“ALONA”; OUR VILLAGE
Located in the northern side of the Troodos mountain region, surrounded by the peaks of “Madari” and “Papoutsa” and on an altitude of 1200 metres, is our village, Alona, the existence of which had been known since the very first years of the Frankish occupation.
On the village’s “feet” spreads a unique green valley full of hazel trees. Alona is literally covered in green and fruit gardens with all kinds of fruit baring trees and large pieces of land containing dry-fruit trees, thus establishing our village as one of the most beautiful ones on the island. What is more, one can find fragrant fruits of all kinds during the 7 months of the year, starting with cherries in May and finishing with late grapes in November.
All four seasons of the year are quite intense in the village. In the winter, the village is dressed with a rich white snow “fur”, spring gives the village an aromatic sense produced by the blooming almonds and fruit trees, in the summer it is covered in green and coolness, whereas autumn covers the village with its gold leave colour.
Its asphalted central streets, a large part of which is covered by thick grape pergolas, make you forget that you are in mountainous Mediterranean village, but instead they create the impression that you are in a road crossing a tropical forest. The same feeling, but a more intense one, is felt while walking along trails surrounded by hazels and which are met in every small or big valley. Nature Trail “Petros Vanezis”, which passes below the hazels, is visited by hundreds of nature lovers throughout the year. It can be characterized as one of the most beautiful trails in Cyprus.
The traditional stone-built houses of the old neighbourhoods with the paved uphill alleys covered with mountain stone, take you back to more nostalgic times. While strolling along, one encounters the remains of a popular builder’s works who has forever left his mark in the village.
The church of the village, surrounded by cherries and other trees, was built in 1835 upon the ruins of a former church, which according to tradition used to be a monastery destroyed by a fire. Placed among the icons is the one of Agios Georgios, protective saint of the village, which was painted by the famous painter Cornaros of Crete. Also old is the miraculous icon of Panagia (Virgin Mary) “Galaktotrofousa” whose fame was spread not only in the area but around the entire island of Cyrpus as well. In fact, up until a few years ago, women from all over the island resorted to her grace so that they would have enough milk to nurture their babies. In 1998, in an exhibition of the Treasures of the church of Agios Georgios of Alona, there was a revelation of the icons during which a rare icon of Agios Georgios was discovered below the silver sheathings, and which is considered to be the only known work of Symeon Protiereos (1641) apart from the icon of Panagia Chrysogalousa (1648).
The ancient chapel of Panagia (Virgin Mary) “Kardakiotissa” was restored after it was ruined by a fire in 1987, and it has recovered the form it originally had before the renovations that had taken place in the 60s. The only item salvaged in the church is the ancient icon of Christ since the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary was burnt.
A few years ago, the love of the people of Alona was the driving force that helped reconstruct the chapel of Agios Nicolaos Symfylos which is located near the Forest Station of Panagia, 3 km away from the village of Kato Moni. The chapel was built on the ruins of an old church of Agios Nicolaos and its inauguration ceremony was held in 2008.
Today, the village is struck by the curse of rural depopulation and numbers less than 70 residents during the winter period. In the summer, the residents number increases significantly and each trail resumes life full of happy children’s voices.
Many expatriates are trying to acquire their country house by renovating their old houses, whereas foreigners are trying to buy a piece of land to build their own house. Can there really be somebody who has spent at least one summer day in our cool village with the wonderful dry climate and not want to spend his or her summer holidays here, away from the noisy city and the heat of the plain, where the sun is hot enough to bake bread.
Despite rural depopulation which bedevils our village, the progressive residents of the village, urged by an intense public spirit, continue their efforts for progress at their place of birth. At the centre of the village stand the private buildings of the Cooperative Credit Society which house the supermarket, as well as its stony building housing its offices, the warehouses and the large events hall. A bit further stands the building of the Athletic Spiritual Club of Alona, the Community Library, whereas the Community Council offices and the Community Infirmary are housed in buildings located in the big square of the village with the big theatre stage.
The expatriate young people of Alona do not forget their village. Almost everybody participates in the Athletic Spiritual Club of Alona which numbers 135 members, the majority of whom are expatriates who try as much as they can to elevate their village. The club called “APOA” organizes various events and celebrations to boost the athletic, spiritual and cultural level of the Community and the region of Pitsilia in general.
Using a substantial financial aid by the Cyprus Sports Organization, the community stadium has been converted into a modern mountainous sports centre with lavatories and stands.
What is more, “The Master Plan of Alona” has been approved for our village, based on which planning has been initiated for the effectuation of various developmental projects aiming at the growth of the village and at bringing the good old days back. It is a project mutually funded by the European Union and the Republic of Cyprus and it aims at a rationalistic development for our village. This is what we are going to base the salvation of Alona on.