We know it’s all too easy to stay for your whole holiday in the wonderful luxury of Londa but while you’re in Cyprus, why not get to see some of the island’s amazing landmarks? Nearly always in the top 5 is the incredible Kykkos Monastery up in the cool of the Troodos Mountains.
The richest monastery in Cyprus
Kykkos is indeed wealthy in terms of heritage, culture, religious importance and then, of course, there is the amount of gold, silver and precious icons all on view to visitors.
The collection of buildings nestle in the side of a mountain 1318 metres high up in Troodos with views extending to the far corners of the range; even the seat of the gods, Mount Olympus, can be seen in the distance at a height of 1952 metres. Unfortunately, the original monastery from 1092 was the victim of fire but the present buildings from 1770 are majestic and richly ornate.
Joining the service
It is well worth the hour and a half drive from Londa just to sit in on a service or mass when the famous Kykkos priests worship in chants and have a reputation for being the most beautiful holy voices in Cyprus. As a visitor you can slip in and out of the main church as you wish, moving quietly and dressed respectfully. You can experience the wonder of Greek Orthodox prayers, the aromas of the incense and a serene sense of peace. The iconostasis is one of the most stunning pieces of carving seen on the island and the whole church is full of carved seating, frescos, icons, huge candle holders and chandeliers dripping with gold; it is truly awe-inspiring.
Museum of artefacts
The monastery’s wealth goes beyond the church itself as the collections seen in the museum are equally if not more important, and to gain a real sense of history both for Kykkos and Greek Orthodoxy across Cyprus, a visit to the museum is essential. Embroidered vestments and the robes of bishops and archbishops, tapestries portraying biblical events and icons and ancient frescos depicting the Saints’ lives are amongst hundreds of exhibits that have contributed to the ecclesiastical story over the last millennium.
A visit to Kykkos winery
This site has also been home to wine making for over 1000 years and the new winery, opened in 1992, now makes a superb variety of wine and spirits from the grapes grown in local fields. The most famous is the excellent Zivania, but as well as the common transparent variety there is also a red version strained with sugar and cinnamon to create a spicy drink with a real kick. The red Zivania has been made here since 1090 and the monks still, to this day, bring it to the dinner table, along with the other Kykkos wines, when hosting guests. This has to be one of the delights of Kykkos and possibly one of the best souvenir ideas for friends back home.
The Monastery and the Museum are open daily: June – October: 10am to 6pm. The church is free and the Museum is 5 euro per head.