Giolou is about 26kms from Paphos and about 12kms from Polis. The population is approximately 770 of which about 15 families are non-Cypriots.
In the summer, of course, this figure increases as holiday homes become occupied.
There are no kiosks (periptero) in Giolou, but there are mini markets selling basic commodities, often open from early in the morning until quite late in the evening, depending on the season. There are three coffee shops mostly catering to the needs of the local male workforce taking a leisurely break from the heat of the day. This is also where the elders of the village while away their time, sipping coffee, playing backgammon (tavli) in the shade
and generally putting the world to rights. The rarely-seen women of the village are either occupied with household tasks or sitting outside chatting underneath the pergolas laced with bougainvillea or grapevines.
As Giolou nestles on the edge of a valley at 368m above sea level, from one of the coffee shops the view is spectacular with the whole of the valley stretching out to the sea at Polis. And because Giolou is set high on a hill, there is always a refreshing breeze. The sloping hills are dotted with grapevines and citrus groves. As well as growing seasonal vegetables, a lot of the locals make their own wine, zivania and halloumi.
In the village itself, there are two churches. The smaller church was built in the 18th century and has undergone restoration work. The church contains a 17th century icon of the Virgin Mary. Apparently the icon is used by the farmers in times of drought and taken round the fields in order to make it rain! The bigger, modern church was built in the new architectural style.
There are two schools in Giolou, one for the younger children and the larger one for the older students. Giolou does not have its own police station,
the nearest one being in Stroumbi. However, as this is where quite a few of the local residents work, the village is virtually crime-free. The nearest hospitals are in Paphos and Polis but there are two first aiders living in Giolou and a doctor is available for home visits to the elderly on Saturdays.
As with most of the surrounding village, there is a refuse collection twice a week in Giolou.
If fishing is your game, then take the short trip to the Evretou Dam, or if you fancy a few rounds of gold, Tsada golf course is a short drive away.
For other entertainment in Giolou, the football stadium is often used to host plays, festivals, and even the odd football match. Giolou has its very own football academy and the local team was recently combined with the team at Mesogi to become United Athletic. The team is currently in the third division.
Stavros, the mukhtar (village headman) of Giolou, is very pleased to share a coffee with you and talk about his village. He can point you in the direction of any areas of special interest, like the nearby sulphur springs and the restored monastery of Agia Anargyri. The monastery was built in 1649 and is said to be one of the first ever on the island. It was founded by two brothers who used to care for the sick and dying without taking any payment for it.
That is how the monastery got its name from the Greek meaning ‘without payment’.
The popular resort town of Polis Chrysochous is a short drive away if you wish to experience a more lively environment or if you just want to while away the hours on the sandy beach.
There is a story about how Giolou got its name, but whether it is true or not is up to you to decide. Apparently, in the 1950s, there was a train service that operated from Polis to Famagusta and it stopped in Giolou. Giolou is the Turkish word for train station and so even when the trains no longer ran, the name Giolou stuck.
Giolou is not a touristy village as it is very quiet. Therefore, if it’s peace and quiet in a traditional village that you are looking for, Giolou is ideal