Located in the southwest of Larnaca district, Kato Drys is a small mountainous village that has lots in store for the visitors. In a rural setting, it boasts a beautiful location, being a hamlet of peace and tranquility but also offering experiences of a small town.
Located in the southern part of the island, Kato Drys is a tiny village of Larnaca district. With its picturesque alleys and traditional architecture, the village becomes one of the most idyllic mountainous destinations.
The name of the village, “Kato Drys”, is translated as “Lower Oak”, and there are two prevailing theories as to its origin. According to the first theory, the name derives from the numerous oak trees (“δρύες” in Greek language) found in the area. As per the second interpretation, it is said that a long time ago they existed two villages, separated by a large oak tree. Therefore, the villages were given the names Pano Drys (“Upper Oak”) and Kato Drys (“Lower Oak”).
While strolling through the narrow cobbled streets of Kato Drys, one can enjoy some of the old culture and be seduced by this village that kept its authenticity. You will come across the stone-built residences, constructed side by side, with their coloured windows and doors and with all types of flowers and plants in their doorsteps, revealing a charming atmosphere. At the entrance of the village are situated a few traditional two-story houses, with their balconies looking towards the central road. Moving forward, at the village square, the typical coffee shops welcome the visitors to gather and relax.
Wandering around this little village a number of churches and chapels can be spotted. The oldest chapel found in the village is dedicated to Panagia Eleousa (translated as “Virgin Mary of Tenderness”) and it was built on the 12th century. This little stone-built chapel was the primary church of the village until the 19th century. It is a byzantine style church with a vaulted ceiling. Nowadays, the main church of the community is situated at the western part of the village, and it is dedicated to Saint Charalambos. The church was built on 1897 at the same area where a byzantine chapel was located previously. On a hill, a bit outside the village, it is found the chapel of Saint Neophytos, a small stone-built single-aisled church with a tiled roof. In the south of the village, between Kato Drys and the neighboring village of Vavla, it is located Agios Minas Monastery. The exact date of the monastery’s foundation is not know, however it is estimated that it was built in the 15th century. By the 19th century, and during the Ottoman rule in the island, the Monastery was slowly abandoned. Nevertheless, with a renovation that took place a century later, it was transformed into a female communal Monastery, making it later on one of the biggest monasteries in Cyprus. The main church consists of a single-aisle basilica, located in the center of the courtyard. One of the most important features of the church is the three-tiered wooden iconostasis, dating back to the 18th Century.
In order to get a closer look at the island’s culture, the village has two museums open to visitors. The Local Agricultural Museum of Kato Drys is located in a 19th century mansion. The house is an excellent representation of the local architecture of that era. The interior of the museum gives an image of the traditional rural household; its inner courtyard with the typical clay oven, the ground floor with the main room functioning as a living room and dining room, the inner room with no windows, being the storeroom or cellar, the barn and finally the kitchen, while on the first floor is located the bedroom. The second museum of the village, the Bee and Embroidery Museum, combines an exhibition of the village’s every day life, with tools, equipment and furniture, a collection of traditional lace embroidery handicrafts (“Lefkaritika”) but it also displays information related to bees and beekeeping practices through the ages, arriving at the modern methods of honey production.
Significant is the fact that nowadays Kato Drys possesses a substantial territory covered by vineyards, being the largest one in Larnaca district. Even though it is not part of the classic wine-producing region of Cyprus, the village is included in the diverse wine route of mountainous Larnaca and Nicosia. The route offers a journey among 10 villages; it starts at Skarinou village, passes by Kato Drys and the neighbouring village of Lefkara, and continues towards Machairas forest and the villages of Fikardou and Gourri, leading towards Nicosia city. This route consists of several grape varieties both of white and red, offering a unique wine journey in the rural regions of Cyprus, but it also serves up a variety of cultural experiences.
Kato Drys offers also the opportunity to visitors to venture through and explore the natural environment by following the two nature trails. Both trails are fairly simple and connect Kato Drys with the neighboring Lefkara. The first trail is linear and covers a distance of around 2 km. The trail start at Lefkara village and the hiker will have the opportunity to walk through a rural road, leading up to the Metamorfoseos tou Sotiros Holy Church (“Transformation of the Saviour” Church), and then towards Kato Drys Village. The second is a circular trail,
covering 2.5km. It stretches from Pano Lefkara throughout the road to Vavatsinia village, following a route towards Dipotamos dam and Agios Minas Monastery. Both paths offer views of the scenic landscapes and natural features and a panorama of the mountainous Larnaca region.
Kato Drys is a tiny village overflowing with history and tradition. With its quaint streets ready to be discovered, typical houses, museums and churches, but also having plenty of opportunities to explore the nature and the surrounding region, becomes another mountainous destination worth visiting all year round.