Trail Enetika Gefiria (Venetian Bridges Trail)
Length: 17km - Linear
Estimated duration: 6 hours
Difficulty rate: 3
Starting point: (a) Kaminaria village (b) Vretsia village
A wonderful, long trail, which passes from 3 bridges, Roudias, Tzielefos and Elia, all built during the Venetian period. The Venetians ruled in Cyprus between 1489 – 1571 and the bridges remain in a very good condition. It’s been said that these three bridges were built for camel caravans – Camel Road - to be able to transport ores from the mines, raw materials and timber to the Paphos port.
Τhe trail goes through the farm of Mita, Saouris cave, the farm of Saouris, past Pera Vasa picnic site where you will see a huge dry pine tree exhibited there. Most of the hike is through dense forest and offers its visitors panoramic views, one of which is overseeing the Arminou dam.
The bridge of Roudia was the first bridge we came across since we started our trail from Vretsia, an old abandoned Turkish village. We found it hard to find the trail's starting point and instead of walking 17km we hiked for 21km in total.
The distances between each point of interest are:
Vretsia village – Roudia Bridge 3km
Roudias Bridge – Tzielefos Bridge 6,9km
Tzielefos Bridge – Elia Bridge 3,9km
Elia Bridge - Kaminaria village 3,2 km
Roudia Bridge (Gefiri tou Roudia): Located in Paphos Forest, over Xeros river. Roudia Bridge is surrounded by rich vegetation of plane trees, alder trees and pine trees. Its name comes from the bush “roudi”, which its trade of bark and leaves was one of the main incomes during the Venetian period. After almost being destroyed during the 50’s by a powerful earthquake, its restoration took place in the 70’s. Its stunning scenery makes it one of my favourite locations.
Tzielefos Bridge (Gefiri tou Tzielefou): The second bridge you come across and one the most known bridges of the island. It is located at an altitude of about 440 meters within the deep forest of Paphos and it’s surrounded by rich vegetation. It is the largest stone bridge in Cyprus, and it’s built over Diarizos river. On both entrances of the bridge there is a waiting point which shows that there was great movement during the Venetian period, as it was the main connection point of Paphos with other districts.
The bridge used to be called “Vokaria” – from the Greek word Vokaros - which means “separating”. There are several scenarios regarding its current name “Tzelefos”. One is that it comes from the Greek word “Kelefos”, which means weak or sick - connected to a person that got sick or a fatality which happened during the construction of the bridge. The other version is that it comes from the word “shell” – in Greek “kelifos”.
Elia Bridge (Gefiri tis Elias): Elia bridge is built over Finioti river, where the river of Kaminaria and the river of Diarizos meet. The name of the bridge Elia translates to “olive” and it got its name from the olive trees that grew in the area and specifically one olive tree right next to the bridge which was a meeting point for travellers. During the medieval ages it was the only passage to Foiniotis (Fini) for the travellers going to and from Paphos. From there on they continued towards Tzielefos Bridge and then to Roudia Bridge. One of its main characteristics are the carved crosses on both sites of the bridge.