Kolossi Castle and beccaficos(Ambelopoulia) birds

Just outside of Limassol, the visitor can find beautiful Kolossi Castle. Build around 1210 when the Hospitallers, Knights of St.John of Jerusalem, arrived in Cyprus and were presented the state of Kolossi by Lusignan King Hugo I.

Area controlled by the Castle surrounded by 60 villages, Kouris river and fertile land having many vineyards, olive trees, carob and cotton plants, sugar plantations... They erected the present shape in 1454 by the order of Louis de Magnac Grand Commander of Knights in Cyprus.

It is about 75 feet high with walls 9 feet thick, divided into three floors. You can still see on the second-floor wall large mural painting of the Crucifixion bearing coat of arms of Louis de Magnac. He was succeeded by John Langstrother, who later was beheaded by King Edward IV.

At the beginning of the XVI Century passed into the possession of the Cornaro family, with the first owner being Cardinal Marco Cornaro, brother of Queen Caterina. After the Ottoman conquest, the Cornaro family lost the property. After 1799 when House of Cornaro died out, the property was claimed by Count Mocenigo of Zakinthos( Greek Island), who married the heiress of the Cornaro house, and it was in possession of this family till 1954 when last descendant Count Alvise Nicolo Mocenigo died.

As there were many vineyards, they were "visited" by little birds which are caught on lime twigs, plucked and packed in jars with vinegar. The knights introduced that specialty to the gourmets of Europe and beyond. In the early XVI century, by the writings of John Locke, they were exported to Venice. Some 1200 pots, apart from those that were consumed in Cyprus.

Their Greek name is"Ambelopoulia." In free translation, "vineyard birds." It continues to be a specialty even today, but in Cyprus, the law protects the birds.

We will continue our story about Kolossi Castle in the next days.

Stay Tuned




Connect and Respect

Saint George Medieval Church-Derynia


At the outskirts of Ayia Napa, Protaras and Paralimni you can find, as pleasant surprise, XV Century church of Saint George.

By driving from Paralimni main road and taking the exit at the roundabout towards Derynia this Byzantine style church, even small, but still compact, beautifully built with Dome, will take you as a surprise and will provide you with the moments of deep inner thoughts about existence.

With still available Fresco of St. George and St. John Prodromos painted around 1775 by John Kornaros illuminated with such exceptional colours the visitor is somehow channelled to learn more about his life and legend surrounding him.

Who was St. George?

Most probably he was an officer in the Roman army, born in Cappadocia and died in Lydda then Roman province of Palestine 303 AD. He was a Martyr, dieing for his Christian faith, as he refused to make sacrifice in honour of Pagan Gods.

St. George is not only the patron of England but also of Genoa and Venice all of them being Cyprus masters in the past. Curiosity is that during the Third Crusade in 12th Century, Richard I, The Lion Heart, placed himself and the army he led under the protection of St. George.

So we could say that Martyr St. George “arrived” in Cyprus in 1191 when King Richard, due to the heavy storms, docked in Limassol, accompanied by his sister Joanna, Queen Dowager of Sicily and Berengaria of Navarre. The legend about St. George and the Dragon was popularised after in the 13th Century by one Jacobus de Voragine “Legenda Sanctorum” or “Golden legend” where St.George goes to Silene in today’s Libya to free the city from the dragon who had a taste for humans.

However the oldest Greek manuscript of St.George tradition goes back to 5th century and revised Latin version in the 6th century. The Greek text exists today at Vienna Kunsthistorishes Museum and had been translated into Syriac ( classic Aramaic language of then Mesopotamia) in the middle of 5th century. All this and so many more one can learn when enchanted by the beauty of the Derynia Church. Somehow, the energy inside is transferring fascination into the zeal to learn more. And about Cyprus and about St. George.

As April, the month of St. George is approaching, many of you who are planning to visit Cyprus could get an inspiration by visiting the church and spending beautiful Sun rise and Sun Set in the area imaging King Richard and Berengaria feelings and love they shared, under the protection and inspiration of St. George!

This is just the beginning of what one can expect by visiting this absolutely amazing Island with so many interesting stories helping us to find the answer to that question of “What are we doing here?”

We will continue giving you the insights together with places to stay and food to enjoy. 

Below photos are from yesterday 4/2/2020 as an advance welcome to Cyprus!

