Those who travel to Limassol from other Cypriot cities or villages rarely pass through the tourist area of Parekklisia, unless it is their final destination.
It is more convenient to pass this area along the high-speed highway, as it is faster.
Moreover, the short road from the St Raphael Hotel to the new Amara Hotel does not seem to be of much interest.
One-story houses along the road, several high-rises under construction (which are still far from completion), shops and restaurants - all this forms the image of Parekklisia as an exclusively tourist destination, where there is not much to do for a permanent resident of Cyprus.
The first impression, however, is always deceiving. There are many interesting places here, but they are hidden from prying eyes in the depths of the main road, Amathountos avenue.
The little-known facts of local history are no less impressive, because, according to one scientific theory, it was on the territory of Parekklisia that a cat was domesticated for the first time in the history of mankind.
Homeland of cats
In the late 1980s, a French archaeological expedition headed by Professor Jean Guilaine of the College de France was working in Cyprus. They conducted excavations on the territory of ancient Amathus and, completing their mission, decided to finally explore the "bedroom suburbs" of the ancient kingdom - the territory to the north and north-east of it. It was from there that water came to Amathus through the ancient water supply system, which means that people knew about these places and actively used them.
So Parekklisia got into the sphere of their interest.
There, in the town of Shillourokambos, about five kilometers from the sea, archaeologists have found the oldest settlement of the pre-ceramic Neolithic era, as it arose in the period from 8400 to 7000 BC. This meant that the settlement in Shillourokambos appeared on the island long before the ancient Amathus and even earlier than the settlement in Khirokitia, which until then held the second place in the history of Cyprus (in the first place is still the settlement in Aetokremmos on the Akrotiri peninsula).
Reconstruction of residential buildings in Khirokitia
The settlers who settled in Shillourokambos brought to the island animals that were not here before: pigs, bulls, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, roe deer and foxes.
Of these, only pigs and bulls were domesticated at that time, the rest were still not far from their wild ancestors, although they had already come into the field of view of a person and had the first contacts with them, thanks to which they were able to be transported from the mainland to Cyprus. If initially people ate cats, which may explain the fact that they were taken with them, then gradually these animals became an object of care, and not a food product.
WHAT? They ate cats?
Among the archaeological finds of Shillourokambos, a human burial was discovered, next to which a kitten was buried. Thus scientists concluded that the domestication of the cat could have occurred in Cyprus in the 9th millennium BC, and not in Egypt in the second millennium BC, as previously thought.
The settlement in Shillourokambos existed for about 1300 years, but after its final decline, these regions were not inhabited for a long time. Finally, around the 12th or 13th century AD, the inhabitants of the surrounding villages took a fancy to the fields here and began to cultivate them.
Around that time, the Church of the Holy Cross (Timios Stavros) was built (it still exists) and the first residential buildings around it. This is the historical center of the modern commune of Parekklisia, it is located about five kilometers from the sea.
Parekklisia Church of the Holy Cross (source)
The name of the village was originally Orites. Probably, Parekklisia could be formed from "panoklisia" (πάνω εκκλησία - upper church) or "palioklisha" (παλιά εκκλησία - old church). In the island's dialect, the village sounds like Parekklisha.
Parekklisia was originally a Greek Cypriot village, so the population exchange in the mid-1970s did not affect it in any way. The number of inhabitants has gradually grown since 1881, a sharp jump in two times occurred in the first decade of the XXI century.
Like almost all other communes and municipalities around Limassol, Parekklisia, whose historical center is located behind the highway, has gained its access to the coast.
Territory of Parekklisia
This is not a very large area (only about 0.4 square kilometers), which has recently been actively built up.
Tourist area of the village
We start our walk from the Amara Hotel.
Facade of Amara Hotel
The first step is to look at the residential area directly opposite it, across the road. This is the Coralli Shore Habitat quarter, built by DTA (we will meet with this developer more than once during our walk).
Gate to the territory of the quarter
To the north of this residential area, the same company built apartment buildings under the general name Atlantida Court.
We will not return to the main road from here, but go along the highway, walking through the area between the highway and Amathountos Avenue. We will find ourselves in a small, but neat and cozy area with private houses and residential complexes.
Having examined everything in this area, let us return to the avenue. On its southern side are the residential buildings of the Coral Beach Estate. The first building from the side of the avenue does not look very good, the rest are better.
A large plot of land next to the complex has been fenced off by the Crona Group.
Desolation 'triumphs' on the opposite side of the road.
South and North façades of the same building
We will cross the road again and inspect private houses.
Behind them, closer to the sea, hid one private villa and one house under construction.
The complex an the unusual design (the house seemed to be leaning back) thanks to the UHA London architectural bureau.
The same company prepared projects for the Limassol developer for such buildings as Sky Tower, Eden Roc, Infinity Towers, although the company's projects can be found all over the world - from Moscow to Bogota and from London to New Delhi.
Interested in accommodation in Parekklisia? Visit the DOM Real Estate Portal. The portal has the largest database of real estate in the country - from residential to commercial. Choose and contact professionals who will help you make the right choice!
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Photos: DOM LiVE