History of Koilani
a story of many centuries
Koilani is one of the most renowned wine villages in the Limassol District. It is also the capital of the Koilani district.
It is situated on the eastern slope of Mount Afamis, and its agricultural area encompasses a vast expanse of vineyards (much of which have been deforested), bordering the villages of Omodos, Vouni, Agios Therapondas, Lofou, Sylikos, Koukas, Pera -Pedi, and Mandria. In addition, Koilani is situated at an elevation of 820 metres near the western bank of Kryos, a tributary of Kouris.
Its agricultural sector and the surrounding hills were formerly almost entirely covered with vines. Currently, the vineyard is uncultivated.
The history of Koilani appears to be lost in the depths of the centuries. According to tradition, Koilani formed from the merging of the adjacent communities of Agios Andronikos, Agia Varvara, and Kampos in the early Christian era, when it was known as Korineon.
The accidental finds of tombs (by Nearcho Cleridis, clandestine excavations, in the rural setting of the village of Karamanos) that unearthed archaeological artefacts from the Hellenistic and even Roman periods indicate that the village has existed from ancient times. Also the name of the aforementioned Mount Afamis, where according to mythology there was an altar dedicated to Afamios (Eufimios) Zeus, as well as the name of the cliffs adjacent to Afamis, Kremos tis Eras (Heras), and Dkias (Jupiter). All of them are relics of ancient Greek religion.
Since mediaeval times, Koilani has been a bustling and prosperous community, a status it retained under Turkish and British authority. It appears to have served as an administrative hub since the Byzantine era. During Frankish domination, it was the capital of the same-named district.
During Turkish domination, it was the administrative centre of one of the island’s sixteen conqueror-created departments. The district of Koilani included approximately 20 settlements. In official papers, it is referred to as Katelliki Koilaniou, where the production and taxation of each village are documented.
Alexander Drummond, the English Consul in Aleppo and a visitor to the island between 1745 and 1750, reported that Koilani belonged ecclesiastically to the Diocese of Kitio and that the metropolitan alternately resided in Kitio, Limassol, and the village. It appears that towards the middle of the 18th century, it also served as an episcopal seat.
Various government offices were located in Koilani during British administration, including the Land Registry, Post Office, Court, Government Doctor’s Office, and Police Station.
Therefore, many civil workers and their families lived in the village, creating a cosmopolitan culture with educated individuals who left their mark on the residents.
Its geographical location, selection as an administrative centre, and long-standing status as a transportation hub all contributed to its economic development. The inhabitants of the surrounding villages travelled to Koilani to conduct their business at the flour mills in the past and the flour mills in the present, as well as to shop in the village’s shops, workshops, and crafts, or to sell their products, which were typically firewood, oil, perishables, and pulses.