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Cyprus & Greece Highlights (culture, history, news) (17)

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 18:24

The Local trademarks in Mykonos Island, Greece

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Mykonos

 

Mykonos is famed for its picturesque beauty, bright sunny days, sandy beaches and wild nightlife but the island has so much more to offer. In order, to truly and completely experience the island you must not neglect the opportunity to visit some of its top landmarks, which symbolize the islands culture, customs and traditions.

Are you looking for a perfect place to have your annual vacation? Or do you want to take a break from the daily hassles of your life? Rhodes, Greece is the ideal destination for all your vacation purposes. Located in Greece,  Rhodes is a fairly large island that boasts of having very amazing scenery. There are not many islands in Europe or even allover the world that match up to the uniqueness of this island’s scenic beauty.  Rhodes has a great deal of very beautiful places that you should visit when on the island. These places include:

 

Lindos Rhodes Greece

Image by Richard IJzermans

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 19:51

The Landmarks of Mykonos, Greece

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Mykonos Island is located on the Cyclades and is a popular tourist destination known by travelers from all over the world. The historical and cultural background nurtured and preserved on the island is comparable to none. For this main reason, archeologists from all over the globe come here to explore the ancient architecture and some of the most famous spots on this spectacular island. Some places though, have earned more fame than others. They have been used as visual displays to a majority or travel guides and brochures to attract visitors. Over a long period of time, they have established themselves as landmarks to the island. Here are some of them:

 

Little Venice

 

Little Venice - Mykonos

Image by ptorrodellas

Monday, 16 September 2013 09:32

Wine Tours in Cyprus

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Wine Tours in Cyprus

The island of Cyprus


Cyprus

Cyprus is the gateway to eastern Mediterranean culture and three gorgeous nearby continents. The area is known for its sun soaked beaches, breathtaking scenery, exquisite dining and of course, its wine. Oenophiles (wine enthusiasts) have known about the secret pleasures of the Mediterranean coast for a very long time. Boasting some of the worlds oldest wineries from Sicily to Athens and Corsica, the bouquets found here are unlikely to be seen in any shops or restaurants outside of the regions from which they originate.

The local countries maintain exclusive rights to their signature flavors and bottle in limited supplies. As a consequence the only to way to experience each unique delicacy is to visit the homes of the vineyards where their distinct flavors originate. One particularly adored and coveted location for sampling the fine fare the old world has to offer is the island of Cyprus. Specifically Limassol region.

Following is a guide to some of the can’t miss wineries you should definitely visit on your vacation.

Lambouri Winery


All rights reserved by onirovins

Lambouri is one of the highest vineyards in Cyprus, sitting atop the gorgeous Troodos mountain at 1128 meters (3700 feet) above sea level. They are also the only winery that produces one of the world’s oldest variations, Yain Kafrisin. They produce a superb range of international award winning flavors from chardonnays to Cabernets, organics and their famous Maratheftiko.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/onirovins/6841383183/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Cyprus Winephoto credits: courtesy of Onirovins

 

Shoufas Winery


Shoufas Winery

Shoufas Winery is a family owned traditional establishment handed down through generations of innovation and constant expansion. They specialize in Maratheftiko and Cabernet Sauvignon. Located deep in the countryside, thirty minutes from Paphos in the village of Kilinia, Shoufas is remote, rustic (despite recent remodels) and surrounded by vineyards. Today, much as in the past, produce from the winery is still largely consumed locally and contained to the island.

Zambartas


All rights reserved by onirovins

Nestled in the village of Agios Amvrosios on the southern slope of the Troodos mountains, Zambartas resides in the heart of the Cyprus wine country in the region of Krasochoria Lemesou. The internationally famed courtesy and hospitality of locals becomes immediately evident as Zambartas serves it’s elegant Xynisteri to groups of up to 30.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/onirovins/5628568968/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Cyprus Winephoto credits: courtesy of Onirovins

 

Where To Find Wine In Cyprus

One of the greatest parts about visiting Cyprus is that you don’t have to venture too far inland to get a taste of all the fine varieties available. There are several fine dining options serving up the best of the local palate within walking distance of the island's renowned beaches. The Royal Apollonia Hotel located within a stones throw of the gorgeous azure waters of the Mediterranean, has several dining options on site that routinely serve the regions finest choices from all of the local wineries. The Soho Wine Bar in Limassol is a New York inspired local favorite offering a smaller, targeted menu but also serving some of the best local food delights for just the right pairing.