Cyprus Tourism Deals 05/02/2020

Connect and Respect

Aphrodite Rock

The superpower of Mediterranean-Island of Cyprus

Expression from the title, as far as I remember, has been used to attract the attention of important person some years ago, and of course to extend the time of first, brief, courtesy meeting between two personalities. It stayed in my mind as an example of a beautiful way to make your interlocutor to, at least, remember you and what you represent. It is a showcase of a beautiful, sharp, practical mind that is characteristic of the people of Cyprus confirming the quote “little things are not critical, they define everything”.

Even that it is nicely hidden, it is there on alert to be revealed until the intention of others is presumed. I will not analyze why sharpness is hidden. There are always reasons, like lessons learned from the past.

Let's reason why the island of Cyprus could be called “The superpower of Mediterranean”.

The power of the people is the main ingredient! Even that geographical position is very important, without its people with a curious, adaptable, practical, fast learning mind, Cyprus would be just one deserted, forgotten appellation. Always hospitable, ready to listen, to help with genuine interest if you share the burden, people of Cyprus are the real power of this beautiful Island.

With still strong family values and by investing in education, mostly abroad, Cypriots are at the same time acknowledging their roots and widening their perception of the world. If they come back to the island after finishing studies, they are ready to commence work, as experience acquired abroad is the source of high confidence and awareness. At the same time, the field of education shows that the people of the island are fast learners and great implementers of both, human and profitable business ideas. Namely, there has been a huge increase of foreign students attending Cypriot Universities with numerous success stories reported, as graduates go back to their countries applying successfully vast knowledge they got. We will write about those success stories in the coming articles.

There are places in the world that are known as “never sleeps” due to great nightlife. As you definitely can find amazing places to visit in Cyprus and have an amusing night, Cyprus is going to sleep... However, something never sleeps! And that is Cypriot entrepreneurship! It is on alert 24/7. Maybe you will have an impression that I am exaggerating but it is real and could be called an intuition combined with entrepreneurship!

If let’s say, Cyprus is in need to have more astrophysicists, Cypriots will organize themselves and in a due time, Cyprus will have ready new scientists to practically offer their knowledge where is needed. The same goes for plumbers, car mechanics, hairdressers, accountants, football coaches, etc….

Cyprus is a small Island but a variety of different services on offer and competition in the market place is strong. That is explaining why the business organizer's mind is always on alert giving tremendous, sometimes not recognizable, but definitely very real, advance to Cypriot economy and at the end to its hard-working people.

All of the above and many more to be presented in the next articles would not be workable if it wasn’t combined, entangled with still strong family values. Let me share with you the story of Father and son talk occurred some thirty years ago.

Father and son, then 8 years old, were talking in the car about education! Just a small digression, but an important one! I need to emphasize the word Education! The talk was about words, about vocabulary. Father suggested to his son to learn four new words every day, explaining that by doing so, in some years, he will enrich his vocabulary and widen the way of thinking. There was a short silence before son asked:

"Wouldn't words drain after some time Dad?"

"No, not at all, as we learn something new every day. It will generally help you in all of your life " father replied.

After some moments passed, the son said: “Dad do you know what the last word the man learns is? ”No”, father replied continuing to drive the car.“What is it?” father asked. “Death” son replied.

This conversation passed to me by a beautiful mind person, who happened to be the father in the above story and well-known business owner, continuing his father's dream, affirms other important characteristics of people of Cyprus.

Genuine, highly human, common sense thoughts about meaning and purpose of existence starting from early life and continuing until the last word the man learns!

In the last three decades, Cyprus experienced a huge development. Development is usually connected with the people we call visionaries. Those that lead, those that are taking calculated risks enlightening the path for others to follow. There is a saying "Either lead, follow or get out of the way" One is for certain! People of Cyprus are definitely not going out of the way as they are, and you can trust the opinion born in practice, natural leaders and followers.

In a word or two, they can be described as human, common sense, practical yet dream full, highly emotional entrepreneurs. How emotional and determined, resolute they were and still continuing to be, you can understand from a story narrated to me by a person who, like many others, lost belongings during conflicts in ninety sixties and seventies. Namely, he conveys to me that his father, immediately after settling in Limassol from Famagusta found a place to open a shop and organize sales. His friends were still afraid and not knowing how and when this terrible situation will finish shared their concerns with him asking what he would do if Limassol became under attack and lost. He calmly replied: "I will then open a shop in Trodos(Mountain with the highest point Olympus nearly 2000 meters above sea level!)!"

