Lapithiou is a village with a doubly troubled past. Rebuilt after the 1953 Earthquake, the prefabricated replacement was then abandoned during the later troubles. But life goes on, as we shall see...
This is Lapithiou from a distance. If you drive into Kannaviou from the Polemi direction, there is a turning just after the first restaurant you come to on the right. It is easy to miss, so drive slowly. You can also find it by following our First Cyprus Road Trip, which takes you through Kannaviou and up to Panagia.
The mosque you will see pictures of in the next pages is behind trees on the right of the picture. The older ruins are to the right of this picture. To the left of the picture is the main road.
We shall begin our visit in the old part. You can just make out a ruin in the centre of the picture. We are on the track that goes from Kannaviou to Statos. If you like a bit of off-roading it is a fun route. It is easy to miss the old village though, as it is shielded from the track by a ridge.
So let's get a bit of the history, from the PRIO database.
Lapithiou is a village located on the southwest foothills of the Troodos mountain range, two kilometers southwest of Panayia Khrysorroyiatissa monastery. The village was completely destroyed during the 1953 earthquake, and in 1954 the government (British) rebuilt the whole village from prefabricated houses. Goodwin claims that the village was named after a place in Greece from which its first settlers may have migrated sometime during the late Bronze Age. However, Turkish Cypriot villagers claim that the name means “small Lapithos,” and they believe that the first settlers of the village came from the town of Lapithos/Lapta in the Kyrenia region. Turkish Cypriots adopted the alternative name of Bozalan in 1958. It might have been inspired by a name in Turkey.
Old Old Lapithiou
So, prior to 1953, there was a village here with over 100 residents.
Towards The Newer Town
It is worth noting that on the hill at the top right of this picture are some more ruins, but they have been bulldozed.