If you are a fan of history and architecture, but crowds of tourists are not your cup of tea, or if you are simply looking for something unusual, then our list of top five abandoned villages in Cyprus is just for you.
So what exactly do you need to do in order to enjoy the sight of abandoned relics? A few things. First search online for a village that interests you, then travel there, book your hotel and head to the closest restaurant… “Wait wait wait!” You might exclaim. “What restaurant? What hotel? Are we really talking about abandoned places?”
Unfortunately, yes. Most “abandoned” villages are called that just for marketing purposes. Making your way through a slew of gift shops and bars, you might eventually run into one or two polished “abandoned” houses. But will that be what you really wanted?
The history of Cyprus is steeped in dramatic turns and twists of fate. Hence, there is no shortage of truly abandoned villages (however, some of these might still be home to one or two surviving families). Because of their lack of commercial appeal, there is little information on them available. This is why we have put together this guide to the five most interesting abandoned villages of Cyprus:
Despite the fact that this village is situated next to a pretty lively highway, it is so obscure that if you google its name the search will yield only a couple of articles on it.
Location: the village is located halfway between a rather prosperous village of Kato Amiantos and Troodos. If you don’t want to miss the entrance to the village, just search for a phone booth. It stands right in the middle of the woods, but there is plenty of parking space next to it. If you are standing next to the village, the phone booth is on both side of the road.
Reasons for abandonment: officially, the village is not yet abandoned. First of all, it was integrated into the nearby village of Kato Amiantos. Secondly, there are still a few homes remaining in the upper part of Pano Amiantos. Regardless, the majority of the houses and buildings are desolate. The reasons for this are predominately economic.
At a certain point during the last century the area was home to an asbestos quarry. The scale of work carried out there was so massive that one can still see its remains from many of the observation points in the Troodos. The quarry is truly gigantic and even futuristic-looking. More than five thousand people worked at the quarry during its heyday. These workers were also the main inhabitants of the nowadays abandoned village of Pano Amiantos. Then in 1988 the company that oversaw the work in the quarry went bankrupt and the locals were forced to gradually leave the area.
Things to see: there is an inconspicuous path running next to the above-mentioned phone booth. It leads to an old hospital building, which includes numerous wards and passageways that make up a huge maze that one can easily get lost in. It is an interesting experience, especially for those who enjoy horror video games: creepy patient rooms, squeaky floors, a sinister looking chimney and a scenic inner courtyard with empty windows silently staring down on it. I personally found the place quite unsettling despite the fact that I visited it in the afternoon, when it was sunny and you could hear the birds singing everywhere.
There is probably nothing else to see on this side of the road since the hospital is surrounded by a drop-off on three of its other sides. What you can do is cross the highway and walk up the mountains to observe the village in its entirety.
One of the things that we found fascinating about this place was the spirit of history. Another thing was its architecture: everything built in the mountains looks completely different from what you will find at the ground level. The grey-colored stone houses bear a resemblance to those from a village in the mountains of France or Switzerland. They definitely don’t look like anything out of Cyprus.
Finally, even though most of the houses are open (their doors have either been removed or broken), they still contain original household objects. They may not be in the best shape, but are nevertheless fascinating. When I took a look inside one of the houses, I spotted a picture of Mikhail Gorbachev looking back at me from the cover of a 1988 Times magazine.
I never stepped inside any of the houses, but if you decide to do so, I recommend that you with familiarize yourself with the local laws first, just to avoid any unpleasant outcomes.
Further into the mountains, hidden from the curious tourist eyes are the magnificent British-style villas with columns, fountains, canals and bridges. These are obviously also abandoned. So if you want to feel like a British aristocrat, then this is a place for you.
An abandoned mining village
This is not even a village really, but more like a handful of houses. However, the place is so isolated from everything else and is quite difficult to get to, which guarantees that you won’t be running into any “random tourists” and can instead enjoy your time alone here.
Location: if you are driving from Troodos towards Prodromos, keep an eye out for the second lift and you should see an inconspicuous unpaved road going right. If you are not too sensitive about the suspension mounting on your car, then you can freely take the dirt road. Otherwise, just walk there. It’s going to take a while, but it’s worth it thanks to the scenic views of the surrounding mountains.
Why it’s been abandoned: unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information answering this question online. But my guess is that this village was struck by the same fate as Pano Amiantos.