Monday, 16 September 2013 09:28

Traditional Villages of Limassol Cyprus

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Traditional Villages of Limassol Cyprus

Limassol, Cyprus


Limassol is an eclectic mix of modern comforts and ancient wonders. For the best visit spend some time in the city and then head out into the country to appreciate this countries humble beginnings. First find yourself a good home base. The Royal Apollonia Beach Hotel is a great start, located within feet of white sand beaches and turquoise blue seas every journey requires a refreshing place to rest. While you’re there for the very best in traditional Limassol food visit Meze Taverna on St. Andrews street. They sell the finest Grecian cuisine in a warm atmosphere and more than generous portions.

Since the sustainable tourism initiative established routes for tourists to discover the inland wonders of Limassol and Cyprus, a wealth of opportunities have presented themselves for intrepid travelers seeking to find something more from their vacation spots. Whether for anthropological curiosity, cultural and craft exposure or wine tasting adventurous there are numerous reasons to leave the beaches behind, seek higher ground and come face to face with what life in Cyprus is all about.

Omodos


Limassol itself was once a simple seaside village between the ancient cities of Amathus and Kourion, known as Neapolis (New Town.) Its historical center revolves around the old port and Kolossi Castle built in 1210. The nearby village of Omodos still maintains this ancient mystique. Stone paved roads lead down old world alleys to open air markets and eventually a Medieval monastery built in the 17th century. The village produces an abundance of wine, so should you arrive in August, definitely visit the wine festival held annually.

Lefkara


The village of Lefkara can be found along route 2 of the tourism map available at any hotel for about 5 euros. This mountain village can be found on the southern slopes of the Troodos mountains. The name translated in Greek means roughly ‘White Hills.’ Lefkara is famous for lace making and silver crafting. The culture remains largely unchanged over the centuries. A common sight in the cobblestone streets of Lefkara includes local women sitting in the narrow streets preparing their fine embroidery. Legend has it that Leonardo Da Vinci visited Lefkara in 1481 and attained lace cloth for the altar of the Duomo di Milano.

Kalavasos


The village of Kalavasos is located in the Larnaca district. The village has existed since the new stone age and is situated near a local copper mine. This traditional village has fluctuated in population over the last century always hovering well below 1,000 inhabitants. For a real look at unspoiled traditional culture look no further.

The many villages of Cyprus offer insight on what it’s like to be a resident Cyprus. Far from the beach resorts and fine dining of Limassol and Paphos. The residents here still enjoy the same cultural traditions of their ancestors and maintain their heritage faithfully. Visitors will have no trouble imagining what it was like to walk these streets in centuries past as much has gone unchanged. What has developed over time is the wine industry which has elevated the ethnic pull of the area. Wine making is a family business in Cyprus passed down through the generations developing rare varieties unavailable anywhere else in the world.

A visit to the mountains of Cyprus island should always include plenty of time to wander and explore. There is more beneath the surface of this popular vacation spot than can be easily conceived upon arrival. Give yourself time to slow down and appreciate the quiet calm and subtle charm that exudes from every moment spent amongst this ancient and interesting culture.

Monday, 16 September 2013 09:26

The History of Pafos and its Attractions

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Pafos, History


Pafos

Far back in antiquity the port city of Pafos, Cyprus was founded. As far back as the 12th century b.c. in fact. The city exists in its current form as two separate settlements, Old Pafos and New Pafos. New Pafos is the currently inhabited area. Originally a pilgrimage site for worshipers of the Grecian goddess Aphrodite, Pafos quickly became the capital city of Cyprus. Over the years nearby metropolitan areas such as Cyprus’ two largest cities Nicosia and Limassol have drawn attention away from this original cultural and historical center. Development and tourism may have favored its neighbors but the city of Pafos has a lot to offer. Many changes have taken place over the centuries leaving a storied and vibrant history just waiting to be discovered by curious travelers.

