Our excursion of Sunday 15 March 2015 takes place at Troodos forest, and combines a hike in the Amiantos area, with a visit to the handsome Amiantos Botanical Garden. The walk starts at 11:15 am. Xenophon is leading this outing, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call 97613720.
The hike is linear, takes place outside the village of Kato Amiantos, and takes us near Pano Amiantos, in the vicinity of the old mine and back. The hike is rated 3 for difficulty, on a scale from 1 easy to 3 difficult. Even though the total distance to cover is only about 3 km (1500 m. each way), and the time required is under 90 minutes, the trail involves a steady steep uphill on the way out, and a corresponding strenuous downhill on the way back. The hike starts at an altitude of 1050 m and climbs up to 1315 m. Notwithstanding the above, this is a beautiful trail, abundant with trees and bushes.
After the hike, we shall visit the well-preserved Amiantos Botanical Garden, where we shall walk around the exhibits and sit for a picnic, weather permitting. The Garden has been created at the site of the abandoned asbestos mine, and represents a very good specimen of environmental restoration and preservation. The Garden houses a small museum/information centre, with lots of interesting displays, which we shall visit, if open.
The excursion is suitable for friends and members of family who wish to join the Strollers but skip the hike; they may simply come along and spend their time at the Botanical Garden, while we hike.
About lunch: Lunch will be (weather permitting) a picnic at the Amiantos Botanical Garden, so bring along what you choose to eat and drink.
Meeting: 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, from which we shall drive in a convoy. 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 take the A9 motorway towards Troodos. The A9 smoothly becomes the B9 highway towards Troodos, when the motorway ends, near Kokkinotrimithia. On the B9 you drive past the villages of Akaki, then Peristerona and then you reach the village of Astromeritis. At the Astromeritis traffic lights, where most cars turn left towards Troodos, zero your odometer and turn left. Drive along the main road. After 25 km you pass the village of Kakopetria. Continue to drive along the main road, in the direction of Troodos. At the 33 km reading, you reach a crossroads (no traffic lights), named Karvounas. Do not turn left (this takes you to Kyperounda village and Madari mountain). Do not turn right (this takes you to the Amiantos Botanical Garden and then Troodos square). Go straight, downhill. Exactly 1.7 km downhill after the crossroads, you reach the walk start, on your right; there is a wooden sign named ‘Hrysovrysi’ and space for several cars. 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. Immediately after you observe the very large church of tis Theou Sophias on your right. Just past the church (1.0 km reading) take the first turning to the right. This side street offers ample parking space. Park here.
How to get to the Amiantos Botanical Garden from the start/ finish of the Amiantos walk:
Zero your odometer and drive uphill. After 1.7 km you reach the Karvounas crossroads. Turn left and drive uphill towards Troodos. At the 4.6 km reading you reach the Botanical Garden on your left. Turn left and park your car at the designated parking area.
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 Amiantos: Amiantos is the Greek name for asbestos. Asbestos has been extracted from the eastern slopes of Troodos from 1904 up to 1988, when the undisputed association of the substance with incidents of cancer put an end to its commercial exploitation. Regrettably, the village of Kato Amiantos, where we start our hike, paid a heavy death toll, during the years of asbestos mining, since many of its inhabitants worked at the mine.
About Troodos: Troodos is the highest mountain of the island, with its highest peak (Hionistra) at 1950 metres altitude. Troodos is covered by a variety of pine trees, junipers, cedars and fir trees, and also presents the majestic golden oak, an endemic species to Cyprus, as well as a rich variety of bushes and wild flowers.
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.