We continue our excursion to the mountains through the Marathasa valley. After leaving Pedoulas, we find ourselves entering the Troodos forest.
The once steep, narrow, curvy roads are today widened and repaired. But the beauty of the tall, aged pine trees is the same, as is the fresh, clean, cool forest air. As we take our first deep breaths of this energising air, the same relaxing feeling of our long-gone youth comes back to us, bringing with it a strength to feel young and vibrant once again.
These dreams of the past lead us to Prodromos, the last village of the valley and, incidentally, the highest village in Cyprus. It is known for its cold and rainy winters and its cool, dry summers.
Reaching the crossroad on the outskirts of the village you may choose one of the coffee shops or restaurants where you can relax for a bit before continuing your journey.
This place is a resting point for travellers, holiday makers and pilgrims, who take one of three roads onwards: the northern up-mountain road through the forest to get to Troodos, or the northern down-mountain road towards the Marathasa valley villages and Kykko Monastery , or the southern down-mountain road to the Trooditissa Monastery and Platres, a road which passes through many small valleys and streams.
Prodromos was a popular holiday resort during the mid-20th century, with its magnificent Berengaria hotel which overlooked the village and surrounding mountainous region being the place to be for the Cypriot and Middle Eastern elite. The grandeur of the hotel is now long gone, and it lies closed and desolate.
Today, the village is under-populated, as the younger generations prefer the cities, but it does gratefully accept a few holiday visitors who rent the empty houses.
Prodromos village also has the only forestry college in Cyprus, which welcomes students not only from the island but from all over the world.
It seems that the village goes back as far as the medieval ages as it appears in the Venetian maps of Cyprus and also in descriptions by visitors to the island during that period.
One of the main activities of the villagers used to be to dig wells to store snow during the winter months and supply the towns with ice during the summer period. Of course, today this is no longer needed, and their main activity is instead agriculture. You can see small fruit-tree orchards – mainly apple, pear, cherry, peach and walnut trees – and some vineyards.
After lunch we decide to continue our journey to Troodos by taking the up-mountain route through the forest – a journey I will take you on next time. I hope you will enjoy the route as much as I have always done in the past.