Our hike of Sunday 11 October 2015 takes place in the picturesque mountainous area of Pitsilia, and follows a forest road 4 km long, from Selladi Karamanli towards Polystypos; we return by the same forest road, which translates to a walk of 8 km. The hike is rated 1 to 2 (easy to medium in terms of difficulty), and is expected to take close to 3 hours. The hike is mostly on level ground, with modest uphill and downhill sections. The path is in dense forest with pine trees, golden oaks, oaks, and several other species of trees and bushes offering a rich reward to the Stroller. As anticipated, the hike offers some magnificent views. Selladi Karamanli lies at an altitude of 1260 m and forms part of the Grand Circle of Madari. We shall access it by car, along the only paved road that reaches it, via the village of Saranti.
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 drive to a taverna in the vicinity, for a meal.
You need to register for this activity (e-mail by end Thursday), which is open only to Strollers who accept participation at dinner, at the end of the hike; the activity takes place in an area off the beaten track, with low tourism and we need to supply the taverna with the number of participants, to ensure the high standard of service you have come to enjoy with the Cyprus Strollers.
You have the choice of meeting the group at the walk start, 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 9:45 am. Please ensure you observe start times, for the benefit of the group.
How to get from Nicosia to the walk start:
Zero your odometer exactly in front of the main entrance to the very large church of tis Theou Sophias, on Elaionon street, with the church on your left. At the first traffic lights turn right. You pass Lidl and K Cineplex cinema on your left. At the 0.9 km reading you get to traffic lights, with Apolloneion Hospital facing you at a distance. Turn left, into the principal road towards Troodos. At the 1.4 km reading you come to traffic lights, go straight. At the 3.9 km reading you leave the main road, taking the side road on your left, named E903 and signposted to Palekhori. At the 4.2 km reading you get to a roundabout; take the first exit to the left, signposted to Palekhori. Drive along this main road. At the 16.9 km reading turn right into the E929 road, towards Agios Ioannis and Kato Moni villages. At the 28.0 km reading you pass through a short tunnel. At the 28.2 km reading you reach a T-junction: turn left. At the 29.7 km reading turn right into the E907 road, towards Xyliato and Agia Marina. At the 35.0 km reading you pass the village of Xyliato. At the 38.1 km reading you pass a large dam on your right. The road begins to climb towards the picturesque area of Pitsilia, through a beautiful forest scenery. At the 45.1 km reading you pass a right turn to Saranti village: stay on the main road. At the 45.6 km reading you enter the village of Lagoudera. At the 46.4 km reading turn right, signposted to Panagia tou Araka. At the 46.9 km reading you have reached the church of Panagia tou Araka, on your right. Continue to drive past the church, into the village of Saranti. At the 47.8 km reading you reach a junction, where you ignore the right turn, signposted to Xyliato and Nicosia; take the left turn, signposted to Spilia. The road begins to climb; after 100 m you go left at a Y-junction. At the 50.3 km reading you have arrived at Selladi Karamanli. Park on the side. The hike starts 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.
Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital to the church of tis Theou Sophias
Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the Presidential Palace to the church of tis Theou Sophias:
Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the meeting point in Nicosia to the church of Panagia tou Araka (46.9 km reading)
Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the church of Panagia tou Araka (46.9 km reading) to the 47.8 km reading junction in Saranti
About Pitsilia: The region east of Mount Olympos (Troodos) is known as the Pitsilia area and includes about 30 villages. Its tallest peaks are Madari (1612 metres) and Papoutsa (1554 metres). The picturesque villages nestle on the mountainside amid vineyards, or are hidden in valleys, maintaining much of their traditional charm. The surrounding hills and valleys are full of vines, as well as almond, hazelnut, walnut and other fruit trees. The area is also known for its traditional products such as aromatic rosewater, ‘hiromeri’ (smoked ham), ‘loukanika’ (smoked sausages) and ‘lountza’ (smoked pork loin).
Pitsilia has four of the famous Byzantine churches on the World Heritage list – The Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour (tou Sotiros) at Palaichori, the Church of Stavros tou Agiasmati near Platanistasa, the Church of Timios Stavros (Church of the Holy Cross) in the village of Pelendri and the church of Panagia tou Araka in the village of Lagoudera.
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.