Monasteries in Cyprus: A Spiritual Journey Through Time

Attractions | Updated: 05. Apr 2023

Embark on a journey through time as we explore the rich history and serene beauty of monasteries in Cyprus, uncovering the island's hidden spiritual gems.

A Brief History of Cypriot Monasteries

Monasticism has played a significant role in Cyprus throughout the centuries, with monasteries serving as centers of learning, spirituality, and art. The growth of these sacred institutions can be traced back to various historical periods, including the Byzantine, Lusignan, and Venetian eras. With a rich tapestry of ancient monasteries dotting the island's landscape, it's no surprise that Cyprus has become a popular destination for both spiritual seekers and history enthusiasts alike.

Top Monasteries to Visit in Cyprus

1. Kykkos Monastery

Kykkos Monastery, nestled high in the Troodos Mountains, is the most famous and wealthiest monastery in Cyprus. Founded in the 11th century, it boasts a rich history and is home to a priceless collection of religious icons, including the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, painted by the Apostle Luke himself. The monastery's location offers visitors breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, making it a must-visit for those seeking both spiritual nourishment and natural beauty.

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  • Opening hours: June to October: daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; November to May: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Museum of the Kykko Monastery).
  • Entrance fee: 5 €
kykkos monastery

2. Stavrovouni Monastery

Perched atop a hill and offering stunning views, Stavrovouni Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Cyprus, dating back to the 4th century. Founded by Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, this male-only monastery is known for its unique traditions and strict restrictions on visitors. Despite its strictness, the monastery's fascinating history and captivating scenery make it well worth a visit for those eager to delve deeper into the island's spiritual heritage.

  • Opening hours: September to March: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.; April to August: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.

3. Machairas Monastery

Located in the heart of the picturesque Machairas Forest, Machairas Monastery is steeped in legend and lore. Founded in the 12th century after the miraculous discovery of an icon of the Virgin Mary, this tranquil haven offers visitors a chance to explore its serene surroundings and uncover the stories that have shaped its existence.

  • Opening hours: Daily 8:30 - 17:30

4. Monastery of Agios Irakleidios (Herakleidios)

The monastery is located on the outskirts of Politiko, 23 km from Lefkosia and was founded in the year 400. For several years it has been inhabited again by nuns, who planted picturesque flower gardens here. The church is decorated with Byzantine frescoes.

  • Opening hours: May-September 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.; October-April 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.
Monastery of Agios Irakleidios

5. Monastery Chrysorrogiatissa

The monastery is located about 40 km from Pafos on a mountain slope. It was founded in 1152 by the hermit Ignatius, who was led by a light to a hidden icon. The monastery is known for its wines pressed here and its icon restoration workshop.

  • Opening hours: May to August: 9:30 a.m.-12:3 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.; September to April: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.-4 p.m.

6. Monastery of Saint Neofytos

The monastery with the living cave of the Cypriot saint is located 10 km from Pafos. It was founded in 1170 by the hermit and scholar Neofytos, who had your hermitage painted with pious pictures. The frescoes of the monastery are among the most beautiful of the island. The bones of the saint are in the monastery church from the 15th century.

  • Opening hours: April to October: 9am-1pm and 2pm-6pm; November to March: 9am-1pm and 2pm-4pm
  • Entrance fee: 1 € for the museum and the cave church

Monastic Art and Architecture in Cyprus

The monasteries of Cyprus are treasure troves of Byzantine art and iconography, showcasing masterpieces that have withstood the test of time. These sacred institutions also exhibit a diverse array of architectural styles, reflecting the island's rich cultural history and the various influences that have shaped it over the centuries.

Planning Your Monastery Tour in Cyprus

Important Travel Tips

To make the most of your monastic journey in Cyprus, consider the following tips: The best time to visit monasteries in Cyprus is during spring or autumn, when temperatures are mild and the landscape is at its most vibrant. Dress modestly and respect the monastic rules to ensure a smooth and pleasant visit. Plan your transportation and itinerary in advance, taking into account the location and opening hours of the monasteries you wish to visit.

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Accommodation and Local Experiences

For a truly immersive experience, consider staying in one of the traditional villages near the monasteries. This will not only allow you to explore the sacred sites at a leisurely pace but will also provide you with an opportunity to experience authentic Cypriot hospitality and savor the island's delicious local cuisine.

Conclusion: The Timeless Allure of Cyprus' Monasteries

As our journey through the monasteries of Cyprus comes to an end, we reflect on the profound spiritual significance these sacred sites hold. These historical treasures not only offer a glimpse into the island's rich past but also serve as a testament to the timeless allure of spiritual pursuits. Preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of Cyprus' monasteries is essential to ensuring that future generations can continue to explore and appreciate these remarkable institutions. So, whether you're seeking spiritual growth, historical knowledge, or simply a deeper connection with the natural beauty of the island, a visit to the monasteries of Cyprus is a journey worth taking.

Franz Langstein
Hi! Ich lebe seit 5 Jahren auf dem wunderschönen Zypern und hoffe, ich kann dir mit meinem Wissen vor Ort den Urlaub oder gar das Auswandern erleichtern :-)
Your travel blog all about Cyprus.
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