1318 meters high in the mountains of the Marathasa Valley is our last destination of our discovery tour in the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus. Here is the Kykkos Monastery, one of the most beautiful monasteries in Cyprus.
Origin of the monastery – Legends
Several legends are mentioned that led to the creation of the monastery:
The Byzantine emperor Alexios I. Komnenos (1081 – 1118 A.D.) founded the monastery during his reign. The legend says that a hermit healed the emperor’s daughter. As a reward he demanded the icon of Theotokos (the Virgin Mary), which was kept in the emperor’s palace. The emperor sent this and additional funds for the construction of the monastery to Cyprus for the storage of the icon.
A hermit monk also plays a role in another version. At the end of the 11th century, this monk is said to have been disturbed by Manuel Voutoumetes, the governor of Cyprus, who lost his way while hunting. When the monk refused to show the governor the way, he was given a kick. After returning to his seat, the governor fell ill. In his distress he asked the monk for forgiveness for his kick. The monk healed him and in return he received the emperor’s icon of Mary.
Which legend is true??? Either way, the icon of Mary came into the possession of the monks.
Today nothing remains of the original building of the monastery. The monastery burned down several times and was destroyed by earthquakes. The complex, which can be visited today, dates from the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1990 the frescoes and mosaics in the monastery corridors were created, which today attract visitors from all over the world to the Troodos Mountains
The navigation system leads us again through the mountains on paths that are supposed to be the shortest, but certainly not the fastest.
But at some point we end up on an access road to Kykkos Monastery, where there are even signs.
Maybe we should change the settings of the navigation system…
But scenically the trip was a real dream.
In front of the monastery there are some car parks, I doubt if they are sufficient in the main season, but in March it was pleasantly quiet here. The car parks were free of charge.
We park the car and step outside the entrance gate of the monastery. Here you can guess what splendour will await us inside.
A large part of the monastery can be visited free of charge and if you also want to visit the museum, you should plan on at least 2 hours. There is a lot to discover!
We enter a large courtyard through the entrance gate. Here you can already discover the first “treasures” of the Kykkos monastery. The arcades of the courtyard have been decorated with various frescoes. We go up the stairs and discover some pictures to which we can relate stories from the Bible. In this way, scenes from the Crusades to the life of Christ can be seen.
But there are also pictures that illustrate what I consider to be a fairly free interpretation of the Bible. I particularly liked the picture of the Ladder to Heaven. Here angels accompany people on a ladder to heaven. People who apparently do not deserve to go to heaven are pulled from the ladder by creatures and fall into the mouth of a beast.
Throughout the public area of the monastery you will find a variety of designs on the walls. From brightly painted pictures to artistic mosaics make the monastery look cheerful and colourful.
Following the smell of incense we arrive at the Kykkos monastery church. Here it is forbidden to take pictures, some people pray and there is a devotional silence. We step through the door and my breath really stops. We stand in front of a golden wall. There is a gilded iconostasis from 1755, a silver-plated icon of the Virgin of Kykko and there is lightning everywhere. Devoutly, people walk past relics and statues. Not only the sight, but also the incense takes my breath away and we stay in the church only for a short time.
We did not visit the museum. There are supposed to be icons, sacral relics and other exhibits on display.
The visit to Kykkos Monastery was the conclusion of our trip to the Troodos Mountains. We decided to come back for another hike and to explore the many announced routes.
November – May: 10 – 16
June – October: 10 – 18
Closed on public holidays
Entrance fees for the museum:
Entrance fee monastery:
free of charge
ATTENTION!! There is a strict dress code for the visit.
(men-long trousers and women-knee-length skirts)
Habits are available for hire at the entrance.