The ’Lefkaritika’ linens (tablecloths, napkins and showpieces) have been exclusively handmade by the women of the mountainous village for centuries. The craft was taught to them by the Venetian noblewomen who holidayed in Lefkara during Venetian Rule (1489-1570 AD) and handed down for generations since. Legend tells that the great painter Leonardo Da Vinci himself bought a large tablecloth for the altar of the Milan Cathedral when he visited the village.
For the lace linens to be considered authentic they must have been handmade in Lefkara but must also strictly adhere to certain production criteria. There are just 10 designs that are embroidered on Irish linen with French thread only in white, brown or beige and combining four basic elements; the hemstitch, cut work, satin stitch fillings and needlepoint edgings.
The handicraft is already included on the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage List but has now also been officially recognised by the Cyprus Organisation for Standardisation which will help to safeguard its continued practise and ensure that its valuable historic significance is protected.
Sofoklis Sofokleous, mayor, Lefkara, has said that the village is proud of its heritage and that this has been recognised with the first such certification on the island; an accolade that honours both the longstanding, cherished tradition – and the women who have devoted their lives to this unique and highly-skilled craft.