Kontoyiannis stone built traditional house, in Kalavasos village, very large family house cantered around a courtyard; renovations on the house were careful to keep the character. Kalavasos, nestled in the King River Valley at the foot of Kalavasos Dam is a lovely village, caring and hospitable to all its visitors, centrally located for the whole of Cyprus. 5mins drive sea, Governors beach and Zigi fishing village. Pick grapes while sitting on your balcony or fruit from our orchard! You can even help us pick our olives if you come during the winter months. Come see how traditional haloumi cheese is made over a wood fire.Suitable for summer or winter holidays with A/C and central heating, the house is great for relaxing and experiencing typical Cypriot living. Each apartment has its own en suite bathroom with bath and is S/C with full kitchen facilities including cooker with oven. All apartments have satellite TV in each bedroom. To enjoy nature at its best, visit in the early spring
Cyprus village life is friendly and relaxing: Kalavasos is a mining town which had its heyday in the late 40's and 50's when it was bustling with workers from all over the island. There were three mines to be exact of Gold, copper and pyrite. The ore was taken down to the Vasiliko factory by train and crushed, washed then shipped worldwide. Nowadays the mine is not is use and work is under way to make it into a museum along with the little train which will be rerun to take visitors up to the mines. The villagers have always been friendly and hospitable. The atmosphere of the village is very relaxed and happy. The village square is always bustling in the afternoons and evening with most of the men of the village congregating for a coffee, a game of Tavli and a chat. Kalavasos has quite a few coffee shops and tavernas for a nice meal. Zigi fishing village is less than 5 minutes drive with its quaint little promenade and fish taverns and Governors beach which is also 5 minutes away, has some lovely beaches and restaurants.
The traditional house: Kontoyiannis House is a family house family run. The house was built in the 1890's by Yiannis who was a wealthy landowner with many workers. The courtyard of the house was filled with trestle tables in the summer to feed the 40+ workers that worked on the land. All nine of the Kontoyiannis children were born and raised in the house and moved away to have their families. The house was left to our mother who also left for some years to live in England. It was renovated in the early 1990’s and again in 2006. There is a wonderful atmosphere of peace and tranquility in the house which is heightened each spring with the return of the swallows. Quite a few swallows nest in the house and it is a beautiful sight to behold. The stone architecture of the house is what keeps it cool. There are a couple of lovely arched alcoves to sit under in the courtyard and the entrance hallway which also opens out onto the courtyard is a great place to sit and meditate.
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Agrotourism the alternative tourist experience: Cyprus Agrotourism aims to preserve the traditional Cypriot environment and way of life and to offer a holiday experience which gives a taste of the old Cyprus. We have a large orchard within walking distance, where fruit is available for picking all year long. Mostly citrus fruit such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit and bread fruit can be found here as well as many varieties of grapes, figs, pomegranates and apricots to name but a few. Olive trees which ripen in the winter time can also be found in the orchard. These are picked and taken to the olive mill where they are pressed to produce olive oil. Visitors are welcome to help pick olives and join us at the mill to see how the oil is made, there is olive oil on tap and you will find fresh toast to dip into the fresh oil; it is a wonderful taste of the good life. Up in the hills of the village there is a lady who keeps goats and makes some traditional haloumi cheese over a wood fire, she is always happy to have visitors
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.
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.