The small beautiful village of Pitsilia, with its long-term history and the beauty of its monuments. Platanistassa is a mixed Greek village of the Nicosia district in the heart of Pitsillia on the north side of Troodos. It is 50 kilometres from Nicosia, going from the Nicosia-Peristerona-Orounda-Kato Moni-Gefiriou Panayias road, and 40 kilometres going from the Nicosia-Anthoupoli-Agrokipia-Gefiriou Panayias road.
Platanistassa is built at an average altitude of 940 metres. The location which is it built at is on a mountain with deep valleys and hilltops which exceed 1000 metres. The whole location is split by the river network of the Peristerona Serachi River.
Archaeological remains such as pre-Christian tombs in the area of the primary school and on top of the cafes and the centre of the village, show that its roots are very deep. Authentic Homer words and other everyday words used in the village witness the Greek roots of this village from the depth of history.
The ruins of deserted communities in the areas Peratides-Dipopotamia, Vrisi tis Zindilas, Aspri, Marathos and others show the constant habitation of the community of Platanistassa. Frank names such as Louvaras , Vikla , Klados tou Rousia , and Vasialias in the middle of the village show the life of the village during the Frank dynasty on our island. According to the medieval chronographer Georgio Voustronio , the village Platanistassa was given along with other villages in January 1474 to Georgio Kandarini the Count of Yiafa who was a relative of the Queen of Cyprus Katerini Kornaro.
In older maps the village Platanistassa is marked as Platanista or Piatanista. There are three versions as to the name of the village Platanistassa:
The first version is that the name comes from the tree planatanos. Platanistassa means location which is full of platania.
The second version is that the village took its name from the palace , he holiday mansion of the Frank royal family which was located in the centre of today’s village, in the area Vasilias. The third version is related with the butterfly shape of the village, which looks like a platina. Platana is a horseshoe metal which was placed on the bottom and back part of the boots which were made by the local shoemakers in Pitsilia.
Archangelos Michael Church
In the centre of the village is the large church of the community Platanistassa dedicated to the General of the Sky, Archangel Michael who is celebrated on the 6th of September. This church was built during the 19th century and was built in the place of another smaller one filled with iconographies. That church was of the 15th century and was demolished as the villagers did not know its value.
The cemetery of the village was located in the church square. Later on another cemetery was built and the bones of those who were buried at Archangelos Michael church were moved. The visitor can admire the wonderful templo of this church and the exceptional icons which are dated to 1883.
Agiou Ioanni Theologou Church
To the north area of the village, the area known as Laoude is the church of Agiou Ioanni Theologou. This church took the place of another one which was renovated during the 17th century and was used as the main church of the village until the church of the Archangel was renovated and took its form which it has today. This church has a wooden roof and has been fixed by the department of antiquities with the donations of Kyprianos Kouppa who spent money for the creation of the village square. In this church a visitor can admire the exceptional iconostasis of the 17th century and its icons.
Virgin Mary Katafigiotissa Church
At the south part of the village, at the Gounari Σon the hilltop location Katofidi in a majestic pine area is the newest chapel in the name of Virgin Mary Karafigiotissa. The chapel was built with a lot of love by the residents of the village towards the mother of Christ, the mother of all believers and Christians, during the difficult years of the epic fight of EOKA 1955-59. The chapel is built under the shade of a tremithia which protected the Greek children of the village during the hideous child snatching of the Turks. It is the wish of all residents that this small chapel is renovated and that the area surrounding it becomes an area of relaxation for the visitors as well as the locals in Platanistassa.
Museum of Traditional Art and Heritage
The museum of traditional art and heritage is housed in the area of the olive mill. It began its operation during 2000, six years after the restoration of the olive mill building. The construction of the museum was completed by the community council and the cultural services of the ministry of education and the ministry office of Nicosia. It includes items from the olive mill as well as other everyday items such as cooking utensils and agriculture items.
In the area where the museum of traditional art is housed, there used to be an olive mill. It is interesting to meet the everyday life of the old residents in Platanistassa. In particular it displays the work needed from the collection of the olives until the production of olive oil.
From the end of October until the end of February, the villages would go to the field in order to collect the olives. The louvima as it is known is the collection of the olives. The louvima was done by hitting the olive trees. Then the olives would fall on the ground along with some branches. Then the branches were placed on the donkeys which would transfer the braches to their homes where they would then choose the ones for eating and the others were used for the production of oil.
The olives which were used for the production of oil were transferred to the olive mill which had a millstone, a pressure stone, and stone bowls in order to collect the oil in. It is worth mentioning that the old olive mill of the village was located in the square of the Archangelos Michael church and this served the needs of the village as well as the surrounding area.
The mill has two stones the skoutellin and the mill stone. The skoutellin is a round stone which was used as a basin and the mill stone is a round stone which spins. The mill stone is turned by the use of a donkey which was tied to the end and turned it. As the donkey turned the stones would crush the olives.
Another part of the olive mill is the press. The press is made up of a horizontal base with two poles and a wooden screw which moves amongst them pushing the zembilia with the olive pulp placed on top of each other on the base of the press. A circular channel collects the oil which runs through the zembilia and is placed in a clay pot in the ground, the dani. In order to get the whole oil out of the olive pulp the zembilia are pressured a second time after being covered in hot water. The oil was stored in clay pots however in order to keep its quality it must not have been placed in another container.
One and a half kilometers north before the entrance of the village of Platanistassa, is the water mill which was used for the production of flour and groats. The water mill was used by the villagers and other residents in the surrounding area.
This water mill is one excellent example of water mills of rare beauty. It is located nearly a meter above the river bank on the south side, opposite a green area with chestnuts and walnuts, a beautiful scene.
The small river begins from where the two double rivers join, Alona - Platanistassa on the one hand and on the other and Polystipou-Livadion-Alithinou on the other. It has a length of about 200 meters and reaches a well reserved water tank of the mill. From there the water falls and hits on the wing which turns the water mills and crush the wheat making flour or groats.
The community board of Platanistassa decided that the mill is transformed into an area for producing traditional flour. The water mill was owned by the church of Archangel Michael of Platanistassa which rented it out to various mill people. It was then sold to Mr. Katsiarti and from him to a painter Theodoto Kantho. Today it is owned by the daughter of Theodoto Kantho.