The location of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean gives it special religious significance. The island is a treasure trove of religious icons, mosaics and artifacts, as well as ecclesiastical architecture, because religion, which has played a vital part in the life of Cyprus for thousands of years, is woven deeply into the fabric of the island.

people_priestIts proximity to the Holy Land means that Cyprus has been the scene of many important religious events, including the visit of Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas who converted the proconsul to Christianity during the Roman period. The saints were guided by Irakleidios, whose name is commemorated in the name of the Agios Iraqleidios Convent near Nicosia. That’s just one of the hundreds of places of worship — almost every village has a picturesque church with interesting details, paintings, or an unusual architectural feature.

And Cyprus is famous for its monasteries and convents. In the mountainous Troodos region, 20 km west of the village of Pedoulos, is the most famous and richest monastery in Cyprus, Kykkos Monastery. pafos_agiosneophytos2It possesses one of the three surviving icons ascribed to Saint Luke. Fairs are held here in August and September. And also in Troodos you’ll find nine beautifully painted Byzantine churches, so remarkable that the they are listed in UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List. Another remarkable Monastery is Stavrovouni Monastery near Larnaca, which is perched on a rocky peak. According to legend it was founded in the 4th century by Saint Helena, who left a fragment of the Holy Cross to the monastery. Any traveler who is interested in religion should experience the wonders of Cyprus.