Your hostess at Kontoyiannis House, Christalla Vassiliou was born and brought up in England and decided to move over to Cyprus with her husband when their children were very young. 'We wanted them to grow up in Cyprus where they could enjoy sun, sea and freedom'.
Coming to Cyprus meant a complete change in lifestyle and trying to earn a living in a country that is completely alien to you is a big undertaking. We found that being a smaller country you are limited in what you can do as a job. Neither my husband or I could carry on with our careers since he was 40 at the time and I was 33, he could not find a job as an Electrical Engineer and I could not find a job as a computer programmer. Its who you know in this country, not what you know. Its really the same whatever country you come from its just that things are more apparent in small countries like Cyprus.
My brother also John decided to join us in Cyprus and he now looks after the orchards at Kontoyiannis where our guests are welcome to pick their own fruit at any time. John also helps with greeting our guests.So you can see that this is a truely family run business.
We decide to convert our house in Kalavasos in the 1990's when we realized that other people might enjoy a holiday unspoiled by the passage of time. Big city holidays are not always indicative of the identity of the country. You have to live how the locals live to experience the real country.
The best part of living in Cyprus for me is being able to spend some time in the winter months olive picking. Whatever other work I have I leave behind and just go out there and pick the olives with the family. We only produce for ourselves and some friends, we never sell it, It's just so satisfying knowing that you are eating your own olive oil.
These are some of the wonderful life experiences of the 'real' Cyprus that we hope to share with our guests.
Christalla Vassiliou purchased this apartment in 1993
It is not known exactly when Kontoyiannis house was actually built or what it originally looked like. The only thing that is known is that it was first built in the later years of the Turkish occupation and in the north eastern part of the site owned by the father of Kontoyiannis, Christofi and his wife Lambou.
The house known as Kontoyiannis house was the original house of Yiannis Kontoyiannis and was inherited by his younger daughter Polixeni who is the current owner.
At the time when Mr. Kontoyiannis' seven children were growing up, the house was at its glory. The old part of the house which can be seen on the other side of the wall in the courtyard (and was later sold) was used as the stable and for storage. The stables housed poultry, and other animals; including oxen and horses.
There were many servants and workers for the land and at mealtimes the garden was often full of trestle tables with up to 50 or so people. Any VIP or church dignitary visiting the area was always accommodated at the house and was usually given the large top bedroom (in which most of the Kontoyiannis clan was born).
The architecture of the house has the characteristics of houses built in the later years of Turkish rule; that is thick strong stone built walls, large rooms, inner arches, partitions of rooms, courtyard and numerous windows. The extension to the house began between 1870 and 1890 and included the upper floor with two external staircases (none internally) and wooden balconies.
In the period between 1956 - 1986 the house was uninhabited. In 1983 it was renovated but with great care to keep its character and make sure it was representative of a traditional Cyprus village house; this was done with guidance from the Cyprus Tourist Organization. It was decided to convert the building into four spacious self-contained apartments.
Every room was designed and constructed to European specifications, with space and comfort in mind; at the same time insuring the traditional feel is not lost. Kontoyiannis House satisfies all safety and operational specifications required by the Electricity, Health, Fire and town planning Authorities of Cyprus.
The house officially opened its doors in the summer of 1995 and operates under the newly established 'Agrotourism' scheme of the Cyprus tourist organisation.
Visitors to the house and those who have spent their holiday there have been very happy; most have returned and do so whenever they can. They feel a sense of belonging!
Location; Kalavassos is centrally located for easy access to the rest of the Island. It is 5 minutes drive from 'Governors Beach', 20 minutes from Limassol, 35 minutes from Nicosia and 30 minutes from Larnaca and Larnaca Airport. It is now only a one hour drive to Paphos.
Guestbook comments from the manager