Since Platres is listed among the 119 municipalities of the Limassol District, which existed during the reigns of the Lusignians (Frankish rule, 1192-1489 AD) and the Venetians (1489-1571 AD), the history dates back to the Middle Ages.
NAME OF THE VILLAGE
Three different interpretations exist regarding the origin of the designation Platres.
According to documented accounts, the initial iteration of this account states that Platres was a fiefdom during the Frankish era and has retained this appellation ever since. The Greek translation for the French word platre-s is “white,” “plaster,” or “plaster.” According to available information, a Frankish Monastery existed on the southern side of Troodos, situated above the present-day Platres. The priests of this institution were described as “Platrai” and were attired in white.
The second iteration originated from the word platsa, which subsequently evolved into Platra and Platres (plural).Furthermore, the appellation “Platres,” which appeared in the third iteration, was derived from the Greek word “pratria,” denoting an individual engaged in the weaving and retailing of peasant garments.
Varying in magnitude, Platres experienced substantial population fluctuations at different times. The village had a population of 100 during the Ottoman Empire era in 1881. By 1901, it had transitioned to the British Empire, during which time the population had increased to 154. Subsequently, in 1931 and 1946, the village experienced a further 502 inhabitants as a result of the Tourism Development, which was established utilising all the resources brought to Platres by the British.
The decline began following the Liberation Struggle, the formation of the Republic of Cyprus, and the development of the beaches; by 1960, it had dropped to 413, and by 1982, it had dropped to 442. At present, Platres accommodates 200 permanent residents; this figure surges to 10,000 during the summer months, particularly in August.
The majority of the villagers are employed in tourism-related industries, including hotels, restaurants, and stores. However, a portion of the population has recently transitioned to fruit-growing and provides services from within the village.
Location of the village
Limassol District is the location of Platres. Troodos is nine kilometres away, while Limassol is reachable in 39 kilometres.
The village is constructed in an amphitheatric fashion, with the lower portion occupying one elevation and the upper portion occupying another. 1200 metres is the average altitude of Platres.
The location and altitude at which the village is constructed are both regarded as ideal, which explains why Platra has an ideal climate. Summers are characterised by arid conditions, with minimal to no humidity and temperatures significantly lower than in urban areas.
Demonstrating that Platres receives among the most precipitation in all of Cyprus are the dense forest and abundant vegetation that encircle the community.
The year-round temperature is optimal, with summertime temperatures being notably lower than those observed at the polar regions. (A degree Celsius on June 24, July 26, and August 28).
The British colonial administration in Cyprus “discovered” the remarkable climate and natural splendour of Platres in 1878. As a result, they selected the area to establish a military outpost to oversee the Troodos Mountain region and to accommodate English soldiers during the summer months, following the relocation of the government to the present-day Presidential Residence situated between Platres and Troodos Square. This marked the beginning of the community’s tourism development.
As a result of British promotion and the establishment of new conditions in 1890, estranged Cypriots residing in Egypt were granted access to the “paradise on earth” and initiated the construction of opulent mansions equipped with every amenity imaginable, including a paved road connecting Limassol to the mainland, water, electricity, telephone, and postal service. This marked the beginning of the construction of luxury vacation homes. Certain Egyptians appropriated parcels of land from the villagers on the condition that they construct dwellings thereon, which I would occupy for a period of two decades prior to returning the structures to the plot’s proprietors.
Concurrently, however, the inaugural tourist lodgings were being built in Platres, marking the opening of the island’s gates to the public for the first time. Two Egyptian families, the Skyrianides Family and the Cypriot Family, utilised everything the English introduced to Platres to lay the groundwork for tourism development.
The initial hotels and inns constructed in Platres were designated “Ta Krya Nera” in 1900, followed by the “Platres Hotel” in 1905, which was subsequently renamed the “Grand Hotel.” The “Pausilipon” was acquired by the Skyrianides Family in 1912, and the “Grand Switzerland” was established by the Cypriot Family in 1915. According to press accounts at the time, the “Grand Switzerland” was the most expansive and ideal hotel in Cyprus. The “Monte Carlo” was completed in 1920, featuring the largest ballroom of its era in Cyprus. Simultaneously, numerous residents and foreigners emulated the example, which resulted in the construction of the hotels “Pendeli,” “Kallithea,” “Splendid,” “Petit Palais,” “Minerva,” “Sprig,” “Vienna,” “Semiramis,” “New Switzerland,” “Edelweiss,” “Mount Royal,” and “Lunderns.”
Initially, Egyptian expatriates visited Platres on vacation, which was subsequently followed by foreigners affiliated with the Egyptian international community. Almost all of the notable individuals and celebrities who visited Cyprus lodged in the elegant hotels of Platres.
An extensive list of notable individuals includes King Farouk of Egypt, Daphne De Maurier, the renowned author Daphne Seferis, Princess Mary and Prince George of England, Princess Irene of Greece, Prime Minister of Malta Mintoff, Chancellor of West Germany Willy Pradt, Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, and actor Teli Savalas.
Following the emancipation of Cyprus in 1960, the coastal region experienced a gradual resurgence, while mountain tourism declined. Despite the hoteliers of Mountain Resorts endeavouring to revive the area, the Turkish invasion of 1974 redirected the government’s focus, causing the Mountain Resorts to once again be relegated to a secondary position.
Presently, a renewed endeavour is underway to solicit investments in order to revitalise Platres and reestablish its position within the tourism advancement of Cyprus.