side street offers ample parking space. Park here.

How to return to Nicosia from the walk start:

Zero your odometer as you start in front of the church of Apostles Petros and Pavlos (St Peter and St Paul) in Fikardou, with the church on your right. At the 1.7 km reading turn right at the T-junction. At the 2.0 km reading turn right. At the 3.0 km reading turn right at the T-junction. At the 10.3 km reading ignore the sign pointing to a right turn for Nicosia, turn left at the T-junction. At the 11.8 km reading you reach the T-junction with the main highway: turn right and enjoy the rest of your return trip.

Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital to the church of tis Theou Sophias http://tinyurl.com/ll9fefj

Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the Presidential Palace (point E on the map) to the church of tis Theou Sophias (point B), via points D, then C, then A: http://tinyurl.com/ndnr6uo

About Fikardou: At an altitude of about 900 m, this entire small village has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. It is a fine specimen of Cyprus village architecture in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its church of Apostles Petros and Pavlos (St Peter and St Paul) was originally built in the 18th c. Its houses have the characteristic red tile roof. Most of the houses are deserted. The village comes to life on weekends, thanks to its visitors.

About Lazanias: Also at about a 900 m altitude, this small village traces its name to the Lusignans, or Francs, who reigned in Cyprus between 1192 and 1489 AD.

Disclaimer: If you attend a Cyprus Strollers walk you do so entirely at your own risk. The Cyprus Strollers is a social club and neither the organizers nor the leader of the walk are responsible for the health and safety of those taking part.

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