DESCRIPTION OF THE ROUTE
The trail is named after the Goddess Artemis, daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of the God Apollo. The route circles around Mount Olympus (Chionistra) at an average altitude of 1,850m. With help from the information signs along the trail you will have a chance to explore the forest, including: two ancient black pines (pinus nigra) that are more than 500 years old; rich and rare flora (with species such as catmint, germander, alyssum, Troodos sage and juniper); and the rocks of the area (such as dunite, harzburgite, pyroxenite). Moreover, you will enjoy a beautiful view in the direction of the villages of the Limassol, Paphos and Nicosia districts. The whole trail is inside the Troodos National Forest Park which is a NATURA 2000 area.
The trail does not include any particularly notable changes of gradient except towards the end after the Ski Club where it is on an incline for 200-300 metres.
Of historical interest are the Teisia tis Palias Choras (Walls of Old Chora), the ruins of makeshift fortifications built in the last year of the Venetian period in Cyprus (1571) by a group of Venetian generals as defence against the Ottomans. Having observed the occupation of Chora (Nicosia) from here and fearing the strength of the Ottomans, they decided to surrender.
VEGETATION AND FLORA
The flora of Troodos is particularly rich and unique. It is noteworthy that at least one in every two plants that you will see on this nature trail is endemic to Cyprus or Troodos or it is not found anywhere else in Cyprus but here. The main rocks in the broader area are harzburgite, in which small pods of dunite are found.
These rocks contain newer seams of pegmatitic gabbro, rodingite and pyroxenite. Along the fissures, the harzburgite has been transformed into green serpentinite. Harzburgite is the brittle remainder of the partial melting of the Upper Mantle at a depth of approximately 60km beneath the Tethys ocean floor and the creation of basalt magma from which the remaining rocks of the ophiolite complex were created some 92 million years ago.
It is impressive to realise that walking on the highest point of the Troodos range is like walking on rocks belonging to the Earth’s Upper Mantle. This is something that you will find in very few places around the world.
In the surrounding villages of the Troodos range you will find lots of small tavernas where you can rest, taste some traditional Cypriot cuisine and buy local products to take home with you. In Troodos Square there are shops, restaurants, public toilets and hotels. Near the Square is the Environmental Information Centre and the Ski Club of the Cyprus Ski Federation which attracts many visitors in January and February.