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Cyprus Articles [ Agros Village in Limassol Cyprus ]

Agros Village in Limassol Cyprus

While wandering in the picturesque roads of Agros one can meet the tradition, history and culture of the island. But let’s now begin our tour in one of the most beautiful village of Cyprus.


One of the most remarkable aspects of Agros is the amphitheatrical way it is built. The traveler will be amazed by the beautiful buildings of folklore art which decorate the centre of the village. All the houses are built with local materials and more specifically big and rough stones. The roofs of the houses are either pitched or flat. Skopa notes that the village was developed in a linear way along the street which unites the two churches of the village.


The church of Panagia and the Apeitios School will impress every traveler with their size. The church is three-aisled, grandiose and has a very beautiful bell tower. The main material used for the construction of Apeitios School was a local stone, called gavro. The different colors and shades of the stone, caused by the years, don to the school a special beauty. Near the School you can see the monument dedicated to the hero Petros Iliadis who died during the national fight against the English conquerors in 1955-59.


There are two more churches in the village: the one dedicated to John the Baptist and another one dedicated to Apostle Barnabas. The first one is the longest church in the island and the latter belongs to the old calendarists.


In the village you can also find the kindergarten, the nursery and the elementary school. There are also two banks: the Bank of Cyprus and the Agros Cooperative Bank.


The village is making a great effort in the fields of sports and culture and this is obvious through the “Agros Athletic Club” and the “National Sports Center”. The Club has its own football and basketball teams. The Sports Centre has a cultural centre and theatre.


There is also the “Graduates and Friends Club”, the “Forest Friends Association” and the “Women Club of Agros”.


The traditional fountain of “Kaouras” is a place that you must definitely visit. The fountain was built in the early 20th century and water flows all year long.


If you visit the village Agros, do not miss the nature trails! You will be amazed by the incredible flora and the scents of the beautiful flowers. You should also visit the park of Anastasia for a quiet walk and rest.


We must also note that there are two important museums in the village: the museum of Frangulidis and the Museum of Folklore Art. The first museum houses pieces of art of the great Cypriot artist Solonas Frangulidis. He actually painted many portable icons of the church of Panagia Eleousa. In the second museum you can see a traditional olive mill.


Finally, for those who wish to stay in the village, there are many traditional houses for accommodation as well as hotels (Rodon, Meteora, Vlachos). We also recommend you to try the delicious foods and sweets in the several traditional taverns.








THE MUSEUM

One of the most important museums of the island is the “Museum Fragoulidi” and it is built near the church of Panagia in the village Agros. The museum was founded in 2004 to honor Solomos Fragoulidis who was one of the greater representatives of the first generation of Cypriot artists. He is also considered a pioneer painter and hagiographer.


The love between the painter and the habitants of the village was mutual and it grew during the stay of Fragoulidis in Agros from 1932 to 1934. The painter writes in his biography: “Concerning my painting, the two years I have spent in Agros, were the happiest of my entire life. I felt loved by the people here…”. The village returned this love by building the museum in his memory.


His work has both an artistic and religious value. He was the hagiographer who undertook the painting of all the portable icons of the church of Panagia.


The idea for the foundation of the museum belongs to Solon Papachristodoulou who was actually the god child of the painter as well as his only heir. He inherited all his fortune, reports, patterns, unfinished paintings, paintings, several materials and accessories for painting but also his rich record. Fragoulidis explains in his biography how he met Solon. He says that a young couple asked him to become the best man at their wedding and then christen their child. And he did so. He also decided to name the baby after his own name, Solon.


Solonas in corporation with the “Association of Farmers and Friends of Agros”, the members of the Executive Council and the help of the entire village organized the museum. The building was donated by the church.
The money for the completion of this museum came from two sources: loans and donations.


Below we will mention the people who contributed for the organization and embellishment of the museum: the architects Crysanthos Pissaridis and Elena Kalliri, the museologist Manolis Kamassa, the conservator of works of art Glafkos Efstathiou, the building constructor Andreas A. Tsolakis, the civil engineer Andreas A. Tsolakis and finally the owners of the Gallery “Kiklades” Marios and Leonidas Tilemachou.


