Tucked in the southern mountainous region of the island, Kalavasos is a tiny village of Larnaca district. Leaning in the heart of the island's long history, this charming village is filled with excellent examples of Cypriot architecture and tradition, however, its surroundings are what really steal the show.
From older manuscripts and maps, the village seems to have existed with the same name since the Middle Ages. It is believed that the name of the village derives from the word "kali" ("καλή") translated in English as "good" and the ancient Greek word "vassa" ("βᾶσσα") meaning “wooden valley”. The name must have been given to the village due to the location where it was built, since once the valley surrounding Vasilikos river must have been extensively verdant.
The core of the village consists of stone-built houses among picturesque narrow streets. Strolling around, be sure to stop by the village's church, a stone-built cruciform shaped church with a dome, dedicated to Virgin Mary and dating back to the 19th century. The village and its surrounding area are also sprinkled with smaller chapels. Another important religious monument is the 19th century mosque, located near the main square, which was abandoned in the 1960s and since then it has been restored and preserved.
Extensive excavations in the region had as a result the discovery of various archaeological sites. One of the oldest settlements existing in the island, "Tenta", dates back to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic era (7th millennium BC) and it is located in a short distance from the main village of Kalavasos. Other settlements that have been discovered, date to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic eras (4500-2500 BC). The long survival of these settlements in the area of Kalavasos, can be attributed to the favourable conditions created by the fertile valley, as well as the richness of the copper mines.
The copper mines of Kalavasos, that cover an approximate area of 20km², were extensively exploited from Prehistoric times to Late Antiquity (7th century AD). In the Iron Age the mines probably belonged to the city-state of Amathus. After a cease of operation for about a thousand years, the Hellenic Mining Company bought the mines and resumed their exploitation in 1937 until the late 1970s. Noteworthy is the fact that the ore was transferred via a railway, from Kalavasos to the harbour of Vasiliko, a remnant of which can be seen in the community's park, at the entrance of the village.
For a real taste of the Cypriot village life and culture, Kalavasos is an easy day trip from the major cities of the island and an ideal location to escape from the more touristed sites.
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