Troodos (Greek: Τρόοδος) is the biggest mountain range of Cyprus, located in the center of the island. Troodos' highest peak is Mount Olympus at 1,952 metres.
The Troodos mountain range stretches across most of the western side of Cyprus. There are many famous mountain resorts, Byzantine monasteries and churches on mountain peaks, and nestling in its valleys and picturesque mountain villages clinging to terraced hill slopes. The area has been known since ancient times for its mines, and in the Byzantine period it became a great centre of Byzantine art, as churches and monasteries were built in the mountains, away from the threatened coastline.
Geology of Troodos
The Troodos mountain is known worldwide for its astounding geology and the presence of undisturbed specimens of ophiolite. Troodos slowly rose from the sea due to the collision of the African and European tectonic plates, a process that eventually formed the island of Cyprus. The slowing down and eventual almost stopping of this process left the rock formations near intact, while subsequent erosion uncovered the magma chamber underneath the mountain, allowing a viewing of intact rocks and petrified pillow lava formed millions of years in the past, an excellent example of ophiolite stratigraphy. The observations of the Troodos ophiolite by Ian Graham Gass and co-workers was one of the key points that led to the theory of sea floor spreading.
Away from the beach areas tourists find charming traditional villages to explore many remain unspoiled by development or tourism. There are monasteries, beautiful churches and breathtaking scenery to enjoy. The Tourist Office supplies visitors with information and leaflets on recommended walks/trails in the area. The most well-known trail in this region is the Caledonia Falls; it follows a stream to an impressive waterfall. The Troodos Mountains in Cyprus are known for their snowy vistas and has a large number of accommodations from camping sites to 5 star hotels.
The region is known for its many Byzantine churches and monasteries, richly decorated with murals, of which the Kykkos monastery is the richest and most famous. Nine churches and one monastery in Troodos together form a World Heritage Site, originally inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1985. The nine Byzantine churches are:
- Stavros tou Ayiasmati
- Panayia tou Araka
- Timiou Stavrou at Pelendri
- Ayios Nikolaos tis Stegis
- Panayia Podithou
- Ayios loannis Lampadistis
- Panayia tou Moutoula
- Archangel Michael at Pedhoulas