Troodos is the largest mountain range of Cyprus, located in the center of the island. Troodos' highest peak is Mount Olympus at 1,952 meters which also hosts 4 ski slopes. 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 mountains are 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.
The Troodos mountains are known worldwide for their geology and the presence of undisturbed specimens of ophiolite. These mountains 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 and near-cessation 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 ago, 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.
Troodos is renowned since antiquity for its dense forests and rich mines. It provided timber and copper for the construction of ancient ships and weapons that fought the battles and naval engagements of the classical era.
In Byzantine times it became a centre for religious art, as monks and ordinary folk built and decorated superb churches and monasteries, away from the regularly raided and pirate savaged coastal lowlands. Nature has been particularly generous to Troodos.
Its lower slopes alternate between terraced vineyards and the Phoenician juniper maquis, found in abundance near the coast, sprinkled in places with pink rock rose and wild lavender. Bright green pine trees and majestic cedars dominate in the higher elevations. It is an area of extreme natural beauty throughout the year. Whether escaping the summer heat, walking or cycling along scenic routes in spring or autumn or sipping a hot beverage after a demanding skiing descent in winter, Troodos is the place for all seasons.
Troodos provides a wide range of hotels, traditional houses and agrotourism establishments for accommodation and hosting of small scale seminars or conferences. There is a choice of nearly 2,000 available beds, in different types of licensed establishments, from basic village accommodation to 4*star hotels.
The region offers an abundance of things to do and see. It is an area of fresh air, winding nature trails and scenic panoramas. Walking or cycling through forests on mountain trails, attending village festivals, experiencing the local traditional gastronomy, or discovering the cultural treasure of the UNESCO World Heritage churches are among the main pursuits. Birdwatchers, botanists, geologists, ramblers, bikers, photographers and nature lovers seeking a relaxing break away from the cosmopolitan coastal resorts will be delighted.