Day 1: Travel to Cyprus
First, we chose a nice flight, booked our hotels and flew to Cyprus. We arrived at Larnaca airport (which is actually pretty new and clean) and transferred to Limassol by a rented car. Since this was our first day we went just for a nice walk after we checked in at the hotel. We had a nice dinner at the hotel and went early in bed to fill in our batteries for the next day.
2nd Day: Excursion to Larnaca
Hotel’s breakfast was delicious. We decided to head to Larnaca for a tour. The city is built on the ruins of the ancient city – kingdom of Kition, where the great Greek philosopher Zeno was born. Zeno founded the famous Stoic school of thought. Larnaca is also known as the second home of Saint Lazarus, who, after his Resurrection, spent the next 30 years of his life preaching about Christianity and was declared as the patron saint of Larnaca. The church of St. Lazarus was very interesting. It is built over the tomb of the ninth century by Emperor Leo VI and is one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture. We continued our tour to the wonderful Pierides Foundation, the archaeological museum with its rare collections, which is one of the oldest private museums of Cyprus. Then we went three km west of Larnaca on the shores of Salt Lake. There is located the Mosque of «Hala Suktan Tekesi» built in 648 AD in honor of Haram Suktan, a relative of Prophet Muhammad. This is one of the most important places of worship for Muslims. Our next stop was the Byzantine church “Angeloktisti” (built by angels) which is one of the finest pieces of Byzantine art, with a rare 6th century mosaic of the Virgin Mary and Christ between two archangels. After a long day, we headed back to our hotel for rest.
3rd Day: Tour in Nicosia
The next day we visited the magnificent capital of the island and the last divided city in Europe. Nicosia is lively and combines old with new. We visited the Cathedral of St. John, dating from the 17th century with the 4 larger pictures which were painted by John Kornaros at the 18th century. Next stop was the Archaeological Museum which has rich historical ruins. Then we went to the “green line” that divides the city into two parts and took some photos of the Turkish occupied part of the city.
4th Day: Excursion in Paphos
Paphos is considered be the most beatiful city of Cyprus, so we had to visit it. We started from the picturesque harbor where we saw the superb mosaics in the houses of Dionysus and Theseus. Then we visit the ruins of the church of Panagia Chrysopolitissa and the church of Agia Kyriaki, in the yard which is the column of the Apostle Paul. Next stop was Geroskipou, whose name derives from the ancient Greek word “Sacred Garden”. This was the place of the Aphrodite’s sacred gardens. Geroskipou is also known for the Cypriot loukkoumia (kind of marshmallows), and the church of Agia Paraskevi, which is one of the most interesting Byzantine churches of Cyprus, dated the 9th century. It is worth mentioning that the whole town of Paphos has been designated as UNESCO World Heritage. It was getting late so we decided to stay at Vasilias Nikoklis, which is one of the Cyprus agrotourism hotels.
5th Day: Siteseeing
The next day we made a stop at the Rock of Aphrodite, where according to legend emerged from the waves of the sea goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. Then we headed for the Troodos Mountains which are the highest mountain of Cyprus. We made a stop at the village of Omodos, which once was a property of the Prince of Galilee, famous for producing great wines. We continued to Kykkos Monastery which is the most famous (and rich!) monastery of Cyprus, which was built in 1100 AD and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In Kykkos monastery we saw one of the three images of the Virgin, which is said to have painted the Evangelist Luke.
6th Day: Relax
In the last day we decided to just relax and enjoy the hotel. We had a rich break and spent some time over the swimming pool to organize the many photos we took over these days. Afterwards we had a nice lunch (Cypriot meze) and a nice nap. We spent our afternoon in a nearby beach and after some drinks at a local bar we headed back to the hotel.
We had an amazing time in Cyprus and we will definitely go again to visit different places.