It reminded me of one of the great military commanders in the First World War ( you can learn a lot from the military situations as they reflect civilian society in many ways) who said when asked by his subordinates if they should proceed further without thinking about their non-protected flanks: "Anything, just do not stand still !" His command not to stand still, but restlessly to go forward no matter what had crucial result in deciding the fate of the war. And this is another respectful trait of all Cypriots. Could be expressed with the word τριβιτζιασμός [drivijasmos] - unrestful, fidgety... When I came to Cyprus for the first time in 1989 the island was known, apart from beautiful, unique tourist places and very hospitable people, nice quality food, developing offshore industry, and for CMT business ( C=cut, M=make, T=trim) sewing clothes for very well-known fashion houses. The especially UK based as a great number of Cypriots took refuge in the UK and after getting the experience started their own businesses and connected it with the island. Some came as head-on profit-oriented business and some returned full of emotions inside, with a tough approach on the surface, to instinctively protect from unwanted circumstances. This was one of the export branches together with Halloumi cheese, wine, and some agricultural products, mattresses, different chemicals, not to mention furniture, shoes, etc... 

Interesting to know is that before coming to Cyprus there was an article of then Yugoslavian well-known journalist Miroslav Lazanski "Cipar Otok Spijuna" "Cyprus the island of spies" where Mr. Lazanski , informed then Yugoslavian audience how Cyprus became an oasis where different secret agents rested and communicated without being concerned of any harm that could happen as long as they were peaceful on the island. They set the climate! It shows how the people of the island can be friendly, trustworthy and firm and serious. That is respected, I am sure, and today by everybody.

With all due respect to all industries in Cyprus, tourism was, is and will be the main driving force of the Cypriot economy.

All the other activities are connected practically or emotionally to tourism.

Even that there is a strong tendency of cold, straight approach in doing business, emotions are still involved and are connected with surroundings of tremendous history. 

It gives a boost to the positive atmosphere making cooperation to be achieved easier.

Before settling in Cyprus for various reasons, the great majority of the foreigners first declare them selves as tourists!

Astonishing tenfold increase in the number of visitors from 353000 in 1980 to 3652000 in 2017 shows that tourism is a driving force of the economy of Cyprus.

In such an important hospitality industry, like in any other human activity, you have people that took risks in order to upgrade offer, attracting high budget tourists. That increases revenues definitely but more importantly, even not immediately visible, increases the influence of the name Cyprus has in different decision-making places around the globe.

