The Holy, Royal and Stavropegic Monastery of Kykkos or Kykkos Monastery, for short, is a spiritual place that has become the wealthiest monastery in Northern Cyprus.
Founded in the 11th century, the Kykkos Monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is home to one of the three icons created by Luke, the Evangelist. The story of how the icon made its way to the island is a story of adventure and forgiveness.
Designed in the style of Byzantine, part of the monasteries’ charm is its location within the mountainous region of Marathasa Valley. Sitting on the peak at an altitude of 1318 meters above sea level, the views are fabulous and provide an incredible escape from the island’s summer heat.
The Myth of Kykkos Monastery
It is believed that upon a first encounter, an honourable reclusive monk called Isiah was beaten by the Byzantine Governor, Manuel Boutoumites. The latter became angry when he asked the monk for help when he got lost in the forest and was ignored.
Upon returning home, Manuel fell seriously ill with lethargy. In his fatigued state, he thought back on how he had treated Isiah and begged God to cure him so that he could apologise and ask for forgiveness.
God listened. In addition, to healing Manual, God appeared to Isiah and told him that when Manuel returns, he must ask him to bring the icon of the Virgin Mary, which had been painted by the Apostle Luke, to Cyprus from Istanbul.
Manuel agreed, and they travelled together to retrieve the icon from the emperor of İstanbul.
It wasn’t until the emperor’s daughter fell ill, with lethargy, that Manuel was able to meet with him. He took this divine opportunity and told Emperor Alexios of his personal experience and promised that his daughter would be cured if he sent the holy icon of the Virgin Mary to Cyprus.
The emperor agreed, and his daughter returned to her previous bill of good health instantly.
On second thoughts, not wanting to part with the masterpiece, the emperor ordered his best painter to produce a replica, to send the fake to Cyprus instead.
However, that same evening the Mother of God herself appeared in the emperor’s dream and told him that he should retain the copy and send the original to Cyprus.
Myth has it that as the painting was taken along the coast and through the Troödos Mountains, the trees devoutly bent their trunks and branches to make way for the Virgin Mary painting. The money provided by the emperor was then used to build the church and monastery in Kykkos.
Today you can visit this spiritual place and be super close to that very icon of the Virgin Mary.
Entry to Kykkos Monastery
Kykkos Monastery has different opening times throughout the year:
- From November to May, 10:00 – 16:00
- From June to October 10:00 – 18:00
It is open all year round, except for public holidays. Cyprus may not have the same public holidays as you, so check with a quick google search.
The tickets are just €5!
A great time to visit is September 8th (Birth of the Virgin) and August 15th (Dormition of the Virgin), as the monastery hosts a religious fair. Zivania spirit, produced at the monastery, will most likely be available.
It is an alcoholic drink that is transparent and smells faintly like raisins. Will you be trying it?
Tips for Visiting Kykkos Monastery
Boost your vacation to Cyprus by staying at the Limak Cyprus Deluxe Hotel. It’s an all-inclusive luxury family resort built to make your holiday dreams come true.
A review on TripAdvisor reads, “if I had to give my ratings out of a 100, I would give it 200%, what a hotel brilliant“.
Dress appropriately! Men should not wear shorts and should wear a shirt. While ladies are asked to cover their shoulders and not wear shorts.
Enjoy your trip to the Kykkos Monastery with a free audio tour from VisitCyprus.com.
How to Tour Kykkos Monastry
Being deep in the mountains, the Kykkos Monastery isn’t the most accessible place to visit. So, unless you are adventurous and have a car, it may be best to see it as part of a tour. Here are our top picks:
1. Troodos and Kykkos Day Tour from Paphos (from € 21)
The bus tour lasts 8 hours (approx.) and includes the Troodos Mountains, three monasteries and a stop to shop and eat.
The day trip includes a Jeep ride through the Troodos Mountains to the Kykkos Monastery. Also, you’ll spend time in a traditional coffee shop, visit a beautiful 20-meter waterfall, and taste locally produced wine.
3. Troodos Mountains & Kykkos Monastery from Paphos (from € 21)
A 5-hour bus tour with plenty of stops, including Omodos, a beautiful village, the Kykkos monastery, the tomb of Archbishop Makarios III, the first President of Cyprus. Lunch isn’t included.