Mention ‘Timios Stavros Monastery’ or the ‘Monastery of the Holy Cross’ to any local and they are more than likely to point you in the direction of the popular winegrowing village of Omodos. But what many people don’t know, is that the Limassol village of Anogyra – half way between Limassol and Paphos – is also home a monastery going by the same name that is just as spectacular, albeit rather different.
Rising 400 metres above sea level and famed for its gorgeous Carob trees (Cyprus’ ‘black gold’) which surround the blissfully peaceful traditional village, drive through the winding lanes to get here and before reaching the village proper, the remains of a stunning old building will call out to greet you.
Anogyra’s Holy Cross Monastery dates back to the Byzantine era and is a really intricate complex, with several outbuildings said to have once been used as living quarters for the monks. Also be sure to have a good look at its barrel-vaulted church with a single nave and dome. Adorned with Palaiologan style paintings on its walls, they may have faded over the time, but still deserve attention and remain great examples of Palaiologan painting on the island.
The present-day church was built in the 15th century over the foundations of an early Christian basilica. Legend has it that that a nearby underground tunnel was once used by the monks to hide their treasures. Keep in mind that every August, the place lures crowds from near and far with a religious festival that takes place in the church yard on the first of the month.
Where? Anogyra Village, 39 km west of Limassol. Free.