The small agricultural town has evolved in recent years, dynamically entering on the Cyprus tourist map. The beaches, the chapels, the authentic people and the local products are some reasons why it’s worth visiting.
The village was built during the Byzantine years. This is evidenced through the dozens of chapels in which tireless abbot Yiorgos Ioannou will guide visitors, as well as the Byzantine treasures highlighted by archaeological excavations. The Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour was built in the 12th century, giving the area the identity of a “Byzantine town”.
Ayia Thekla Chapel
The original settlement was located in the coastal area of Ayia Thekla but due to pirate attacks, inhabitants moved inland and gave the new area the name of the Saviour Christ. Today, Sotira is known as one of the largest coastal towns of the Famagusta District with a coastline of more than two kilometres long with magnificent beaches and pristine blue waters (Ayia Thekla, Poseidon, Katerko, Sirines) and has a population of approximately 7000 inhabitants. It belongs to the famous Kokkinochoria (red villages) that took their name from its rich fertile soil with its characteristic reddish colour, which gave the area a prosperous agriculture with numerous products. The most important produce of the area is the Kolokasi (taro-root) that has been certified as a Product with a Protected Designation of Origin.
Catacomb of Ayia Thekla
Pancyprian Festival of (Kolokasi): Taro roots One of the longest running festivals on the island, focuses on Sotira’s most famous agricultural product: Kolokasi (Taro-root). This year, the Pancyprian Festival of Kolokasi of the Sotira Municipality will take place at the Municipal Stadium of Sotira on September with concerts by Greek artists and free tasting of traditional and alternative recipes based on kolokasi by top local chefs. The visitor will also have the opportunity to enjoy traditional recipes (kappamas, yahni and poules).
Sotira Traditional Festival:With the aim of promoting Cypriot cultural heritage and folklore, this festival takes place at the beginning of July in the courtyard of the Holy Temple of the Transfiguration of the Saviour. The festival’s programme will include a traditional feast with a traditional music band, a competition of erotic couplets and ‘tsiattista’ by folk poets, an exhibition of traditional professions and a tasting of traditional Cypriot dishes.
Summer concert of the Municipal Orchestra and Choir of Sotira: The annual summer concert of the Municipal Orchestra and Choir of Sotira is one of the most important cultural events of the Municipality of Sotira, with the participation of all Departments of the Municipality of Sotira: Municipal Orchestra, Municipal Choir, Municipal Dance Club and Children’s Municipal Choir and Municipal Children’s Dance Club.
The Kolokasi Sotiras (root taro-colocasia esculenta) has been registered as a certified Product with a Designation of Origin and is among the most important local products that Cyprus has to show. A by-product (smaller and thinner) is Poules Sotiras. Both are cooked in different ways, and you can try them in all their traditional versions in the traditional taverns of Sotira: yahni, kappama and poulles fried with wine and coriander. The oldest reference to Kolokasi in Cyprus dates back to 1191 AD, according to which it was served at a dinner to celebrate the marriage of Richard the Lionheart to Berengaria at Limassol Castle (Jeffery, 1926). Indicative of the connection of the place with this product is that it began to be cultivated in Cyprus five centuries before the potato. Today, Kolokasi is cultivated mainly in the District of Famagusta, and especially in Sotira. In simpler words, Sotira today produces 2000 tons of kolokasi per year, while 85% of kolokasi cultivation in Cyprus comes from Sotira and the wider region. Remarkable for its biological value, Kolokasi isn’t sprayed at all, unlike other vegetables, thus making it a purely organic vegetable. It can remain in the soil for a long time without being altered and collected whenever the producer wants to.
Poulles and Kolokasi Sotiras
- Try the unique kolokasi (taro root) of Sotiras and poulles Sotiras cooked in the traditional way, in one of the many famous taverns of the area.
- Enjoy the sunset from the beach of Ayia Thekla and visit the picturesque church.
- Be sure to go to the festival of the Saviour on August 6 and the Kolokasi Festival on September.
- Swim in the beautiful, revamped Posidonas beach with comfortable wooden sunbeds.
SOTIRA MUNICIPALITY POPULATION: 5.474 (2011 CENSUS)
MAYOR: GEORGE TAKKAS