Traces of Early Christianity
Day 1: ARRIVAL IN CYPRUS
Arrive Larnaca airport, transfer to hotel in Limassol. Dinner and overnight.
DAY 2 – LIMASSOL – KOURION – OMODOS
Start with a visit the historical old town with unique architecture, drive past Limassol castle and the marina, continuing to Kourion – an ancient city built in the 2nd century. See extravagant mosaic floors at the House of Eustolios, the Roman baths and visit the Baptistery Basilica from the 4th century. Depart for the hills to the pretty wine village of Omodos. Walk along the it’s narrow cobbled streets to the historic Holy Cross monastery (Timios Stavros) with the relics of the Holy Cross. It is believed that St Helen came to Cyprus in AD327 and brought with her In the afternoon see the vineyards and taste Cyprus wine made locally.
DAY 3 – NICOSIA
Depart for Nicosia – the island’s capital and the only divided city in the world. Visit the cathedral of St. John the Evangelist from the 18th century, where there are frescoes with scenes from the Bible and the tomb of St. Barnabas. Visit the Byzantine Museum with icons from the eighteenth centuries and the Archaeological Museum with a collection of Cypriot antiques from the Neolithic to early Byzantine period. Continue in the old city within the venetian walls and stroll around Laiki Yitonia (old folk neigborhood)
DAY 4 –TROODOS MOUNTAINS – KYKKOS
Depart for pine-scented Troodos mountain range to visit two of the ten painted Byzantine Churches, which are included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Firstly, Panagia tou Araka in Lagoudera village and Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis, Kakopetria. Continuing through the Troodos mountain villages the the largest monastery on the Island Kykkos where we will admire the icon of the Virgin Mary painted by St. Luke.
DAY 5 – PETRA TOU ROMIOU – PAFOS ST PAUL
Depart to Paphos along the scenic route along the south-western coast of the Island. Brief stop at the legendary birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite at Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock), admire the landscape combining sea and mountains. Continue to Paphos, which the whole town has been awarded by UNESCO as world heritage site. See the royal tombs and mosaics of the House of Dionysos inspired by Greek mythology. Visit Chrysopolitissa church and the Pillar of St Paul, where the saint was bound and flogged. The Apostle Paul converted the Proconsul Sergius Paulus to Christianity in Paphos in 47 AD making Cyprus the first area to be ruled by a Christian. This was the first stop on the itinerary of Pope Benedict XVI during his pilgrimage to Cyprus in June 2010. Finally visit the monastery of St Neophytos 12th century, carved out of the mountain rock, see the beautiful frescoes from Byzantine era.
DAY 6 – LEFKARA – LARNAKA – KITI
Depart for the Larnaca hills and the world famous village of Lefkara, famous for lace products and crafts. See the work of lace makers and goldsmiths. Stroll through the charming streets of the village. Continue to Larnaca, which was built on the ruins of the ancient city of Kition. Visit the byzantine church of St. Lazarus and the underground tomb. Lazarus of Bethany whom Jesus Christ resurrected four days after his death came by boat to Cyprus ad landed in Kition where he met the Apostles Paul and Barnabas who ordained him Bishop of Kition. Lazarus lived on the Island for another thirty years. Drive past the salt lake, an important migatory route. If lucky we may see pink flamingos in the lake and various species of water birds. Hala Sultan Tekke is a mosque is found on the edge of the lake, housing the Mausoleum of the aunt of the Prophet Mohammed and considered the 3rd holiest site in Islam. Finally, visit the nearby village of Kiti, where the 11th century Panayia Angeloktisti church is located. The name means “built by angels” erected over the ruins of an early Christian basilica. The original apse survived together with one of the finest pieces of Byzantine art of the Justinian period, a rare 6th century mosaic of the Virgin and Child between two archangels.
DAY 7 – FREE DAY
Optional day free at leisure.
DAY 8 – DEPARTURE
Transfer to Larnaca airport for onward flight.
Sequence of visits may change.
Prices on request
Please contact us for a tailor made price.
Cyprus Tours – Archaeological – Cultural – Private – licensed Guided – tailor made tours by Chronos Travel Cyprus