6 Beautiful Historic Heritage Sites To See In Cyprus

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6 Beautiful Historic Heritage Sites To See In Cyprus

Date: Mar 20, 2023
Author: Collins.cidar 496 No Comments

One of the very few countries in the world which played key roles in the transmission of culture from the Middle East to the European world is Cyprus. This Country is an island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and is bounded on all sides by Turkey, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt and Greece. Its capital city is Nicosia.

    It was in this country that was discovered the great and exceptionally well preserved archeological site, Choirokoitia, which holds the evidence of the spread of civilisation and human society development from Asia to the worlds around the Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus boasts of many other cultural and tourist sites so worth seeing. Notable among them include The Painted Churches in the Troodos Region, and Paphos. Paphos deserves to be mentioned, as it was the legendary birthplace of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, and where her magnificently structured Temple was erected by the Mycenaeans in the 12th century BC. It thus was a centre of the Cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Tombs, Theatres, Villas, Palaces and Fortresses of ancient origin found in Paphos speak of its architectural and historic value.

    There are also the tourist and cultural sites Khandara, kionia, The Neval Settlement of Fikardou, Klirou Bridge, and Troodos, Mt. Olympus. Anywhere you found yourself in Cyprus there is always something significant to behold, and we have prepared a list below that will help you best places with great excitement for site-discovery.


Choirokoitia/photographer:Groundhopping Merseburg/Flickr

Located in the District of Larnaka, about 6 km from the southern coast of Cyprus, the Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia lies on the slopes of a hill partly enclosed in a loop of the Maroni River. Occupied from the 7th to the 5th millennium B.C., the village covers an area of approximately 3 ha at its maximum extent and is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the eastern Mediterranean. It represents the Aceramic Neolithic of Cyprus at its peak, that is the success of the first human occupation of the island by farmers coming from the Near East mainland around the beginning of 9th millennium.

Excavations have shown that the settlement consisted of circular houses built from mudbrick and stone with flat roofs and that it was protected by successive walls. A complex architectural system providing access to the village has been uncovered on the top of the hill. The achievement of such an impressive construction, built according to a preconceived plan, expresses an important collective effort, with few known parallels in the Near East, and suggests a structured social organisation able to construct and maintain works of a large scale for the common good. A house consisted of several circular buildings equipped with hearths and basins arranged around a small courtyard where domestic activities took place. The houses belonged to the living, as well as to the dead who were buried in pits beneath the rammed earthen floors. Among the finds such as flint tools, bone tools, stone vessels, vegetal and animal remains, noteworthy are the anthropomorphic figurines in stone (one in clay), which point, together with funerary rituals, to the existence of elaborate beliefs. Since only part of the site has been excavated, it forms an exceptional archaeological reserve for future study.

Painted Churches in the Troodos Region

Painted Churches in the Troodos Region/Photographer: JORDI MTREUS65/Flickr

The Troodos mountain region of Cyprus contains one of the largest groups of churches and monasteries of the former Byzantine Empire. The ten monuments included on the World Heritage List, all richly decorated with murals, provide an overview of Byzantine and post-Byzantine painting in Cyprus and bear testimony to the variety of artistic influences affecting Cyprus over a period of 500 years. The structures display elements that were specific to Cyprus and were determined by its geography, history and climate, including steep-pitched wooden roofs with flat hooked tiles, in some cases providing a second roof over Byzantine masonry domes and vaulted forms, while exhibiting Byzantine metropolitan art of the highest quality. The architecture of these churches is unique, confined to the Troodos range and almost certainly of indigenous origin. They range from small churches whose rural architectural style is in stark contrast to their highly refined decoration, to monasteries such as that of St John Lampadistis. They also contain a wealth of dated inscriptions, an uncommon feature in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Middle Ages, which makes them particularly important for recording the chronology of Byzantine painting. Important examples of the 11th century iconography survive in the churches of St. Nicholas of the Roof and Panagia Phorbiotissa of Nikitari. Within Panagia tou Arakou in Lagoudera and St. Nicholas of the Roof are found important wall paintings from the Comnenian era, with the first being of exceptional artistic quality attributed to Constantinopolitan masters. The 13th century, the early period of Latin (western) rule in Cyprus, is well represented in the wall paintings of St. John Lampadistis in Kalopanagiotis and in Panagia in Moutoulla, which reflect the continuing Byzantine tradition and new external influences. The 14th century wall paintings at Panagia Phorbiotissa, Timios Stavros at Pelendri and St. John Lampadistis also display both local and Western influences, and to a certain degree, the revived art of Paleologan Constantinople. In the late 15th century iconography at Timios Stavros Agiasmati and Archangelos Michael, Pedoulas exhibits once again the harmonious combination of Byzantine art with local painting tradition, as well as some elements of Western influence, which are different, however, from the earlier series of St. John Lampadistis that was painted by a refugee from Constantinople. The Venetian rule, which began in 1489 was reflected in the development of the Italo-Byzantine school, and the most sophisticated examples can be found in Panagia Podhithou and the north chapel of St. John Lampadistis, both successful examples of Italian Renaissance art and Byzantine art fusion. Finally, the wall paintings of the Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Palaichori form part of the Cretan school of the 16th century.