Petra tou Romiou


Petra tou Romiou

This towering sea stacks rising out of the Mediterranean. Is the legendary birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. Ancient mythology holds that the turbulent waters that routinely break against the rocks of the natural cove are the same waters where Aphrodite (Venus in Roman culture) first emerged from the sea. She was eventually carried to Cyprus by the currents. However, Pilgrims from all over flocked to this spot to build temples in her honor and worship their goddess. The nearby Sanctuary of Aphrodite is a timeless example of this.

Tombs Of The Kings


Tombs Of The Kings

The Tomb of The Kings is a large underground necropolis that remains largely unexplored. The area is still undergoing excavation. The tombs are named for the magnificence of their appearance. While it is unlikely that any actual kings were buried here, in favor of aristocracy from the nearby settlement of Pafos. The Tombs have existed in the location for at least the last 2500 years carved directly out of the surrounding rock.

Pafos Castle


Pafos Castle

Pafos Castle has played a large role in most of the turning points of Pafos and Cyprus as a nation. Constructed on the edge of the old port as a Byzantine fortress the castle was destroyed in the earthquake of 1222. When the island was invaded by the Ottomans the inhabiting Venetians dismantled the castle to prevent its use. The Ottomans reconstructed and reinforced the castle during their reign. The British used the castle as a warehouse for salt during colonial periods. Eventually the fortification was converted into a jail and recently has become the home of the annual cultural festival each September.

The Modern Era


The King Jason luxury hotel apartments

In modern times the face of the city has changed significantly. It has a developing tourism department and is seeing an influx of modern culture that promises to marry the ancient world with the new world. Pafos International Airport has recently expanded and includes many connections throughout the region. Louis King Jason luxury hotel apartments offer studios and suites for travelers blended into the residential neighborhoods of the island attracting a unique flavor of touristry. Brand name designers like Prada and Miu Miu have found homes in the Kings Avenue Shopping Center, attracting fashionistas far and wide. All in all this once popular, former capital turned forgotten wonderland of ancient intrigue has certainly begun to make a comeback.

Friday, 12 July 2013 16:29

Best Places to visit in Greece

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Greece is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe and has something to offer everyone.

 

Holidays in Greece

Greece is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe and has something to offer everyone. Whether you are looking for golden beaches, great shopping opportunities, some of the best nightlife around or a chance to soak up historical sites in the birth place of Western civilization, the country is awash with great places to visit.

Athens

Athens

Athens should be high on anybody’s list when trying to find the best places to visit in Greece. Western civilization began here and it was home to the first working version of a democratic society. The city is full of important archaeological and historical sites such the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Ancient Agora and the Theatre of Dionysus and the museums are a must visit for anybody with so much as a passing interest in the study of the past.

In a stunning contrast, set into this backdrop of the ancient world is a vibrant modern capital city with all that has to offer including a fantastic nightlife, some of the best places to sample Greek food in the country and modern cultural pursuits such as shopping, art galleries, theatres and sporting events.

 

Meteora

Meteora

Meteora is a series of monasteries built on cliffs stretching over a thousand feet into the air. Situated in the northern part of central mainland Greece overlooking the villages of Kalambaka and Kastraki, the earliest of these monastic buildings dates back to the 14th century. They were built by monks seeking solitude from the everyday hustle and bustle of life and religious freedom from the Ottoman Turks.

To gain access to these monasteries, the monks would have to climb a cliff face or be hauled up by other monks while stood on a platform attached to ropes. These days, they are much more accessible however and visitors can take advantage of steps that are now provided for those who want to visit these magnificent feats of architecture.

 

Corfu

Corfu

A visit to the most northerly Ionian Island Corfu, is a great way to sample in one place the diversity of cultural and architectural influences the county has seen over the years. These include the many foreign invaders that have ruled there such as the Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Venetians, the British and the French.