This is how those visionaries accompanied by their wisely chosen assistants actually build the trademark just simply called CYPRUS! And they come from every part of the island! Visionaries are behind the success story of the Cypriot trademark! Being an Architect, Interior designers, business people, right and left hands of the inspirational, wise owners, etc... Like they were following Chinese proverb which says, in spontaneous translation: “The only path to a bright future is the one where your fear grows!” COME TO CYPRUS AND LIVE THE LIFE! But it was not always like that. One of the hotel apartments owner in Protaras area said to me over late afternoon conversation showing the sea in front of us combined with the presence of traditional Cypriot donkey he always treated so gently, that when he got married, many years ago, his father in law apologize to him saying: "My son I do not have anything to leave to you and my daughter except the sea "! In those days agricultural land was life! How things have changed! Just recently I had a conversation with a man I know for nearly ten years and he is in charge of one of the beautiful places near the sea at Larnaca. He greeted me with the question “ how it was your winter?”. I said, talkative as always, that it was usual with ups and downs but always with a smile, not to forget that we are alive! And he replied “ You know I see for so many years tourists coming here to LIVE! And we are living in a paradise without realizing it! We are running here and there, forgetting to actually live life, enjoying moments, taking advantage of the place we live in. And that place we call it Cyprus and it is a paradise!” I remember in the early 1990s in Limassol, deluxe hotel named Four Seasons was built with nearly 300 rooms that together with Amathus beach hotel ( Build 1971!) upgraded the offer for high-income tourists, giving the light to the other hoteliers in making, to follow by developing more and more luxury hotels and apartments as the number of tourists increased every year. Today you can also see a newly refurbished town hotel in Limassol. Visit the history of Limassol by staying at a unique Curium Palace Hotel where walls have stories to tell. Another visionary development was Aldiana hotel build in George Muskis Avenue of Alaminos village between Larnaca and Limassol in cooperation with German investors. It is a showcase of how European businesses can cooperate with Cypriot visionaries for the good of the people living on the island. One should not forget Ayia Napa which went through such swift immediate development in the last 30 years. Today, Ayia Napa managed to upgrade as each and every hotel owner improves the offer attracting more and higher-income tourists but never forgetting the golden middle class! Even a town hotel like Napa Plaza is offering a Hollywood style swimming pool and surroundings that make the visitor forget any issues he left at home and enjoy to the full the vacations in Cyprus! Or new development Nissiblu Beach Resort which will definitely attract upper market tourists. And many more we will be writing about. And Paphos, the ancient capital of Cyprus and place with huge potential which is being promoted by a very important expansion of Paphos International airport. That is followed in the last couple of years with the building of new beautiful hotels and hotel complexes and improving existing ones like beautiful Cynthiana Hotel situated in quiet surroundings as well as Aqua Mare and Avanti Hotel being near the famous Paphos Castle with traditional summer opera nights. To emphasize how important and how professional people became in the tourism industry in Cyprus here is one little detail that happened to me recently. I visited a hotel and had a beautiful four-night vacation. When going, a manager asked me how I found the service, facilities, staff of the hotel. As Hotel was refurbished with a new extension of some 70 rooms he was curious what would I say. Well, I said, all great except just one small detail! "What it is" he asked. Chunky cut tomatoes! I replied. With surprise in his eyes and smile, he said: "This is what I just said to the cook!" No need to mention that emotions are starting with the eye contact being checked and rechecked with other senses as well! The details are not only important, but they also define everything! And people in the Cyprus tourist industry are very much aware of it. I would like to inform the readers that we are continuing our Cyprus series articles with more stories to come soon with stories behind the names. First published at Philosophyofgoodnews May/June/July/August 2018 and republished now 14/12/2019 with some changes.


Lefkara village is first mentioned 1134 in the testament of Saint Neophytos who was born in the nearby village of Kato Drys. And there you can find Neolithic archaeological remains about which you will read more here in the coming weeks. The legend says that Leonardo Da Vinci visited Cyprus in 1481 and that he spotted extraordinary Lefkara village lace which captivated him so much that he bought it, took it to Milan and used it for the altar of Duomo Cathedral in Milan. At the time of his visit, Cyprus was ruled by Katherine Cornaro, the wife of late King James II of Cyprus. Katherine was born in Venice at the noble family of the "Corner". I wouldn't be surprised if, in the future, technology finds out that the portrait of Katherine just recently presented to the public by Levendis museum in Nicosia or some other one waiting to be discovered had a"touch" of Leonardo da Vinci. During the Franko Venetian rule of Cyprus Lefkara village, situated in the mountains some 50 km from the capital of Nicosia, has been used as a safe retreat, oasis, for women and children of the Venetians escaping Pirate raids of coastal towns of Famagusta, Morfou, Kyrenia, Limassol, etc... Since than Lefkara is known for its lace, an abstruse form of special needlework coming from deep down the soul-making each lace masterpiece of its own. Work which requires a lot of patience and concentration, focus and clear mind, reminds us of the time where TV sets and Computers, as well as mobile phones, were not present to distract. In the long hours of waiting for their husband's women were making laces, each being original, authentic, archetypal. In Leonardo notebooks, there are references about Cyprus where he most probably spotted gorgeous unique lace in Pano Lefkara and bought it to be positioned at the altar of Duomo di Milano. The unconfirmed legend continues with a suggestion that the table cloth design at The Last Supper mural Da Vinci started to work on around 1495 is actually Lefkara lace. What is confirmed is that some 30 years ago the old Lefkara lace was replaced with the new one by the Pano Lefkara municipality and that it is in the cathedral Duomo of Milan now. Cyprus is not only Sun and Sea but also an inconspicuous source of history with many stories yet awaiting to be brought to the light. Use your stay in Cyprus to mingle with people and discover more about this beautiful place. First published in March 2018 at Philosophyofgoodnews and republished 19/12/2019 here on Cyprustourismsdeals