The inhabitants of Agridhia, the 9th highest village in Cyprus,
have demostrated their respect for tradition through the establishment
of a church museum and the restoration of the village olive-mill.
Agridhia is situated in the heart of Pitsilia
on the main Karvounas-Agros road, at a height of 1,090 metres above
sea level. The village is proud of its contribution to the struggles
of the Cyprus people for religious and national survival.
The name 'Agridhia' means small estates or farms
and predictably its inhabitants are farmers and animal breeders.
At the time of the Frankish occupation the village was given to
a French clergyman called Jules.
Since 1993 the village has had its own church museum which aims
at preserving and presenting notable works of religious heritage
saved at the village. Unfortunately the old two-aisled Church of
Prophet Elias, built in basilica style and dating to the 16th Century
was demolished in 1954 and replaced by a new churche. Icons, holy
vessels, sacramental vestments and very old books, as well as a
carved wood iconostasis made in the 16th century by a high skilled
craftsman, are well preserved. The museum is housed in the gynaeceum
(the balcony of the church, which was preserved for women).
Of particular interest among the exhibits is the
recently restored iconostasis, which is indicative of the high standard
of wood- carving in Cyprus. All the old icons of the little churches
and chapels in the vicinity (St Paraskevi, St. George and Archangel
Michael) were restored at the same time.
Another project completed in 1995 was the restoration of the old
village olive-mill, which is next to the church museum. The wooden
press dating to the 19th century was carefully repaired and re-erected
At the village entrance is a small park dedicated to the memory
of two inhabitants of Agridhia who have been missing since the 1974
Turkish invasion it features a fountain in the middle and several
benches on which visitors may sit and enjoy a view of the village.
In the village square is a hero's monument with a central fountain
and rows of seats built in amphitheatre style.
The fragrance of multi-coloured flowers and the
tall trees that cast long shadows lend special character to the
village and create a beautiful setting.
Agridhia is flanked in the south-east by a forest of pines, cypresses
and acacias. A dirt road among the trees leads to the rocky mountain
peak, on which stands the Byzantine- style chapel of Prophet Elias.
Some remarkable mosaics can be seen outside the Chapel which is
covered internally by frescoes and there is a cobbled courtyard
which is surrounded by a protective wall. From here there is a breath-
taking view, stretching from the crest of Troodos and Madari to
Akrotiri on the southermost tip of Cyprus. EOKA liberation heroes
Christos Chartas (who fell in March 1956) and Savvas Rotsides (November
1958) have been remembered by the village with commemorative columns
erected at the spot where they died.
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