 

Crete

Crete

The largest of the Greek islands, Crete offers several different landscapes and can be considered several types of holiday destinations in one. It’s a great place for hikers who can explore the rugged mountains and countryside, while those who prefer to soak up some rays will not be disappointed with the spectacular beaches on offer. The busy cities offer all the advantages of modern living while the smaller villages in the county provide holidaymakers with a more rustic experience.

 

Mykonos

Mykonos

Mykonos is another island that has a lot to offer when it comes to diversity and it is one of the most cosmopolitan, friendly destinations in the whole of Europe. It has great beaches, historical sites and some of the best scenic spots you will ever whiteness, but what Mykonos is really famous for its non-stop nightlife.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013 13:30

Best Places to visit in Cyprus

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Best Places to visit in Cyprus. Cyprus has many places to visit including a beautiful coastline with spectacular beaches, quaint rustic villages, historical and cultural sites.

 

About Cyprus

Cyprus is an island situated in the Eastern Mediterranean and is the third largest and third most populous island in the region. It has many attractions for tourists including a beautiful coastline with spectacular beaches, quaint rustic villages with breath taking scenery and historical and cultural places to visit to rival even those of nearby Greece.

 

Agia Napa

For beaches, the best place to visit on Cyprus is the clear white sands around Agia Napa in the south east of the island. Makronissos Beach is a great place for small children due to its lack of currents and shallow waters and the nearby Makronissos Tombs, a Neolithic burial site consisting of 19 tombs cut into the rocks, make it educational too.

For those who love to walk and take in the scenery, a walkway that starts at Nissi Beach is perfect. Heading east along the coast, you eventually come to Kermia Beach which then leads to a nice nature trail that takes you to Cape Greco which is home to lofty cliffs, sea caves and sparkling clear waters.

 

Cyprus Museum in Nicosia

The Cyprus Museum in Nicosia is a must visit as it is home to one of the best archaeological collections in the world. The artefacts cover the Stone Age to the Byzantine era but the museum is perhaps best known for its Bronze Age collection. Amongst the highlights that delight visitors are;

  • Ritualistic figurines in terracotta from the Agía Iríni shrine from the 6th and 7th centuries BCE
  • Recently discovered lions and sphinxes from Tamassos
  • The “Horned God” from Enkomi, a famous 12th-century bronze figurine
  • A limestone statue of Zeus hurling a thunderbolt, influenced by Assyrian art
  • Mycenaean type tomb finds from Salamis

Winery Tours

If you are in the mood to sample a little local wine, there are three big wineries near the old fishing port of Limassol, KEO, ETKO, and LOEL. These tours are quite strictly laid out so if you prefer to do a little wandering and exploring, of both the area and lesser known beverage brands, the vine-terraced foothills of Limassol district has a number of villages that produce their own local wine which can be sampled in the local taverns.

 

The Troödos churches

The Troödos Churches situated on the mountains of the same name north west of Limassol are easily accessible from Nicosia. They don’t look like much from the outside but on closer inspection, they are clearly amongst the best places to visit on Cyprus and the frescos from the Byzantine period will have lovers of art history watering at the mouth.

 

Larnaca

For lovers of water sports, Larnaca is the place to be, especially for the scuba diving opportunities there. The Zenobia is considered one of the best wreck dives in the whole of the Mediterranean and is to be found a little way out at Larnaca harbour. An electrical problem caused the ship to run into problems on its maiden voyage in the 1980s so it was sunk at its current location, complete with over a hundred lorries still chained to the decks.

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 08:48

Best beaches in Cyprus

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Beaches in Cyprus

Cyprus is one of the favourite holiday destinations in the Mediterranean attracting thousands of people each year. While there are several factors that attract them, for many it is the chance to soak up the sun on some of the best beaches to be found anywhere. Long stretches of white sand, crystal clear waters and spectacular sea caves make it one of the most picturesque places around.

Ayia Napa & Protaras

Some of the best beaches in Cyprus are to be found in Agia Napa & Protaras on the south east side of the island. Makronissos Beach is a fish tail shaped beach that is the perfect place for families. Its shallow waters and lack of current mean that small children can enjoy the water in relative safety, giving mum and dad a little peace of mind.

