Just 40km from Nicosia you will find yourself in the picturesque mountainous area of Pitsilia in the serene village of Palaichori. As you drive in you will feel a sense of refreshment as you breath in the fresh and crisp 'drosia'/Palaichori air. You will feel the deep and rich culture and history, that some say goes back 700 years. You can see this in the old yet graceful churches and many houses and the older traditional generations that were born around the time the Archontiko was built (1915). On the other side, Palaichori embraces a very modern element with modern living and modern infrastructure.
The people of Palaichori (young and old) are very hospitable and are always there to help, if you need anything. The people still maintain the strong cultural and moral values that made this beautiful haven of Palaichori what it is today.
Palaichori is situated near the administrative boundaries of Nicosia-Limassol. Administratively it belongs to the province of Nicosia, build amphitheatrically between high hills at an altitude of 900 metres.
It's prone to an average annual rainfall of about 800 millimetres and in its vicinity can be found the cultivation of wine vineyards of the wine producing variety, vegetables, chestnut, walnut and olive trees, fruit trees, almond trees and other local varieties. The village is separated in two with the advent of the river ("Serrache") which springs from the height of the mountain "Papoutsa."
During the summer months it transforms into a green river from the countless plane and walnut trees which grow from the bed of the river. There is around 1100 inhabitants and its one of the most mountainous villages of Cyprus and the largest of the Pitsilia area. It maintains its cultural character and it offers a unique beauty of natural environment with a wealth of historical and cultural space.
It maintains its ethics morals, customs, and its culture. With its modern roads it forms a commuter junction between Nicosia-Limassol and the tourist summer resorts of Troodos. Its about 45 kilometres away from the two main cities of Cyprus and 55 kilometres from the international Airport of Larnaca.
The road from the West leads to Askas, with a distance of approximately 2 kilometres. Askas, is a small but picturesque village which wins over the visitor with its superb natural environment which is encircled with the profound characteristics of the cultural architecture, which give it unique picturesque.
In Askas, there are two churches with important history. One is that of the Holy Prodromou and the other of the Holy Cross. There is also the small church of Saint Christinas, which today is named the church of Saint Paraskevi.
Also in the village there is the infrastructure for agrotourism with hostels and eateries. Heading westerly the road leads to Alona, Polystypo and Kyperounda, 15 kilometres south-westerly, Palaichori connects with Agros, one of the significant villages of Pitsilia with significant infrastructure in areas of residence and hospitality, and athletic institutions.
From the other side of the village the traveller can walk the dirt road that connects the church with the village of Apliki (3 km) and admire the very inclining slopes, where the altitude reaches 1100 metres. The journey may even constitute the most unique choice for the development of the Summer mountain biking and also mountain climbing. Arriving at Apliki, the hiker or the cyclist can relax since there is basic instrstructure for this purpose or can continue his journey.
About a kilometre east of Apliki there is the Palaichori dam, which is constructed on the river of Kampiou. For the fishing friends the dam constitutes a good opportunity to get involved with their sport. At the dam there are the possibilities for the infrastructure to be developed that will enable the expansion of the other athletic activities such as rides in canoes and other.
As mentioned above, Palaichori offers many choices and activities to the visitor. So than a second remarkable journey that the visitor can follow is that to the Valley of Halkomata. The small cultivated land areas that exist, give to the visitor a taste of the type of employment the locals are involved in. As in the case of the Valley of Maroulena, here also are the possibilities for the development of similar activities but of rural nature though. In this area operates the regional primary school of the region. Also the visitor can relax at the traditional café nearby, which even though it is of modern built, it follows to a large extent the rhythm of the traditional architecture.
Within the bounds of the integral scheme in the area will be the development of the rural land of the Mansion where the visitor will be able to occupy himself with farming. Within this framework similar items of rural land can be developed in other rural areas around the village such as Millouri, Stillari , Appis and Ayia Koroni.
The journey to the Valley of Halkomata, leads us to the foothills of Papoutsa where the visitor can follow two different journeys, one towards the village of Sykopetra, where this road leads to Limassol. The second journey leads us to the hideouts of E.O.K.A at Papoutsa, which have been restored. This climb even though tiring, exceedingly re-embarrasses the visitor since the view is unique and simultaneously the visitor feels an awe since here, some of the most significant moments of the struggle of E.O.K.A. have taken place. The journey offers to the visitor another alternative solution. Initially following the dirt road which climbs up to the hideouts of E.O.K.A. the visitor can follow the path of natures study that exists and reach the summit. These journey's can indeed be realised with horses.
Another area which has its own portion in the history of the village is the area of Saint Koronis, 5 km from the village on the way to Nicosia. In the past the area constituted one of the most significant areas for the production of strawberries in Cyprus. In the area the visitor can visit the small church of Archangel Michael in the area of "Appi", where there is a summit of pine tree plantation with an exceptional view. There are many restaurants in the area.
Small Craft Industry
The craft industry production in Palaichori range in product preparation. Palaichori performs in the production of grapes, pork and the processing of milk and other farm products.
Wine and zivania are produced from grapes which are maintained in dark areas. Zivania is produced by the distillation process in the traditional "lambiko".
The latter is particularly loved in Palaichori and excellently intertwined with culture, that is why, it is close to the hearts of the locals.
For example the locals, have the tradition of offering a drink of "zivania" on their name day in the church courtyard.
Small craft production includes salted and conserved products and wine flavoured pork. The best known cooked meat products are pastourma, loukanika, which offers a special taste, but also the smoked cooked pork meat products like cheromeri, lountza, and bacon.
The production of cooked meat products is an embedded tradition in the village but also in the wider area generally, because of circumstances it was one of the ways of preserving the meat throughout the year to serve their nutritional needs in meat and meat production. So therefore, the slaughtering of pork which every household raised took on a form of a ritual. According to tradition, the slaughter took place after the festivity of the Theofonia, where the blessing of the Waters took place, even if periodically this date was transferred to different time periods.
Characteristic of the day were the often squabble by the young boys, who were present at the time the pigs were being gutted, competing who would get the bladder (urinary ball) because during older times there were no other playing games for the children.
From the pigs meat, other than the fresh meat, which was consumed in the first few days, other different delicacies were made, which with the appropriate preparation could be preserved for future consumption. For these preparations the right choice of the certain part of the sloughed pig had to be made from experienced locals, who would form groups made of relatives and friends, who would go from house to house and would cut up the pork and partition the different parts, depending on each parts destination. So after cutting off the head and the feet, so as to make a gluten (thick), they would start the systematic cutting of proportions, cutting first the legs, from which after the removal of the bones, would be left with the pork sides. Following that they would detach from the part of the back with the thick subcutaneous fat, they would remove two to four slices together with the skin for the lard. Later they would select from different parts, lean meat and lesser fat, without skin, for the loukanika (skinless meat sausages). All those that were put aside would be put in a container for further processing.
In the village there is a relatively advanced craft industry in the traditional type of bakery, so is too in the products of grapes, soutzouko, and kiofterka, both of which are processed from the juice of the grapes, followed by a course of drying.
Other Infrastructure / Amenities
In the community exist a series of infrastructure, which in a big way complete the needs of the visitor such as:
- Rural Health Centre
- General Retail Stores
- Butcher Shops
- Cafenia and Cafe's
- Square of Kypros Kotzikas (below The Church of Saint Luke)
- The Plateia (The main village Square): Located in the Centre of the Village, amoung cafe's/souvlaki outlets and all village amenities