Platres Village
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Platres Village

Limassol

A mountainous village, Platres is preserving its traditional character, drowned in the forest’s greenery, while it keeps its reputation as an ideal vacation destination.

Platres is a mountainous village on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains, and it is considered as the largest Troodos resort.

The name of the village has been linked with various narratives through the years. It is mentioned that Platres takes its name from the Greek word "plateia" (πλατεία), which means plain area, due to the village's location in-between the mountainous terrain. Furthermore, historical testimonials concerning the village indicate that it was a feud during the Frankish period, thus the name may have been a remaining of that era. Subsequently, Platres' name may have originated from the French word "plâtre", that translates to "white" or "gypsum". There is also evidence of a Frankish monastery at the south side of Troodos, and the monks were dressed in white and it is said that they called themselves "Platrai". According to another version, the village was named after the word "pratra" (πράτρα = πωλήτρια) which means "one who weaves and sells", because of a weaver who lived in the village and weaved and sold her products.

The historic evidence reveal that the village has a long past. It was initially mentioned among the villages of Limassol district that existed during the Frankish era, when the House of Lusignan held power over Cyprus - between 1192 and 1489 - and further during the Venetian Era - from 1489 until 1571. Later, during the British rule in Cyprus, Platres has become a popular hill resort among officials of the British administration and expatriates who discovered the mountainous village and who rapidly established hotels and mansions as a retreat. Even until nowadays, Platres has maintained its character as a significant hill resort, with hotels and restaurants that operate all year long, to accommodate visitors, either during summer, as a cooler alternative, or during winter as a ski resort.

Platres is divided into two parts, Kato Platres, with a residential settlement, previously known as Tornarides village, and Pano Platres, the principal hill resort of Cyprus, widely referred to as Platres. The landscape of the village is separated by small streams, flowing towards the bigger rivers of Troodos area, that along with the forested mountains create a scenic environment. At the village square it is possible to relax or dine in one of the taverns and restaurants, enjoy the surrounding nature and observe the mansions built by the first visitors that moved to the village for vacations. Alternatively, following the road in the direction of the old neighbourhood of Platres, which is dotted with stone-built traditional houses along the narrow alleys.

Walking around, one will have the opportunity to visit the several churches and chapels found in the village. The small chapel of Panagia Faneromeni (translated as "Virgin Mary Revealed"), on the southern side of the village, was the main church of Platres up until 1880, when a bigger church was constructed, closer to the residential area. This newer church is also dedicated to Panagia Faneromeni and it was built in order to serve the needs of the growing population. It has to be noted that the initial construction of the 1880s was demolished and replaced in the 1970s with a more majestic church. Another church dedicated to Virgin Mary is that of Panagia Iamatiki (Virgin Mary with healing powers). It was built between 1940 and 1975 over the ruins of an old monastery. It is also known as Panagia Samatziotisa, from the location that is situated in, called "Samatzia". A smaller chapel is found a bit outside the village, dedicated to Saint Nicholas. It was built in 1995, on the location of the ruins of an ancient monastery. There is a path located right next to the chapel, on the northern part of the village giving the visitors the opportunity to enjoy the serenity and beauty of the landscape. On the road between Platres and Prodromos, it is situated an 18th century monastery, dedicated to Virgin Mary, Panagia Troodotissa. While it is not known exactly when the monastery was first built, it is believed that it could have existed since the 8th Century AD. The current building, nevertheless, dates back to 1731 and the other surrounding buildings were built between the 18th and 20th centuries.

From short footpaths to longer treks, Platres is the starting point of some of the most impressive nature trails in the island, giving various alternatives, for both leisure and exploration. The shorter route is Milia Nature Trail. It is a linear route of 1km. The trail passes through the forest and it is surrounded by wild flora, with a variety of bushes, plants, pine and oak trees. It leads to the historic medieval bridge of Milia, which initially was providing a crossing over Kryos River and connected the villages of Platres and Pera Pedi. The second trail starts at the entrance of the village, it covers 1.2km and leads to Millomeri Waterfall. It is the highest waterfall of the island with 15 metres height, and it is surrounded by pine trees. The name of the waterfall seems to derive from the words "millos" ("μιλλός"), which means "wet" in the Cypriot dialect, and the word "meros" ("μέρος"), meaning "a place"in Greek, since the flow of Kryos Potamos creates a breezy atmosphere. Moreover, one of the most popular paths for hiking is that of Caledonia Waterfalls. It is a linear trail of 3km, that goes through a scenic natural environment and leads towards the impressive waterfalls. The name of the waterfalls came from the British, and more precisely from the Scottish. During a 19th century expedition in Cyprus, Scottish have discovered the area and they were impressed by its beauty. Therefore, they have decided to call it "Caledonia", which was the Latin name referring to the land area that today is Scotland. The longest trail of the area, and the second longest in Troodos, is the nature trail of Psilo Dentro (translated as "Tall tree"). It is a circular route of 9km and it follows a path through the striking pine forest, while at its highest points it offers panoramic views.

Nestled in the slopes of Troodos Mountains, Platres was always an idyllic resort destination, as it gives the opportunity to discover the culture and the lifestyle of the countryside, explore the religious side of the island, but also reconnect with nature while skiing in the snow-slopes in the Winter or hike in the various trails in the Summer.


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