Near-Nissi Beach is a great place to start a scenic walk towards Protaras and on the way, be sure to spend some time checking out the sea caves and cliffs at Cape Greco. When you get to Protaras, Fig Tree Bay and Green Bay are the place to be as they offer long white powder-soft stretches of sand and radiant turquoise water.

For those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle and the younger crowd, Konnos Bay offers protection from the prevailing wind and some of the best sunsets the island has to offer. Jet skis and motor boats are available for hire and the beach is overlooked by a great little café in case you get a little peckish.

Larnaka

Many beaches in this area are very clean, meeting international Blue Flag standards and have cheap sunbeds and umbrellas to rent. South of the town are Mackenzie Beach and Phinikoudes promenade which is lined with palm trees and has plenty of nearby shops, restaurants and bars so when visiting, you won’t have to go far to have all your needs catered for. Other beaches in Larnaka include The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) Beach which has great water sport facilities and plays host to beach volley ball tournaments, or for quieter places to soak up the sun, head towards Mazotos.

Pafos

Pafos has long sandy white beaches on one side and hills adorned with Aleppo pines and juniper on the other. Coral Bay is probably the pick of the beaches of this part of Cyprus though for those looking for a secluded place to hide away, Lara Bay is a great choice. It is also a protected nesting place of the island’s Green Turtles and at certain times of the year provides the opportunity for the unique experience of turtle-watching and volunteering to aid local conservation efforts.

Lara Beach, Akamas

The Lara Beach is well known as the turtle beach as it is famous for its turtle sanctuary to protect green and loggerhead turtles. Located to the north of Paphos, it offers some of the best scenery around and is virtually untouched by tourist development. You will need your own transport to get to the area but it is well worth the effort as the quiet beaches are set to the backdrop of authentic rural villages and acres of rolling hills filled with pines.

Friday, 07 June 2013 10:20

History and culture of Zakynthos (Zante) island

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Zakynthos History, Greece

Zakynthos 047

 

According of Homer, the first citizen of the island was the Prince Zakynthos, the son of King Dardanos of Troy, who arrived here amongst 1500 and 1600 B.C. Afterwards; the island was inhabited by the Arcadians, whose culture established through the exploitation of the fertile soil. They went on to found colonies. An additional colony was also Kodonies in Crete. Later, Zakynthos was ruled by King Arkisos of Cephalonia and was subsequently conquered by the famous Ulysses. Upon Ulysses return to Ithaca and with Neoptolemos' mediation, a treaty was signed yielding autonomy and democracy on the island, the first in the Hellenic region.

The Early Years of Zante

In the 6th century BC, silver currency was originated, which illustrates Apollon three-legged. At the start of the Persian War Zakynthos remained unbiased, but in the battle of Plataies it took part against the Persians, and they beat them back to Asia.From 455 B.C. Zakynthos was associated with the Athenians and with Corfu, and faced together the Corinthians. Once the defeat of the Athenians in Cicily occurred, Zakynthos was captured by the Lacdaimonias (Sparta), who forced an oligarchic regime. Later on, the inhabitants rebelled and re-established equality.

Warfare in Zante

During the Macedonian War, the island was engaged by the Macedonians, and afterwards by the Romans. After the first years under the command of a Roman governor, the island was approved the right to be governed by its own laws, have its own town, parliament, legislature, and currency with a local symbol. This era donated to a great cultural progress on Zakynthos.In 34 A.D. Maria Magdalena and Maria Klopa, on their way to Rome, brought Christianity to the island and the name of the village Maries is a proof of this fact. Each year there is an excessive ceremony and feast to honor this occasion.

Later Years

Constantine the Great, during the Byzantine era, comprised Zakynthos in the province of Illyria. During this time the island hurt from pirates and, later on, also from the Crusaders, passing from the East to the West.In 1084, the island was employed by the Venetians; and from the finish of the 12th century until 1357, by the French.In 1357, the De Toki dynasty developed on the island. They paid to administrative and economic organization, which caused an important growth and progress of Zakynthos until the Turks attacked and the people had to escape from the isle to Peloponnesian.

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