Troodos National Park is located in the central part of the island of Cyprus. Troodos is a mountain range covered mainly with coniferous forests, although in some places there are deciduous forests. In summer, the temperature in these places is lower than in the beach resorts in the areas of Ayia Napa or Paphos. In winter, there is snow and a ski resort.
The highest mountain in the Troodos range is Olympus (Olymbos). It has a similar name to mount Olympus in Greece, where the gods of ancient Greek mythology lived. The height of the Cyprus Olympus is 1952 meters. There is a road leading to the top of the mountain, but the viewpoints are located lower. At the very peak of Olympus are military bases, access to them is closed. The Artemis trail runs around Olympus, where you can enjoy beautiful views of the Troodos mountains, as well as walk among the spruce and cedar forests. Its length is 7 kilometers.
Troodos village is located 3 kilometers from mount Olympus. It has many hotels and is the center of both skiing in winter and mountain trekking in the summer season. On the northern slope of Olympus, as well as on the neighboring slope, which is called the Sunny Valley, there are 11 ski trails. In winter, there is enough snow for comfortable skiing. In summer, you can walk along the trails around the village of Troodos, surrounded by pine and cedar forests.
The Cyprus cedar is the pride of the Troodos mountains. This endemic tree grows only here at an altitude of at least 400 meters above sea level. Cyprus cedar is called short-coniferous, and it is different from the Lebanese. On average, the Cyprus cedar trees live for about 500 years. There is a cedar grove near the village of Troodos, as well as on the Western slope of the mountain range, closer to Paphos.
For centuries, the Troodos mountains have been a haven for Orthodox people and monks. They often had to hide from persecution, both during the rule of the crusaders and Venetians, who forced people to convert to Catholicism, and during the Turkish rule. Many churches and monasteries were built in the Troodos mountains. Nine of them were included in the UNESCO historical heritage lists.
The most famous and rich monastery in the Troodos mountains is Kykkos monastery. There is a Kykkos icon of the Holy Virgin, which is one of the oldest. According to legend, it was painted by the Evangelist Luke during the earthly life of the Holy Virgin. The monastery is located on the slope of mount Troni at an altitude of 1140 meters. On top of this mountain, at an altitude of 1318 meters, is the Tomb of Archbishop Makarios III. He was the spiritual and political leader of Cyprus after the country`s independence in 1960.