The museum is without a doubt a treasure for the village and it is something that every visitor should meet.
















TRADITIONAL ARTS/OCCUPATION
 

The rosewater


In the village Agros, you can find a special kind of beautiful and fragrant roses. The locals use them to produce the famous rose water.


Rose water is produced from “rodi damaskini” which is a special cultivation of roses. The wide spread of these roses was made by Nearchos Kliridis. These roses have a beautiful scent and they are the most adequate for the production of rose water. Some years later, Nearchos Kliridis has brought to the village the first still, which is a necessary tool for the production of rosewater.


The traditional way of rose water production requires the use of a still which is composed of a cauldron and a barrel. The barrel must be full of water. Below we describe briefly the procedure for the rose water making:



  • The roses are placed in the cauldron with plenty of water. For every kg of roses you must add half kg of water.
  • In the meanwhile, the fire is turned on and the mixture in the cauldron is simmering. The steam which is created is going through a copper pipe into the barrel.
  • In the barrel, the steam is liquefied and become rose water with incredible scent.

For each kg of roses which is used in this procedure, 2 kg of rose water is finally produced.


Sweets


The village Agros is also popular for the great variety of traditional sweets. The most common are the sweets with syrup.


There are around 40 to 50 kinds of sweets in syrup, such as the walnut, the cherry, the water melon, the grape, the quince and the rose. The inhabitants of Agros claim that the sweet made of rose is very good for health as it can cure several illnesses.


The majority of the visitors prefer the sweet made of walnuts (karidaki).


The manufacture of these sweets lasts two days. They are put in syrup which is made of water and sugar.


The women from the village make another delicious sweet the “machalepi”. It is usually prepared during summer and it is served cold with rose water, water and another traditional liquid made of rose and with red color.


In conclusion, in Agros you can find many delicacies that will amaze you. Their common characteristic is the traditional preparation.


Meat products


The meat products which are produced in Agros are very special and known for their taste and scent. They are usually salted or smoked and they are produced with the traditional Cypriot recipes.


Some of these products are the “chiromeri”, the “lountza”, and the “bacon”. These three products are made of pork meat, wine and salt.


The “chiromeri” is put in salt, later on is put in wine and then in the “kapnistiri” (a traditional tool) where it is pressed so that the liquids of the meat come out. The entire procedure lasts 3 moths.


In the lountza and bacon a special spice is added, the coriander which offers a lovely scent. The preparation of these two meat products lasts two weeks. Firstly the meat is put in wine and salt and coriander and then in the kapnistiri. They have a very special scent that will amaze your senses.


Another popular and traditional product of Agros are the sausages. They are made of mince pork meat, wine, salt, coriander and other spices. They are also put in the kapnistiri and they are ready in a week.


Pastourmas is a kind of sausage which is prepared in Agros and it is also very popular. It is made of beef, a variety of spices, garlic and salt. The preparation lasts 3 days and when it is finished, the “pastourmas” is left under the sun for several days. 


Undoubtedly, the small industries of meat products in Agros have managed to rescue the traditional recipes of pork products with great success.


 


CHURCHES

The Church of “Panagia Eleousa”

