Kalopanayiotis: a vision rewarded.
LOCALS may already know the village of Kalopanayiotis which woos tourists with its gorgeous setting, historical and ecclesiastical monuments, and sulphur-rich hot springs but its community is now hoping that its title as Cyprus' own 2011 European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) will attract even more people and funding for its ongoing regeneration project.
Kalopanayiotis and runner-up Fini, both in the Troodos mountains, participated in this year's EDEN competition under the theme of Tourism and Regeneration of Physical Sites and were awarded yesterday at the European University Cyprus.
The European Commission's EDEN project awards one destination per participating country with a different theme each year - 26 European countries such as Turkey, Iceland, Spain and France have taken part so far.
The winners are chosen by local authorities, which in Cyprus were officials from the Department of Town Planning, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Union of Cyprus Communities.
"I remember being nine years old carrying tins filled with sulphur water on the donkey to deliver to homes and hotels," said 64-year old hotelier, Evgenia Hadjistylli.
"I remember its heyday, when it was filled with tourists and people flocked to use its famous springs."
She has been running St Andronikos hotel apartments for about three years now and her love for Kalopanayiotis is obvious: she drove 70 kilometres to Nicosia to make yesterday's award ceremony.
The enthusiasm village residents have for their village was noted by the president of Kalopanayiotis cultural centre, Anthi Kyriakidou.
"There are people who returned from the city and spent their bundle of savings and their pensions to improve the villageC* Don't think it's only the rich who have been investing in Kalopanayiotis," Kyriakidou said.
Kyriakidou was referring to the decision in 2001 to draw up a masterplan to regenerate Kalopanayiotis which was then in dire need of regeneration.
Cabinet approved the masterplan in 2003 and since then the village has made use of almost e1/49 million in funding from the EU and the state; private investment is calculated at about e1/414.7 million.
The village now hopes to secure partial funding from the CTO for its hot springs.
The other Cyprus contestant, Fini village, keeps traditional crafts alive with residents still making hand-woven chairs, pottery and leather pouches made from animal hide.
Find out more about the villages at www.kalopanayiotis (Greek only) and www.phinivillage.com.
Copyright Cyprus Mail 2011
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