Lefkara Laces or Lefkaritika: The tradition of lace-making in Cyprus
In the southeastern part of Cyprus, a village called Lefkara holds a tradition centuries old.
Dating back to the 14th century, lace-making was influenced by indigenous craft, the embroidery of Venetian courtiers who ruled the country beginning in 1489, and ancient Greek and Byzantine geometric patterns. Made by hand in designs combining four basic elements: the hemstitch, cut work, satin stitch fillings and needlepoint edgings.
For the local women this is a social practice, which integrates art. For many a primary occupation and for others simply a form of expression, women in the village create distinctive tablecloths, napkins and sow pieces while sitting together and talking in the quaint and narrow streets. Unique mastery of lace-making is taught to young girls through years of informal exposure and then formal instruction by their mother or grandmother in applying cotton thread to linen. Once the lacemaker has mastered the craft, she uses her imagination to design work that imbues tradition with her own personality.
The craft was listed on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO) in 2009.
Only 40 minutes away from Limassol and 1 hour from Nicosia, the village of Lefkara is a beautiful testament to integrating art into crafts of everyday life and a proud symbol of the women’s identity there. The village itself is beautiful and offers more than just lace-making lore – which is a huge part of the village’s reputation and everyday life.
Louis Hotels in Limassol, Paphos and Protaras offer excellent accommodation to those who want to visit and explore Cyprus.