Here in Cyprus, churches are an absolute national treasure. There are hundreds around the island that don’t only shed light on the island’s religious heritage, but also its colourful history and culture. But how often do you actually take a peak behind the tiny chapel doors while driving through country lanes? Here are three that we found that will no doubt impress you!
1. Chapel of the Archangel Michael, Lefkara
It’s hardly surprising that one of Cyprus’ prettiest villages is also filled with chapels, aside from the well-known larger chapel of the Holy Cross. Known for its religious residents, there are actually about 18 chapels dotted around the village and the wider vicinity. This specific chapel at the south of the village in the middle of barren fields dates back to the 12th century – renovated in the 1980s – with the frescoes of saints on the inside perfectly reflecting the Byzantine style.
2. Chapel of the Holy Cross, Stavros tis Psokas, Paphos Forest
Located in one of the most beautiful parts of the country and cocooned by the sprawling and lush Paphos forest, this beauty is located in very close proximity to an enclosed moufflon protection area. Legend has it that this church was built in the area after a visiting girl was miraculously cured of her psoriasis. And in fact, the area was long ago named ‘Stavros tis Psoras’, but over time became known as ‘Stavros tis Psokas’. The wooden rooved church is a real beauty, filled with colourful icons on the inside.
3. Ayia Mavri Chapel, Koilani
The sunkissed slopes of the Troodos mountains that rise up above Limassol are not just all about vineyards, wine villages and spectacular wineries. Like most of Cyprus, cultural and historical intrigue surprises guests around every corner. And in Koilani, a tiny chapel often features in traveller’s photos. Two kilometres outside the centre of the village on the banks of the gurgling Krios river, this little chapel known as Ayia Mavri, actually built on a big rock, commands pride of place beside a plane tree that is over 1000 years old. The Byzantine church used to be covered in impressive frescoes, but only a few remain today.