Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Explore the Vasilikos Valley... with your dog

Kalavasos Dam
One hot day in July, I was lucky enough to have a brief tour of the Vasilikos Valley by one of the main specialists of Bronze Age Cyprus, archaeologist Alison South (director of excavations at Agios Dimitrios, Kalavasos, and co-director of the Vasilikos Valley Project). Together with archaeologist Ian A. Todd, Alison surveyed a total of 135 sites throughout the valley, from the Aceramic Neolithic to the Mediaeval period (see page of the Department of History and Archaeology of the University of Cyprus: http://www2.ucy.ac.cy/isa/ekdilosis%20synedria/13.htm)

A good, basic summary of archaeological work carried out in the area of the Vasilikos Valley can be found here: http://www.kalavasos.org/en/archaeological-places-len/archaelogies-len/
There is so much to see in this area, it is well worth a full day exploring. The Bronze Age site of Agios Dimitrios is closed to the public, but you can see quite a lot from outside the fence. Another important site in the area, the Neolithic settlement at Kalavasos-Tenta, which is visible from the nearby road (Larnaca-Lemesos) due to its impressive tent-like modern shelter, is open to the public Monday-Friday. (see Department of Antiquities, Cyprus website for more information on Kalavasos-Tenta:  http://www.mcw.gov.cy/mcw/da/da.nsf/All/F9048934D768E989C225719B003413CE?OpenDocument)
View towards to sea from the Kalavasos Dam


While visiting archaeological sites is not an obvious dog-friendly activity, this area has a lot to offer for a day out with your dog. We started by the old copper mines, just outside of the village of Kalavasos. From here you can take various paths around the valley, which is really incredibly beautiful and quiet. The mountains here do not have the impressive height of the Troodos, but seem to continue endlessly off into the distance in every direction, and since so few people visit this area, it is wonderfully peaceful.

From the mines, we drove the short distance to the dam, and walked across the top where the views are fantastic. This dam provides water year round for the villages of the Vasilikos Valley. You can fish there too, with a license.

Alison told me of sites that were submerged when the dam was constructed, as well as of the paths you can take from there up to various tiny mountain villages (such as Parsata and Vavla) and beyond, to the Monastery of Panagia Galaktotrofousa.

Exploring in the other direction from Kalavasos, you can find the late Roman settlement of Kopetra (just off the B1 going toward Mari), where excavations uncovered a number of dwellings, as well as 3 small basilicas (6-7th century AD). For location see: http://pleiades.stoa.org/places/707544

As it was too hot for hiking, we just wandered around the dam looking at the views, but I am definitely going to come back to explore this area more thoroughly in the autumn.



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