Duration: 8 hours
We will then visit the famous Monastery of Kykkos, the richest and most lavish of the monasteries of Cyprus, which is in the Marathasa region. It is situated at an altitude of 1200 metres, about one km from the mountain peak Throni or Throni of Panagia some 120 m higher, on the northwest face of the Troodos mountains. The monastery was built in the Byzantine era and has great historical value. Dedicated to Panagia, it possesses a miraculous icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, painted by Apostle Luke the Evangelist. The icon, covered in silver gilt, is in a shrine made of tortoise shell and mother - of - pearl that stands in front of the iconostasis. The silver gilt is a veil that covers the face of the icon and is NEVER raised. There is a wonderful story about how the icon came here.
Blessed with divine grace, Cypriot hermit Esaias miraculously cured the local Governor of an incurable illness in the 12th century. As a reward, he asked for the icon of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) that was kept at the imperial palace at Constantinople. It took divine intervention for Alexios to send it to Cyprus with fitting honours together with funds to pay for the construction of a monastery where the sacred relic would be kept. At the hermit's request, the Governor endowed the monastery with three villages. Interestingly, the full name of the monastery is 'The Holy, Royal and Stavropegic Monastery of the Virgin of Kykkos'.
Tradition associated the name Kykkos with the call of a bird. According to that tradition, a bird with human voice flew around in the area presaging the establishment of the Monastery of the Virgin with these verses:
"Kykkou, Kykkou, kykkos’ hill
A monastery the site shall fill
A golden girl shall enter in
And never shall come out again"
Twice destroyed, it was rebuilt wholly of stone in 1541 and enlarged in 1745. It houses numerous mosaics and frescoes depicting biblical events and miracles. The church in the Monastery holds close to fifty valuable heirlooms. Its Vestry houses an astonishing collection of silver and gilt receptacles holding the relics of many saints. People from all parts of the world come to the Monastery to the miracle-working Mother of God, asking Her either to cure them of some illness or grant them the strength to cope with life’s trials and tribulations. They also seek blessings from the Saints. It is one the places to see in Cyprus, and Aphrodite Tours always has an itinerary that includes this very impressive monastery.
About 10 km from the monastery there is a Holy Water spring, at the “Pyrgi” locality. The water flows from an opening under a huge rock. According to tradition, a monk, walking in the area, fell unconscious at that spot in the scorching heat. When he regained his senses, he prayed and asked the Virgin to save him. He heard a voice telling him to strike the rock with his hand. He did so and sweet water started flowing out immediately.
Excellent traditional food! We were introduced to this pub by Aphrodite Tours on a stopover during a daylong trip in December 2012. Had a great experience! This time too, we chose Aphrodite Tours for our excursions in Cyprus and fortunately, we were lucky to find this pub unchanged. The food was amazing, the place was great; it is also a non smoking zone inside. Cozy table next to the fire place. Fair prices, value for money, traditional home made wine; my husband went for delicious steaks but I recommend the traditional cuisine. The service was excellent both times. We must thank Aphrodite Tours for this trip.
I chose the Larnaca-Nicosia & St. Thekla Monastery trip offered by Aphrodite Tours. A practising Christian, I was amazed to hear about and see the resurrection of Lazarus as related with a personal touch by the guide. The Church of St. Lazarus was marvellous; part of the sacred relics of the Saint were discovered just forty odd years ago! Stavrovouni was breathtaking as was the small village of Meniko, where the remnants of the tomb of St.Thekla were kept. The story of Church Panagia Chrysospiliotissa in a natural cave consecrated in honour of Virgin Chrysospiliotissa was very moving. I’m glad I took this tour and I am grateful to Aphrodite Tours for this edifying trip.
My husband and I opted for Aphrodite’s Tours excursion to the Donkey Farm at Kelokedara Paphos. The concept is noble and the entire package wonderful. The local delicacies like sushukko washed down with Zivania warmed us up for the ride which was most enjoyable. The meal on return was delicious. The whole package was invigorating and exciting. I’ve framed my Diploma! Thank you, Aphrodite Tours, for suggesting this diversion.