Things to see: several industrial buildings have survived in the area. There are also a few residential houses and two coal mines: one that has collapsed and another one with a gaping cavity that reveals a view of the underground world. Alas, I am not a big connoisseur of underground exploration, so I decided against descending into the mine and enjoying its hidden wonders.
Since the village is quite small, there aren’t that many fascinating things to see. But it’s still a great destination for those who enjoy going back in time.
This is a rather popular abandoned village. There is plenty of information about it online. However, I have visited it six times and never ran into a single living soul. There is a working church not too far from the village.
Location: the village is located in a sparsely inhabited mountainous area, somewhere in the center of a triangle, which is shaped by Limassol, Paphos and Platres. The roads are good, making the place easily accessible by car.
Why it’s been abandoned: Trozena’s is a pretty sad story. Originally, it was inhabited by the Turks, which is why it was doomed when the conflict broke out. By the 1970s its only permanent residents were lizards and snakes.
Things to see: despite the fact that the village is small, there is plenty to see here. First of all, the buildings are in a pretty good shape and looking at it from a bird’s eye view one probably wouldn't be able to tell it apart from any other village. At the same time, most of the buildings’ structural floors have rotted and I couldn’t muster up the courage to step inside.
If you cross the entire village by taking the main street, you will end up at the fruit gardens with numerous pomegranate, citrus, apple and pear trees. You can pick any fruit directly from the tree.
There is a picturesque colonial-period bridge located near the village. The bridge was built without arches or buttresses. While driving this far just to see the bridge is hardly a good idea, making it part of your visit to the village — totally is.
Finally, there is small, but very scenic waterfall not too far from the area. It is called Paradise Waterfall and I highly recommend it.
This is probably the most picturesque village on your list.
Location: Souskiou is located on the eastern slopes of the valley of the River Dhiarizzos, which begins high up in the Troodos mountains. The closest populated area is the village of Kouklia.
There are no paved roads leading to the village itself. The closest you can get to the village is by taking route F616. You can spot the ruins from the highway. You can either walk the remainder of the way or continue driving at your own risk. The drive is difficult, but quick (about five minutes).
Why it’s been abandoned: same reasons as why Trozena was abandoned: Souskiou is a victim of last century’s conflict.
Things to see: most of the houses have been badly damaged, making the village look like a place out of a movie about Afghanistan. It feels like a bearded mujahid could jump out of the ruins at any moment, which is actually almost what happened to me during my first visit to the village: I was surprised by a pick-up truck with several military men in it. The men asked me what I was doing there. I told them that I was a tourist and came to see the abandoned village. They wished me a good day and kept driving. I went back to Souskiou several more times after that and never ran into anybody else.
The village is almost completely uninhabited, except for one house. There are farmers working the fertile land around the ruins.
Not all of the houses have been destroyed. Some are quite intact and are used as cowsheds or to store sheep fur. There are old water wells engraved with their make year. The village provides a perfect post-apocalyptic backdrop.
One last pleasant bonus: Souskiou is home to delicious figs.
We decided to include this place in our Top 5 list just for the sake of contrast. We also thought it would be of interest to those, who want to enjoy “desolation” while sipping a cup of coffee. I am sure there are quite a few people like that. Fikardou is only nominally abandoned. There are many photographs and videos of this place online. You can also read our report on Fikardou. I won’t bother you with typical stories of a goat that is a local TV celebrity or the 18th century buildings. Instead, I’ll focus on what interests me.
Location: Fikardou is located halfway between Limassol and Nicosia, 890 meters above sea level. The closes village is Gourry. There is a great paved road leading up to Fikardou. It doesn’t matter if you are driving from Limassol or Nicosia: it is a scenic drive in both cases.
Why it’s been abandoned: it is a typical outcome of urbanization. More and more people are looking to leave their home villages and relocate to large cities. This is what happened to Fikardou. Slowly but surely more and more people kept leaving it until it became completely empty.
Things to see: all of the buildings have been well restored and look new, making it possible to see what an authentic Cypriot village looked like centuries ago. There is a museum, a church and even a cafe, located in a convenient spot immediately following the entrance to the village. Those, who are particularly lazy, may be content staying there and enjoying a perfect view of the village. The rest of us can spare 30 minutes exploring the village.
Our Top 5 list includes what we believe to be the most interesting abandoned villages. But aside from these choices, there are numerous excellent places to visit. I once came across an online map of abandoned villages of Cyprus, featuring numerous locations that you won’t find on Google maps. The mysterious world of abandoned Cypriot villages is vast and diverse. So follow us to learn about new places and findings.