Old Choletria

Published 29th of August, 2018

Modern Choletria lies on the F617. You might drive through it if you are headed up to the Troodos from Paphos. However, if you are approaching from the direction of Nata, you will first arrive at Old Choletria. At first glance, there is not much to see here, but it is worth taking a slight detour to explore...

Distant Old Choletria

old_choletria_01

Our journey begins on the outskirts of Nata. Looking across the Xeros Valley you can see the old church and a few other buildings. Nothing looks particularly abandoned from here, but that is just your eyes playing tricks on you.

Old Church

old_choletria_02

As you can see when you get closer, that church is in ruins. However, it is clearly a church, and not a mosque. This will give you a clue as to why the village was abandoned. The Choletria website has the full story. However, I will summarise it here.


The traditional history of Choletria begins about 500 years ago. Originally it was placed upon a barrow across from the sea, but this made it vulnerable to attack, so they moved to Old Choletria, inside the Xeros Valley. The village's first inhabitants were all stockbreeders, who later became more agricultural.

Signs of Life

old_choletria_03

Continuing the History...


On the 10th of September, 1953,Choletria sustained substantial damage in the Paphos Earthquake. The inhabitants tried to move the village, but the colonial government wasn't really interested. Some repairs were done to houses that were damaged and a few shanties were built replacing the ruined houses -and life went on. This however led to the gradual abandonment of the community.

The winters of the late 60s were very hard, and there were large-scale landslides in the area. The villagers put pressure on the government, and even went to Archbishop Mararios for help.

The operations for transferring Choletria started on the 10th of March, 1971. They stopped during the Turkish invasion, but continued on the 18th of August 1974. The operations continued intensely and on the 11th of January, 1975, the first family settled in the new village, to be followed by other families. On the 17th of July, 1975, the new village was supplied with electrical power and by the end of the same year all the families resettled in the new village.

Modern Shrine

old_choletria_04

So, Old Choletria was abandoned because of the weather, not because of inter-communal fighting.

When I explore these old villages, I always experience slight feelings of guilt. Part of me feels that it is wrong to gain pleasure from looking at people's ruined lives and dreams. But I feel less guilt when the village was abandoned due to the weather.

Don't worry, I have no plans to stop exploring these villages, I find them very poignant places and I know from some of the comments I get that people from all sides of the divide get pleasure out of seeing them.

Rain Needed!

old_choletria_05

In the distance, you can see a very empty reservoir. The Asprokremmos needs rain.

Page 1 of 7

Related Blogs:

Foinikas Revisited

When we first blogged about Foinikas it was springtime, and the abandoned village was bathed in a sea of yellow. It was always an essential destination on our holidays, but we had never been in Spring, so it came as a pleasant surprise. However, it made it difficult to explore, as you never know what you might tread on when you have to wade through thigh-high flowers. As frequently happens with our blogs, people posted more information about the site in the comments. So we decided to pay another visit a few days ago, and explore it in more depth...

Abandoned Villages - Statos

Statos is unusual, as abandoned villages go. People deserted it not because of inter-communal fighting, but because of the threat of landslides. And then, no sooner had they emptied, some of the abandoned buildings were repopulated. Were villagers returning, or had outsiders moved in, prepared to take the risk of landslide?

Abandoned Villages - Agios Fotios

Given that I wrote a blog about Statos last week, it would be unfair of me not to cover its close neighbour, Agios Fotios. Their histories are intertwined, as they were both abandoned for the same reason. Indeed, they merged to form a new, single town, called Statos Agios - Fotios. So what was left behind...

Latest Blog Articles

Polemi Concentration Camp

As you approach Polemi from the B7, you pass the Kamanterena Winery on your right. Just beyond that, if you are paying attention, you will see a lookout tower that wouldn't look out of place on a WW2 movie. A couple of ancient armoured vehicles might also perk your interest, so pull over, and take a look at Polemi Concentration Camp.

Ayia Napa Sculpture Park

The Sculpture Park in Ayia Napa was built in 2014, and since then has been delighting tourists and locals alike with its eclectic range of art work. Last summer we visited the area and had to include it on our itinerary. What started as an orderly photo shoot soon descended into an excited clamber along the many paths that criss-cross the landscape of the park. Far too numerous to feature them all, we present some of the many weird and wonderful sculptures you can see when you visit this wonderful park.

A short walk through the countryside around Kallepia

Now that we are getting the occasional dry day again we thought it time we started our selection of blogs on walks in and around the countryside of Paphos. For our first excursion we are visiting the village of Kallepia, situated near the Ezousa Valley and Minthis Hills Golf Course.

Ezousa Estuary

A couple of years ago we stumbled across a sad little memorial at the mouth of the Ezousa River. We thought we would check it out again a few days ago, to see what the area looked like after the rains. The question was, how would we get to it?

Latest News Articles

Tensions rise over Strovilia violations by Turkish military

The government said on Thursday it was in contact with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp) regarding recent tensions in the Strovilia area, where the Turkish military is said to have further advanced its position, in violation of the status quo around the buffer zone.

Limassol land registry operating like a ‘free-for-all’

The Limassol district land registry is operating like a free-for-all, with staff frequently covering for one another by punching in coworkers’ cards – the most glaring case occurring recently where an employee punched in for a colleague who, unknown to him at the time, had died the night before.

British High Commissioner to host live Facebook QA session

Today the British High Commission in Nicosia announced that they were going to hold a live Facebook QA session on Wednesday 27th February at 17:00 (Cyprus Time)

Part of old Limassol-Paphos road to close for three months

Parts of a three-kilometre stretch of the old road from Limassol to Paphos near Petra tou Romiou will be closed for three months, from February 21 until May 21, due to a serious problem with erosion, police announced on Wednesday.

The road will be closed to traffic for about 200 metres at a time. Access from Paphos to Pissouri and Limassol will only be possible via the motorway.