Although I have known about Fyti and Fythiotika for a long time I have never visited Fyti until this week. I was keen to see Mr & Mrs Mavrellis who run the Folk museum. I had read about them and the weavers of Fyti on the Phytiotika web site and Maura McKee and Sara Dixon’s passion to get Fythkiotika weaving practised more widely again, as it’s in danger of disappearing. Traditionally the craft would be handed down from mother to daughter but now this chain is broken, as with so many other small villages, the young move away to find work elsewhere and the population is diminishing.
As I’m staying in Polis I didn’t have a very long journey to get there winding up the hillside after taking the E712 road to Simou and Lasa turning off the main Polis road. Passing the Evretou Dam I arrived at this attractive, peaceful village with some very good traditional stone buildings some of which have been restored. One that particularly took my fancy was a large house on the edge which has impressive views of the valley below from its upper doorway. Now in a state of dilapidation and housing chickens in the lower rooms, it looks as if it was a substantial residence at one time with evidence of the stone arches that would have opened onto the courtyard and my imagination was set to work envisaging it being restored into a very fine house indeed. Although many houses are abandoned and in various stages of dereliction there has been a lot or restoration work undertaken of some of the main buildings and more still is planned and the village has a prosperous well cared feel to it, in its past it was a centre for learning in the 19th century.
On the edge of the main square where you will find the church and the tavernas there is the Folk museum run by Mr. Mavrellis a former schoolteacher. His wife sits at the loom most days quietly weaving the traditional Fythkiotika a speciality of this village. There are many original patterns that are still copied with examples lining the walls and some of the older ones which are very intricate and dense, taking many days to complete are no longer made.
Mr Mavrellis took me round the exhibits in the museum, implements used in farming and clothing of a bygone era as well as some lovely examples of the Fythkiotika of course. Lessons are available for those wishing to take this up and plenty of space available for accommodation in the new Voufa centre in the village. Sadly this was closed when I visited.
On my wander around the village I visited a small art workshop where I met a young British artist Gemma Plant at work making jewellery and promptly bought a very reasonably priced pair of earrings. She has lived in Cyprus for 6 years since doing a post-graduate course at the Lemba Art college. As I was reluctantly leaving the village I came across a large herd of sheep being herded across the road and stopped to take some photos and chat to the shepherdess, it made my day.