Have you gone through your list of friends and family to make sure you’ve bought each one the right present from your holiday in Cyprus? Still short of ideas? Then make a beeline for the main part of any town – particularly the old centres and tourist hubs – and you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Modern souvenir and curio shops abound in these areas and if you want something that screams out ‘I’ve been to Cyprus’ then you can get hold of many (sometimes rather funny) variations of the ubiquitous Cyprus T-shirts and keyrings. But if you want something a little bit more special that you can take back home with pride, then jewellery always makes for a fine option.
But if you’re looking for something really different to take home, why not consider buying a traditional Cypriot hand-crafted ornament or souvenir? A good place to head to is the Cyprus Handicraft Centre, a non-profit organisation which has branches in all main towns. Prepare to get your mitts on locally produced ceramics, basketry, carved wood, silver and copper products. But if you really want to seep up tradition in all its glory, Laiki Gitonia in Nicosia could prove to be just what you’re looking for as quaint craftsmen’s shops sit beside dusty antique stores and a whole manner of weird and wonderful places that have stood the test of time.
A little further afield, the Chrysaliniotissa Crafts Centre, near the capital’s imposing Famagusta Gate, has a choice of craft shops selling all sorts of creations including restored antiques, hand-blown and stained glass, handmade dolls, aromatic herbs and candles. Sit down for a little respite and you can watch the craftsmen busy at work in their shops, located around a pretty central courtyard with a veggie café (Inga’s Veggie Heaven) on the grounds dishing up delights to cure those hunger pangs.
For something truly unique, hit the road and head for the hills towards Limassol as the village of Lefkara beckons all those with a penchant for all things pretty and handmade. Famous for its lace embroidery made by the women of the village, the art is one that has been passed down through the ages; most claim that it was taught to the inhabitants by the Venetian ladies of the 15th century when the island was under Venetian rule. But it’s not just all things lacy that the picturesque village is known for. Take a walk through its narrow lanes and you’ll also be dazzled by local silverware with shops calling out to the curious visitors as silversmiths busy themselves with intricate filigree designs, their workshop doors usually flung open as they greet passersby.
Want to catch a glimpse of more goods produced by local talent? Traditional Cypriot crochet and filigree lace can also be found in Omodhos village near Limassol, while Phiti village in the Paphos area specialises in colourful hand-woven tray cloths and rugs. Then there’s a host of other villages where all shapes and sizes of hand-woven items such as bags, baskets, cushion covers and wall hangings can be bought including Geroskipou, Droushia and Miliou.