The ten churches included in the serial inscription are: Ayios Nikolaos tis Stegis (St. Nicholas of the Roof), Kakopetria; Ayios Ioannis (St. John) Lambadhistis Monastery, Kalopanayiotis; Panayia (The Virgin) Phorviotissa (Asinou), Nikitari; Panayia (The Virgin) tou Arakou, Lagoudhera; Panayia (The Virgin), Moutoullas; Archangelos Michael (Archangel Michael), Pedhoulas; Timios Stavros (Holy Cross), Pelendria;  Panayia (The Virgin) Podhithou, Galata; Stavros (Holy Cross) Ayiasmati, Platanistasa, and the Church of Ayia Sotira (Transfiguration of the Savior), Palaichori. Of the ten churches nine are situated in the District of Nicosia and one, Timios Stavros (Holy Cross), Pelendria is in the District of Limassol.


Paphos/Sergei Gussev/Flickr

Paphos, situated in the District of Paphos in western Cyprus, is a serial archaeological property consisting of three components at two sites: the town of Kato Paphos (Site I), and the village of Kouklia (Site II). Kato Paphos includes the remains of ancient Nea Paphos (Aphrodite’s Sacred City) and of the Kato Paphos necropolis known as Tafoi ton Vasileon (“Tombs of the Kings”), further to the north. The village of Kouklia includes the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite (Aphrodite’s Sanctuary) and Palaepaphos (Old Paphos). Because of their great antiquity, and because they are closely and directly related to the cult and legend of Aphrodite (Venus), who under the influence of Homeric poetry became the ideal of beauty and love, inspiring writers, poets, and artists throughout human history, these two sites can indeed be considered to be of outstanding universal value.

Paphos, which has been inhabited since the Neolithic period, was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Aphrodite’s legendary birthplace was on the island of Cyprus, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century BC and continued to be used until the Roman period. The site is a vast archaeological area, with remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs. These illustrate Paphos’ exceptional architectural and historic value and contribute extensively to our understanding of ancient architecture, ways of life, and thinking. The villas are richly adorned with mosaic floors that are among the most beautiful in the world. These mosaics constitute an illuminated album of ancient Greek mythology, with representations of Greek gods, goddesses and heroes, as well as activities of everyday life.

The rural settlement of Fikardou

The rural settlement of Fikardou/photographer: dimitrisvetsikas1969 / pixabay

Fikardou is an excellent example of a traditional mountain settlement, which has preserved its 18’h and 19th century physiognomy and architecture, as well as its natural environment. The main aesthetic quality is the integrity and authenticity of the village, which is in complete harmony with its environment.


Kionia/photographer:dimitrisvetsikas1969 /pixabay

This site has to be considered as part of the Troodos ophiolite, a 90 million year old fragment of extremely well-preserved oceanic crust. In an excellent road section the sheeted Dyke Complex (layer 2) of oceanic crust is superbly exposed. Spreading processes and hydrothermal alteration within this part of the oceanic crust can be studied here.

Troodos, Mt. Olympus

Troodos, Mt. Olympus/photographer: stephancbruinsma/flickr

This site has to be considered as part of the Troodos ophiolite, a 90 million year old fragment of extremely well-preserved oceanic crust. This is a site where the lower part of the oceanic crustal and upper mantle sequences are well exposed and where lower crustal and mantle processes can be studied and demonstrated.

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