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Village History

Cyprus History and Archeology

Village history

Below is the history of Kalavasos, we have also written a History of Kontoyiannis House and a Photo History for anyone interested to know about the house and the family

The area of Kalavassos

Kalavassos is one of the oldest villages in Cyprus: early inhabitants are thought to have lived in the area situated south east of its present location which was called 'Petrero' that at the time was next to the sea. 'Petrero' (full of stones) so named because this spot is now covered with stones from the original village.

At around the 5th Century AD the inhabitants were forced to relocate because they had to hide and ensure that the Saracens could see no light from the sea. Usual spots favoured for this purpose would have been a side of a mountain or a valley. They chose the valley, since it was served by a large river and surrounded by great forests, hence the name 'Kalavassos' which originated from the word 'Lush Forest Valley'. The name Kalavaso or Kalavato also appears in 16th Century on Franco Venetian maps of the area.

The inhabitants have always been engaged in animal husbandry and working the land. In recent times they have also worked in the numerous mines and the 'Vassiliko' cement works.

In the period 1938 - 1950 Kalavassos was one of the largest mining communities in Cyprus and many people went to work and some even settled there. Remnants of the era are the little train with its carriages used to transport copper to the 'Vassiliko' where it was crushed and refined before shipment.

Kalavassos is one of the new tourist villages found in Cyprus, which still maintain their character and charm and have not become at all commercialised. The village has retained its individuality and sleepy atmosphere that is typical of an old style Cyprus. It has all the facilities required by the modern day traveler at the same time retaining the pace of some older era. The Church and the square with its old style coffee shops are still the focus of the community. All the shops and the bank are nearby and people gather there to say hello over a cup of coffee or a drink.

There are numerous archaeological sites in the area, many of which have not yet been uncovered or excavated. The main ones are:

    • Pro Ceramic Neolithic site of 'Tenta' [7000 - 6000 BC] Cyprus Tenta
    • Neolithic site 'Kalavassos A' at 'Kotchinoyia' [4500 - 3800 BC]
    • Bronze age site at     i) 'Agious',     ii) Kalavassos B at 'Pamboules'
    • Bronze age site at 'Agios Demetrios' [2000 - 1650 BC] 

        Kalavasos Ayios Dhimitrios

In Cyprus the Bronze Age was very important because almost pure beds of copper and iron pyrites were discovered in pillow lavas along the northern side of the island. There is evidence that copper was mined as early as 3000 BC; the export of which brought great wealth and many invaders to the Island. According to findings some of the ore was smelted on the spot in primitive furnaces located in exposed positions (in order that the wind could give the necessary draught to raise the temperature). Wood and charcoal were used to smelt the ores, as a result many of the forests near the mines were cut down and used. The copper was then exported in ingots to all the countries around Cyprus. In 1500 BC the demand for copper increased and was the chief reason for the Romans taking the Island.

Ancient Cyprus Web Project

History of Kontoyiannis House

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