If you are planning to visit Cyprus, then you should brush up on this nation’s history, particularly that of its religion. As of today, Christianity still dominates the religious belief in this country. Because of this, Cyprus became one of the top go-to destinations for pilgrims around the world. Visitors not only enjoy the top attractions, but also the great places to stay such as luxury villas and Airbnb vacation rentals. To give you a little background as to how Christianity came to be in Cyprus, it all began when the Proconsul of Cyprus by the name of Sergius Paulus was so moved by the preachment of Apostles Barnabas, Mark, and Paul in the year 45 BC. Since then, people from across the globe have regarded Cyprus as the very first Christian Roman province. With this in mind, you may want to continue reading to learn more about the various must-visit monasteries in Cyprus.
1. Kykkos Monastery
Kykkos Monastery is only about 20 kilometers (12.42 miles) from Pedoulas, which makes traveling here super convenient and easy. Moreover, did you know that Kykkos Monastery is one of the famous monasteries in Cyprus? Well, this has a lot to do with how it’s also the wealthiest monastery in the country. According to history, Esaias, who is a hermit, was living on one of the caves of Kykkos. His encounter with doux Manuel Boutoumites was what brought the icon of the Virgin to Kykkos. It was believed that this particular icon was painted by the Apostle Luke himself.
Address: F966, Cyprus
Website: Kykkos Monastery
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
2. Apostolos Andreas Monastery
If you are planning to visit Cyprus, whether you are going there as a pilgrim or as a tourist, you must find the time to visit the Apostolos Andreas Monastery. This monastery is located in the easternmost part of the island. Here’s a little fun fact: the Apostolos Andreas Monastery was originally known as the Lourdes of Cyprus. It was one of the most important sites for the Cypriot Orthodox Church. One of the main characteristics that distinguish this monastery is that it is organized by a changing group of volunteer laymen and priests. Both the Turkish Cypriot, as well as the Greek Cypriot, consider this place to be a holy place.
Apostolos Andreas Monastery
Address: Karpaz Anayolu, Dipkarpaz 99890
Website: Apostolos Andreas Monastery
3. Machairas Monastery
Visiting the Machairas Monastery should be on your list of things to do when you visit Cyprus. The most interesting thing about this is that there is a legend surrounding an unknown hermit who stole one of the 70 icons painted by Luke, the Apostle. The icon remained in hiding until 1145 when two Palestinians, Neophytos and Ignatius, came across said icon in a cave. The architecture of the Machairas Monastery is reason enough to visit this pilgrimage site. It is rectangular in terms of its layout and has red-tiled timber for its roof.
Address: Machairas Monastery, Lazanias 2618, Cyprus
Website: Machairas Monastery
Opening hours: 8:30am - 6pm (daily)
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4. Panagia Apsinthiotissa
The Panagia Apsinthiotissa is a Greek monastery found at the foot of the Pentadaktylos range. Let’s first talk about its etymology: the word “Panagia” comes from the Orthodox term for the Virgin Mary. Moreover, “Apsinthiotissa” refers to the process of wormwood cultivation. It may sound bizarre to associate these two words together but wormwood was a common shrub found in the surrounding area of the monastery. The architecture of the Panagia Apsinthiotissa is interesting and very picturesque. If you plan to visit this place, be sure to take a photo of its exterior design but be discreet when you are inside the monastery.
Address: Kaynakköy 99390
Website: Panagia Apsinthiotissa
5. Stavrovouni Monastery
Much like the majority of the monasteries included on this list, Stavrovouni Monastery is situated atop a hill. This is a Greek Orthodox monastery found on the hill called Stravrovouni, Cyprus. Why should you visit this monastery? Well, for one, visiting this place allows you to see one of the original pieces of the actual Holy Cross. In addition, Stavrovouni Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the world. There’s so much history that is embedded into its wall. You would not want to miss this chance!
Address: Larnaca, Cyprus
Website: Stavrovouni Monastery
Opening hours: 7am - 11am, 2pm - 6pm (daily)
6. Panagia tou Sinti Monastery
As you may have noticed, Panagia tou Sinti Monastery also features the word “Panagia,” which means the Virgin Mary. You can find this near Pentalia Village in the district of Paphos, Cyprus. Under the blue skies, this monastery looks like a scene from an old classic movie. This is actually one of the many reasons why tourists flock to this place. On another note, pilgrims from around the world also visit Panagia tou Sinti Monastery as they are particularly interested in its history, one which is very much devoted to the Virgin Mary.
Panagia tou Sinti Monastery
Address: Pentalia, Cyprus
Website: Panagia tou Sinti Monastery
7. Trooditissa Monastery
As we near the end of this list, we present to you a much more modern-looking Trooditissa Monastery. Nevertheless, don’t let its architectural design and structure fool you. This was founded in 990 AD. However, the current building is fairly new. It was constructed around the year 1731, which explains why it has a more contemporary feel to its walls. The closest village to Trooditissa Monastery is Platres. This monastery is particularly popular among couples who wish to bear a child. Here, you’ll find the thaumaturgist icon of the Virgin Mary. It is believed that it brings wonders and magic, as thaumaturgist pertains to the ability of a saint or magician to work miracles, to childless couples.
Address: Between the villages of Platres and Prodromos, Cyprus
Website: Trooditissa Monastery
Opening hours: 9am - 12pm, 2pm - 4pm (daily)
8. Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery
Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery will be the last one on this list of must-see monasteries in Cyprus. The monastery is dedicated to Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate. The yearly celebrations are held every August 15 as a way to honor the Virgin Mary. This monastery is located on the outskirts of Pano Panayia in Paphos, Cyprus. It was established by a monk named Ignatios in 1152. According to the legend, the icon drifted to the shores of Paphos from Turkey, which was then known as Asia Minor, and was found by Ignatios.
Address: E703, Pano Panagia, Cyprus
Website: Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery
9. Panagidia Galaktotrofousa Monastery
Larnaca District is a must-see destination in Cyprus. Visit churches, museums, and monasteries. One such place is Panagidia Galaktotrofousa Monastery, which is located in Kofinou. The monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and belongs to the Church of Cyprus Diocese. There is a church in the courtyard and dormitories that house some rooms used for exhibitions. One place is dedicated to the history of the monastery and another room features a cabinet with the founder’s ossicles. Aside from admiring the architecture and history of the monastery, you can also try the olive oil that is both produced and sold by the monks in the monastery.
10. Kantara Monastery
In the northern part of Cyprus, you can enjoy visiting the remains of Kantara Castle. The castle combines Frankish and Byzantine architectural elements. After admiring the beauty of the castle ruins, don’t forget to check out the Kantara Monastery nearby. Dedicated to Panagia Kantariotissa (or the Our Lady of Kantara), this monastery lies on the southern slopes of Cyprus’ Northern Range. The villages of Davlos and Ardana are also nearby.
Visit some of Cyprus best monasteries
By visiting Cyprus, you’ll get a glimpse of some of the most stunning monasteries in the world. In addition to its aesthetically pleasing structures, each of the monasteries included on this list has a rich background as to how icons of the Virgin Mary found its way to Cyprus from Asia Minor, which is now known as Turkey. Check out the best of architecture and history as you use this article as your guide. While you’re here, have a look at the best places to eat as well. Stay in adults-only hotels or vacation rentals for your accommodation needs.
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