CYPRUS - THE ISLAND OF SAINTS
Cyprus is known as the island of myth, the island of lost kingdoms, and perhaps most importantly, as the Island of saints.
Together we will travel across the whole island - we will visit the 1000 year old Kykkos Monastery in the Trodoos Mountains, explore the religious ans historical sights of the capital, and we will let the UNESCO city of Paphos blow us away. Later we will take a break at the sanctuary of Apollo before we visit Larnaka - another UNESCO listed city. The last but not the least stop will be the Monastery of Apostle Barnabas and the infamous ghost-town of Famagusta in North Cyprus.
Arrival to Cyprus. Meet & Greet, and transfer to hotel in Limassol. Free day to rest and explore the old port, the new marina, and the vibrant atmosphere of the city of Limassol.
On our very first day, we will go to the Troodos Mountains, the green heart of Cyprus. A memorable off the beaten track journey through traditional villages and untouched nature. We will stop just below Mount Olympus, the highest peak of Cyprus, to Troodos square to take a glance at the panoramic views of Troodos. On our way to Kykkos, we will find Throni, the place where the Archbishop Makarios III tomb is situated. Makarios is the first president of the island and is a significant piece of political and religious history of the island. Next, we will arrive at Kykkos Monastery. The monastery is almost a thousand years old, and it is the wealthiest, most lavish, and awe-inspiring on the whole island. On our way back, we will stop by the most prominent Wine village of Cyprus, Omodos. After a traditional meze lunch, we will proceed to a 12th-century monastery, situated in the heart of the village.
Today we will depart for Nicosia, the last divided capital left in the world. We will visit the Cyprus museum which holds the most important archeological findings of the island, a few of them dating back as 9000 B.C. Our next stop is the Byzantine Museum with the most extensive collection of religious artifacts on the island. We will also visit the 14th century Saint John’s Cathedral, which stands next to to the museum and the Archbishop’s Palace. We will then proceed on foot to ‘Laiki Gitonia’ (traditional neighborhood) for lunch. This area is probably one of the most picturesque corners of the island and is known for keeping traditions alive. After lunch, we will continue our walk to Ledra street, and proceed to the checkpoint to cross to the Turkish part of the town. Here, we will discuss the recent historical events that led to this situation. This part of our tour is in stark contrast with the rest of the island, because here, history is still in the making. In the Northern part of Nicosia, we will visit the 14th century cathedral of St. Sophia, now converted to a mosque and the Büyük Han, a 16th-century great inn.
On our 4th day, we will begin our day with a visit to the ancient kingdom of Curium, a Greco-Roman site dating back as 1000 years B.C. Then we will proceed towards Paphos. In our way, we will come across the Petra tou Romiou. The most famous natural site in Cyprus where legend says goddess Aphrodite rose from the foamy waves. We will then proceed to a Paphos, a whole city classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There we will visit the Tombs of the Kings and the house of Dyonisos, which holds an exquisite collection of mosaics. We will then proceed for lunch to the old harbor of Paphos. Onwards we will explore the catacombs of Saint Solomoni and the famous Saint Paul’s Pillar at Saint Kyriaki Church, a 13th century chapel surrounded by mosaics and ruins of past glory.
On this day, we will discover the Sanctuary of Apollo the Hylates. Apollo was the god of the forest and protector of the ancient kingdom of Curium. He was worshipped on this site between the 8th century B.C. and 4th century A.D. We will walk through the iconic ruins of the sanctuary and the temple. Onwards, we will visit the Kolossi Castle. The castle was constructed in the 13th century and served as the grand commandery of the knights templar. Comandaria, the traditional cypriot wine gets its name from this castle, as it was cultivated in the sourounding area and enjoyed by the comanders of the castle. We will finish our tour in the old city of Limassol, the vibrant cultural hub of the city with several interesting places to visit. A few examples of what is within walking distance: Old port, New marina, Medieval Castle, City Market, Souvenir shops, Restarants, Coffeshops. Here we either let you on your own to spend your afternoon in the city or proceed back to the hotel.
After breakfast, we will proceed to Larnaka. Our first stop is St. Lazarus church, where the saint who resurrected Jesus is buried. We will then continue to the Hala Sultan Tekke, one of the most revered Muslim sites in the world. Onwards, we will visit the majestic 5th century Church of Panagia Aggelokstistis (Virgin Mary the Angel-built). This church has one of the most significant wall mosaics of the early Christian art that dates to the 6th century A.D. On our way back we will stop for lunch at the traditional Lefkara Village. The village is famous for its handcrafted lace and silverware. We will then continue to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, to Chirokitia. Chirokitia is one of the most important and well preserved prehistoric settlements.
On our final tour, we will visit Famagusta, which is situated in North Cyprus. We will begin our excursion in the ancient city of Salamina. Salamis, as it was called, served as the capital of Cyprus for atleast 1000 years and dates back as far as 1500 B.C. We will discover the archaeological site of Salamis as our guide shares with us the rise and fall of this great Greek kingdom. We will then proceed to the Monastery of Saint Barnbas. Barabas was born in Salamis, and when Apostle Paul came to Salamis, he joined him to spread the word of Christ. We will later proceed through the infamous “ghost town” of Famagusta to Derynia. Famagusta was one the most vibrant and cosmopolitan city of the island; it was the jewel of Cyprus. For about 700 years this was the cultural hub of the island until it was abondoned after the events of 1974. Once we arrive to Derynia, we will have lunch. After our meal, we will visit an observation tower, where we will have a panoramic view of the ghost town and discover the hidden secrets of this forgotten corner of the mediteranean. At night we will have a traditional farewell dinner at a tavern in the old Port of Limassol.
After breakfast, we will depart for the airport. An assistant will guide and assist you through the check-in process and escort you to gates.
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