Tochni is a small village between Larnaca and Limassol. Unless you were going there intentionally, you probably wouldn’t even know it exists. This is mostly due to the lack of advertisement. However, Tochni is definitely worth the attention.
Tochni’s first historical appearance
A medieval Cypriot historian, Leontios Machairas (Greek: Λεόντιος Μαχαιράς), was first to mention the village in literature. He wrote about it in “the Chronicles of Cyprus” around 1458. The Chronicles documented events from the visit of Saint Helena (mother of the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great) to Cyprus, until the times of the Kingdom of Cyprus. Their manuscripts are kept at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice, and Ravenna.
Other historical mentions
According to Louis de Mas Latrie’s work “Histoire de l’ule Chypre sous le regne de la Maison de Lusignan”, the village originated around a church dedicated to St Helena. Louis was a 19th-century French historian. His specialization was Cyprus during the Middle Ages, and many see him as the founder of history and archaeology on the island. This is what he wrote:
“Scarcely had Helene landed on the southern coast of the island near the village of Mari, or Marion, whom God, the Cypriots, touched with suppliant glances, poured the blessing of abundant rain on the exhausted land. <…> Soon after around this godly sanctuary the village of Tochni was formed.”
(Original is in French)
Another famous work, also describing the village, is the Travels of Ali Bey, published in 1816. Domingo Francisco Jorge Badía y Leblich, better known by his pseudonym Ali Bey el Abbassi, was a Spanish explorer, soldier, and spy in the early 19th century. The narrative takes place in the period prior to 1974, when both Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot lived there: (In August 1974, 85 Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of this village and of neighboring villages were killed by Greek Cypriot militias)
“About noon we were overtaken by a hurricane, and at a quarter past one we entered the village of Togni <…> The village of Togni, the houses of which are ugly and ill built, lies in a very picturesque situation. It stands on the declivity of two hills; on the one are the dwellings of the Greeks, and those of the Turks on the other. Between them runs a small brook, over which there is a bridge of a single arch, on which stands the church belonging to the Greeks, dedicated to St.Helen. “
(Togni was another word for Tochni village in medieval times)
In my opinion the most prominent attraction in Tochni, is the Orthodox church of St Constantine and Helena, the older version of which, was founded by St Helen in 326 AD. Not only does it spark your interest because of its historical background, but also because of its unique placement.
It is based on a bridge, welcoming the river, that sadly is no longer there. If you have a good imagination, you can almost picture the old view and hear the sound of the river flowing. Personally, I have not seen any other church built this way in Cyprus. It still operates and even has its own museum.
Since there was a time, when the village was multicultural, a mosque and a Muslim burial ground can be discovered in the East side.
Tochni is extremely picturesque. Fairytale like gardens, traditional Cypriot stone houses and serenity, all meet you there. Sudden pops of colour, here and there, make it a great destination for painters, searching for inspiration. I know, I definitely wanted to get a sketchbook out!
Today the village is mostly known as an ‘agrotourism’ location, therefore offering different types of accommodation. Both small flats and large houses with gardens and swimming pools are available. A more detailed description of these can be found at – www.agrotourism.com.cy.
Even though the nearest city is 31km away, you can easily get the taste of local traditional cuisine in one of the village’s 4 restaurants:
- Tochni Tavern (Tel: +357 24-332732/ +357 24-333170).
- Nostos restaurant-café (Tel: +357 24-333122).
- Agios Constantinos and Agia Eleni coffee shop (Tel: +357 24-338211/+357 99-640015).
- Teratsia tavern (Tel: +357 24-333331/ +357 99-661105).
Finally, if you are a fan of nature trails, I would recommend trying out this 2.8km circular trail around the village.