The new card book is for adventurers
This is a book for adventurers – for intrepid explorers who thrill the words “off the beaten track”!
It’s correctly, and unpretentiously, titled Cyprus topographic maps – but don’t be fooled! Yes, the book is full of detailed maps of the Troodos Range (from the Akamas Peninsula to the foothills of Larnaca) but it is much more than a map guide.
Nature trails (including length, duration and degree of difficulty) and picnic sites are meticulously listed; medieval bridges, water mills and even tar ovens are discussed and referenced precisely on the grid; the renowned painted churches and monasteries of Troodos and the surrounding area are skillfully showcased. There is even a section on the wineries in the area and, as safety is paramount for those venturing into the wilderness, there is a little bit about hiking safety. “Never walk alone,” we warn. And among other great suggestions, we get: “Take plenty of water, don’t pack too much, dress in layers, start early, pick up your pace, and watch out for snakes, spiders and other critters”!
The majority of the book consists, of course, of maps: meticulously researched, compiled and mapped by cartographer Michael Savvides. A member of the Council of the Cypriot Mountaineering, Climbing and Orienteering Federation, and founder of the Trekking and Orienteering Club Orientaction, Michael is a pioneer who introduced orienteering to Cyprus a decade ago. years now.
“I’ve always loved exploring,” he enthuses. “It’s such a challenge to find yourself alone in uncharted territory, combining your physical and mental abilities to overcome the challenges you face. Orienteering itself, ”he adds,“ is a character-building sport. And although this is relatively new on the island, it took off immediately; So far we have already organized three major international orienteering events in Cyprus! “
As a local sports pioneer, Michael was often approached by those who shared his passion. “Over the years, many people have asked me where to find large-scale maps of parts of Cyprus,” he continues. “But while there are many small-scale maps, primarily aimed at tourists and travelers, larger-scale maps simply did not exist. Perhaps the most frequently requested area, ”he adds,“ was the center of the Troodos chain. And of course, that was not available. So I decided to create it…. “
“Then,” he laughs, “another avid hiker asked me to add the Akamas Peninsula. And someone else suggested that I also map the cycling regions around Larnaca… And slowly, slowly, the only original map became a book of the entire Troodos region!
Unlike your average tour guide, Cyprus topographic maps is a wealth of information for “explorers, researchers, runners and hikers,” says Michael. “It’s a database of geographic, historical, architectural, religious and wine-growing information, which also includes a list of each village and all of the major hiking trails. Trails, ”he continues,“ that I have walked myself – covering thousands of miles in an attempt to ensure that the information is absolutely correct. Nowadays, many cartographers work from satellite images, sitting in an office away from the landscape. But when you create a map, you have to be aware of what the terrain looks like on the terrain; if you know the territory you are mapping then you don’t confuse the satellite images of a white line with a trail when it is in fact a river! “
Six years of meticulous work in progress, Cyprus topographic maps was drawn from Michael’s own recognition, as well as data from a plethora of “books, old maps, new maps and information from international organizations.”
Comprised of 10 main sections, the book covers the Akamas Peninsula, the town of Polis west of the Paphos Forest, the Paphos Forest, the Esouza Valley, the Central Troodos Forest, the wine region of Krasochoria, the Pitsillia region, the Macheras forest, the Stavrovouni region and the hilly region west of the city of Larnaca. Each of the ten sections includes at least eight detailed maps, each in turn covering an area of five by seven kilometers.
Drawn at 1: 25,000 scale, so that every inch of the map represents 250 meters on the ground, the 90 maps include everything any intrepid traveler could wish for. Contours appear every 10 meters and highways, roads, dirt roads and trails are all clearly marked. Man-made landmarks – including buildings, vineyards, churches, chapels and mosques, mills, quarries, fishing shelters, ovens, lighthouses, and even water reservoirs – appear everywhere . And among the more natural features of the landscape we get cliffs, forests, wild vegetation, tree plantations, seasonal streams, boulders, and (worthy of their capital letters) huge boulders – many of them are also marked as climbing fields, if you are that inclined!
Best of all, everything is so precisely referenced on the grid that you can set your GPS by the coordinates, arriving at the exact spot you wanted. “All maps are compatible with GPS,” we are told in the introduction. “Coordinates taken from a GPS receiver can be plotted directly on maps.” And with that, Michael effectively ended the days of driving (or stumbling) around in circles, desperately trying to find the Venetian bridge / rock climbing site / picnic site you are looking for!
A pioneering book, there is a follow-up to the work (which will include the Diarizos and neighboring river valleys, as well as the Commandaria region) that Michael plans to publish in 2021. But by then, Cyprus topographic maps proves to be an excellent source of information: “It’s a ‘live’ book,” Michael enthuses. “It’s not something you keep on your shelf, but something that fits in your car or your backpack wherever you do. It’s for adventurers, ”he smiles. “The explorers among us …”
For more information and purchase details visit the Facebook page “ORIENTACTION – Orienteering in Cyprus”. The book costs € 36