My sister, Eugenia sent me a cutting from the travel section of The Guardian newspaper in December which was written by Tim Bryan about his visit to the elegant Casale Panayiotis in Kalapanayiotis.
Kalapanayiotis is one of the prettiest, in my opinion, of the Troodos mountain villages reached by those never-ending windy roads that make me feel slightly queasy as they go round and round and round……. Well worth the effort ‘though, apart from the houses perched on the very edge of the mountain it seems, the famous monastery of Ayios Ioannis Lampadistis is situated here, with its beautifully cared for frescoes and museum.
When I visited with my cousin Androula a few years back, it was pouring with rain which made for a very atmospheric visit. The frescoes in the church were in the process of being restored and you could see the dramatic difference where the colours had been brought to life again after the years of candle and incense smoke had been removed.
The article ‘though, was focused on the regeneration of the village which has, like so many of its neighbours been in decline over the recent years. In a village with about 450 homes only 150 are still inhabited and most of the inhabitants are over 70 years of age. But John Papadouris; who originates from Kalapanayiotis and later became a civil engineering magnate settling in Dubai; looking for a way to revitalise the village came up with the plan of restoring a collection of houses to become a luxury hotel and spa, Casale Panayiotis.
This is not an original idea as since ancient times the sulphur springs, which proliferate in the area, have been used as healing waters by the kings who used to hunt here. High in the fertile Marathassa valley with its abundance of cherry trees, this is an ideal location for a place to rest and recuperate from the rush and bustle of modern busyness. It is certainly commendable that the successful Mr Papadouris has invested in keeping alive the place of his birth not only by the introduction of a spa hotel but also in reinstating the vineyards and building a water bottling plant. This will give Kalapanayiotis a new lease of life and much needed employment to bring back a younger generation. There is such a rich cultural heritage here to be enjoyed by the enquiring visitor and with the start of a new vein of tourism and employment, the whole community will benefit. So Viva agrotourism I say.