June in Cyprus is when you will definitely see Aphrodite at her busiest! Of some 5,450 marriages throughout the year, an average of 1,000 – almost 1 in 5 – take place on the eternal island of love during June, according to the Statistical Service of Cyprus.
The wedding season generally runs from May to October, when Londa Beach is one of a select number of boutique hotels chosen as a luxury destination by couples looking to take their vows in a traditional Mediterranean setting. The Greek Goddess of Love is often said to be present at an exclusive Londa ceremony, even at the Reception held in the Caprice Restaurant or on the Pool Deck. We definitely like to think that she permanently resides in the elegant splendour of the Londa Honeymoon Suite!
Wedding guests and other visitors to the hotel are often fascinated by the mix of contemporary designer chic and traditional craft materials. In particular, each bedroom is an unique space dressed in a soothing palette of cream, ebony, grey and pastel shades. Each hue silhouettes up and around sensual textures of polished olive wood, delicate lace and glinting silver filigree.
There’s a fascinating history to be discovered right here in your room! The village women of Lefkara, a hillside town on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains – 35 minutes drive from Larnaca and 45 minutes from Limassol – have been producing fine lace designs for about 1,500 years.
Extensive centre piece of a bride’s marriage dowry
It was between 1489 to 1571 that the region’s female lacemakers adapted their traditional designs to incorporate the striking new techniques learnt from Venetian nobles who travelled throughout Europe selling the lace the women created to wealthy buyers. The fusion of Cypriot and Venetian styles led to a new form of lace known as Lefkaritiko, the intricate skills passed from mother to daughter, and which are now the hallmark of the region.
Today, Lefkaritiko comes in many forms, including tablecloths, sheets, pillowcases and other bedroom linens. Notable characteristics are the hemstitch, satin stitch fillings, needlepoint edgings, white and pale brown colours, and intricate geometric patterns. Among the most distinctive of design motifs are the mila (apples) and the finikoto (palm tree) styles. Probably the most popular design is the potamos or ‘river’ design, which is one of the most expensive and with a famous link to the past. Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance painter of the Mona Lisa, visited the island in 1481 and bought a potamos embroidery altar cloth for the Cathedral in Milan.
Lefkaritika is traditionally considered to be an extensive centre piece of a bride’s marriage dowry, which was expected to be displayed on her wedding day. Another interior design feature at Londa and a key symbol – this time of peace, beauty, longevity, and healing – is the olive wood, which may indeed resonate with today’s quest among travellers for holistic, wellbeing experiences.
Symbolic significance and delicate design
Olive wood is derived from the olive tree, which is found in the Mediterranean basin, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and southern Asia. Extremely strong and durable, olive wood is a rich warm umber, and highly prized for its distinctive, elegant grain patterns. It is believed that the first olive groves were planted around 4000BCE and have been cultivated in the holy land ever since. From Biblical times the olive tree has also long been of symbolic significance to many religions and nations around the world.
Ancient cultures are evoked once again in the hotel’s use of ‘filigree’, which archaeological discoveries in ancient Mesopotamia appear to show was incorporated into jewellery since 3,000 BC. Filigree is identified as delicate jewellery metalwork – usually of gold and silver. Tiny beads or twisted threads, or a combination of both, are soldered together to the surface of an object of the same metal and arranged in a striking design. Filigree jewellery has been found at the Phoenician sites of Cyprus and Sardinia but it is the Greek and Etruscan filigree of the 6th to the 3rd centuries BC, which are considered the highest examples of the filigree makers art.
The jewellery spread across the Balearic Islands and the Mediterranean, where it is still made in Italy, Portugal, the Ionian Islands and many other parts of Greece. The technique of ‘granulation’ where tiny beads of gold were soldered to form patterns on a metal surface was first thought to be practiced by the ancient Sumerians and later employed by Mesopotamian craftsmen. This type of filigree decoration also occurs in Cyprus during the same period.
Aphrodite’s aesthetic caress over every interior touch remains an intriguing visual backdrop to a wedding, special celebration or any event held at Londa throughout the year. The mythic goddess is still amongst us, for those with eyes to see!