Tro÷dos Churches and Choirokoitia


Previous Home Up Next

The first church Wherever what country we are, we allways try to visit the places on the Unesco World Cultural Heritage List. Cyprus has three items on this list:
  • Pafos,
  • churches in the Tro÷dos mountains,
  • the excavation of Choirokoitia. 

Pafos you can find on a different page. This page deals with the Tro÷dos churches and Choirokoitia.

Unesco sign  Returning to his car

The roof in black&white

In our guidebook we found there are 9 churches in the Tro÷dos mountains on the Unesco list. It also says it's absolutely impossible to visit them all in one day. That is a challenge we can't resist, especially when a look at the map shows they aren't that far apart. 

So, on a rainy day, when we don't feel like walking, we climb into our rental car and head for the Tro÷dos region. This time, we don't take the main road (we did that a few days ago). Instead, it looks like a lot of fun to try to find the shortest route. Almost three hours later, we arrive at the first church. On Cyprus, the shortest route is not guaranteed to be the fastest. 

The first church we visit, Stavros tou Agiasmata and the second one, Panagia tou Araka Lagoudera, look a lot like each other. The first is a bit smaller than the second, but both look like a barn from the outside. Inside they are heavily decorated with paintings of saints and scenes from the bible. At the second church, the priest arrives just at the time we are about to leave, and he shows us every detail of the paintings. The paintings are absolutely fabulous. Too bad it isn't allowed to make photographs (not even without flash!).
The third church, Archangelos Michaelos, is completely different. With white towers and a dome, sitting in the middle of the village, it looks a lot more modern than the other two, that were hidden in the forest. Unfortunately it is closed, so we can't see if the inside is different as well.

Religious paintings everywhere

The painting above the entrance is definitely of a more recent date than the paintings in the other churches
The priest Number four is the church of Moutoulla, which is named 'church of Moutoulla'. It is very small and lies above the village (which, as you might have guessed, is called 'Moutoullas'). Next to the church is a cemetery.

The spare bell of Moutoulla

To the loo

Cyprus monks are (or were) not very big. 

This small church doesn't have just one bell, but also one in reserve. The text written on the spare bell says 'Moutoulla'. Bells like this are very heavy, as we discover when we try to turn the bell a bit for a better picture. So when the bell needs replacing, you'll need a couple of strong guys to lift it.

Click

Ding dong
Our trip stops at the fifth church. This one is very big. The church itself has 3 parts divided by columns, and outside are buildings of a monastery. It is no longer in use as monastery, but there is a collection of Byzantine books. The church has the 'usual' paintings of saints and religious scenes.

Moutoulla

 We wonder why at a lot of pictures of saints the eyes are damaged, but we do not ask the priest. It may be a bit embarrassing. After all, the churches have always been in the possession of the monasteries, haven't they?

Three churches in one

After showing us around, the priest returns to his car to listen to religious music while waiting for another tourist. We decide the guidebook is right: after 5 churches we've seen enough.  Back in Holland we are happy we didn't 'score' all 9: since 2001 there is a 10th church on the list. After all that trouble we still would have lacked one.

Choirokoitia

The oldest settlement on Cyprus is Choirokoitia. This excavation lies only a few kilometers from the village where we stay this holiday, Tochni.It is built in 5,000 BC. The remains cover most part of the hill, although not everything is visible yet.

The houses of Choirokoitia

Stairway

The houses lie close together, often the inhabitants hardly had enough space to walk between them. These people certainly weren't claustrophobic. Just below the excavations some houses are built in the same style as these houses, so you can see how they really looked like. 

Previous Home Up Next