The so called «Agios Theofanis en to megalo Agro» (Saint Theofanis in the Great Agros), the firm fighter of the Icon Wars and prior of what was then the Monastery of “Panagia Eleousa” (Blessed Virgin Mary the Merciful) who descended from Asia Minor, had been condemned and driven away. He was exiled to Samothraki in 817 AD and died there. From 817 until 842 (the era of Iconoclasm) this firm supporter faithfully performed his duties. The prior was condemned because he refused to subscribe to the Imperial Decrees, which turned against the icons. The monks living with him in the same monastery (preserving the same name that was dedicated to “Panagia Eleousa”) in Asia Minor, decided to also come to Cyprus after his death. Having come to Cyprus, they resided in a cave in the region of the village Agros for some period. It is not known for how long they stayed in the cave. In 817 they also brought the icon of “Panagia Eleousa” to the monastery in the Agros village. The monastery, being packed with monks, was in operating regularly. Later on, between the 16th and 17th century, a large-scale epidemic of the deadly disease cholera struck the area. In order to protect themselves from the epidemic, all the inhabitants moved and constructed their houses right outside the monastery, under the wing of the Virgin Mary. Thus the village of Agros was created. The monastery properly functioned until 1830. Afterwards, the monastery no longer hosting any monks, the Metropolitan Diocese started to let out the monastery’s cells. To some degree they were exploiting the monastery. This tactic continued until 1880. We ought to mention that during the Turkish domination people granted their estates to the monastery so as to avoid the taxes that were enforced on them. However, the inhabitants rose up and started having claims themselves. One of them had suggested that if the monastery got demolished then the Diocese would no longer preserve its rights. And so it was done. In 1894 they demolished the monastery. When the Metropolitan Bishop went to perform a liturgy in the monastery he found himself facing it demolished in astonishment. This was not accepted by the Metropolitan Diocese and as a result they imposed a fine on the inhabitants.


In that same year and right on the same spot, the inhabitants started building today’s church, which still exists now at the center of the Agros village, at their own initiative. The operations ended in 1909. It is a cross-like structure with a dome. It is quite a big church that can accommodate up to 1500 of the faithful. Externally it is made of local stone. The Church is 97 feet long and 48 feet wide. The dome’s height is 49 feet and the surrounding wall is 4 ½ feet thick. The steeple is a real sight, tall and adjacent to the church’s north-east corner, bearing three large bells. Internally it is whitewashed but with no hagiographies. The High Altar remains the same, having been saved during the demolition of the monastery. The icon screen it the church’s special treasure. It is woodcut. It bears carefully made, beautiful icons of the saints that were made by the renowned hagiographer Solonas Fragkoulis from 1930 until 1934. Inside it is flat and quite spacious, a women’s loft having been added. The women’s loft was constructed later on in 1955. The icon dedicated to the Virgin Mary is still in existence and it is quite old (1856). This icon was covered by a silver, painted cover. This was kept until 1987 when the unveiling of the holy icon was performed. This icon has been preserved and today it can be found in the nearby little church, which was constructed in 1990 so as to remind the existence of the “Monastery of Great Agros” in this area. Along with this old icon, there are some other extant items from the monastery such as a piece of the icon screen and the icon of Christ. It celebrates on the 21st of November, the day of the Virgin Mary’s Presentation to the Temple. A large fair takes place and many are the faithful that come to kneel before Her holy icon.


The Church of “Timios Prodromos”


East of the village, in the midst of the traditional houses, the church of “Timios Prodromos” (John the Baptist) was constructed around 1860. It is due to the initiative and the contributions of the inhabitants that it was made. It is of the Basilica style with tiles on the roof. It is 100 feet long and 25 feet wide. It is unique throughout Cyprus with regards to its length. The Church’s inauguration was done in 1892.


In 1984 the roof had to be replaced since the passage of many years and the plentiful water of rain that gradually penetrated had caused serious damages, thus deeming its replacement necessary. Externally a low-rise wall that is coated with local stone surrounds it. The yard is comfortable and also covered with local stone. Two note-worthy fountains, coated with stone, were constructed in 1990. One is in the east of the yard and the other in its west.


Inside there are some hagiographies such as that of “Panagia Platytera” over the chancel. The rich in chasings, wooden icon screen was made in 1914. The two gates, the “Oraia Pyli” (“the Beautiful Gate”, central) and the north gate (to the right), are formed in the icon screen. Inside it is flat. In 1960 they paved a new floor, the former one with the old slates no longer being able to sustain trampling by the believers. The dedicated icon dates back to 1887 and it is found on the icon screen right next to the holy icon of Christ. It celebrates with a fair on the 29th of August, the holy icon of the Saint being carried about in procession.


Without any doubt, the visitor will be impressed by the nature beauty, the museums, churches, monuments and above all by the traditional hospitality of the locals.


 


Reference:
Community Coouncil of Agros






  

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