inside old church old church middle church new church

Paralimni is situated in the South East of Cyprus, a little way inland, within the Famagusta area.

Since the illegal Turkish occupation of the North, Paralimni has increased in size and status.

The population of Paralimni was swelled by the many refugees fleeing from the Turkish occupied North. Many of the people who service and work in the tourist industry of Protaras live in Paralimni. Paralimni is now the administrative centre for the district.

Architecturally Paralimni is nondescript, little if anything remains of the original village. Outside of the town centre the houses are not very attractive - squat rectangular blocks. This is more than compensated for by their very attractive gardens, especially when the trees are in blossom or fruit.

Within the town square are three churches and an open air theatre. The most interesting church is the oldest. It is open to the public and now serves as a museum. Inside there is a collection of icons, religious robes and a few interesting old photos and portraits. The other two churches are not open to the public.

The shops surrounding the square are modern and ugly.

For the tourist the shops are very good for ceramics. These range from licensed copies of ancient museum pieces to modern original creations. Prices are cheaper than nearby Protaras.

In recognition of its newly acquired status Paralimni boasts an M&S - easy to overlook as about the size of an English high street newsagent and offering very poor value for money.

The shops are closed Wednesday afternoon for half day closing, also midday for siesta.

A number of quiet bars and cafes can be found in and around the square. These make a very pleasant change from the noisy English disco-bars of Protaras and the moronic banter of the English DJs. Several net cafes have recently opened.

Whilst Paralimni may have little of architectural merit, it is renowned for its dancers and folk poets, who are regarded as some of the island's best. A tradition that has passed down through the generations. These dancers and poets are in great demand at every social event, especially at weddings, fairs, religious and other festivals and contests. They are particularly proficient in love songs and tsiattismata. The love songs are rhyming couplets or four-line stanzas on the theme of love, passion, women and the trials and torments of lovers.

A regular local bus service runs along the coastal strip from Paralimni, through Protaras, to Ayia Napa.

Not far from Paralimni is the village of Dherinia. Apart from three interesting churches Dherinia is best known for its views of the ghost city of Famagusta - once the major tourist resort of the island, now empty and under illegal Turkish control.

windmill The countryside surrounding Paralimni has rich red soil and is famous for its picturesque windmills - used to draw water from underground aquifers to irrigate the surrounding land. Sadly many of these are now derelict having been replaced by electric or diesel-powered pumps. An example of a working windmill can be found in the centre of Paralimni.

Before the rise of tourism, the rich agricultural land surrounding Paralimni was the source of Paralimni's wealth, and is still of great importance.

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(c) Keith Parkins 1996-2006 -- June 2006 rev 21