History

The Troödos ocean crust, created over 90 million years ago, was the first part of the island to emerge from the sea around 15 million years ago. Rocks such as serpentinite, dunite, wehlite, pyroxenite, plagiogranite, gabbro, diabase and volcanic rock can be found at high altitudes in the region.

According to Strabo, the Greek geographer (63 BC), Mt Olympus was the site of a temple to the goddess Aphrodite during the Hellenistic period. It was said to be not only unapproachable by women but completely invisible to them.

In AD 1571, Venetian generals built a fort on the mountain to keep invading Ottomans at bay, according to Cypriot nobles who visited the surrounding monasteries and summer recreation areas.

In the late 1800s Troödos became the summer residence of the island’s British governors, who came to avoid the scorching sunshine, and the area was considered the summer seat of government during British rule. At different points in its history it has provided a refuge for religious communities, freedom fighters and outlaws, as well as the wealthy of the Levant.

Nowadays, nature lovers, natural-history buffs and activity-seekers flock here for camping, hiking trails and skiing during the winter months.