Kykkos Monastery

Situated in the western part of the Troodos mountains, within Nicosia district, is the highly revered Kykkos Monastery, one of the most renowned monastic establishments in Cyprus, celebrated for its spiritual significance and cultural prominence.

The monastery's name, Kykkos, and the mountain peak on which it stands are believed to have originated from the Byzantine era, but the exact etymology remains unclear. According to some sources, the name Kykkos is linked to a plant called "kokkos," which once thrived in the area. Local tradition, on the other hand, attributes the name to a bird's song, signaling the establishment of a monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The full name of the monastery is "The Holy, Royal, and Stauropegial Monastery of the Holy Virgin of Kykkos," with "royal" denoting its foundation by imperial order from Byzantine emperor Alexios Komninos, and "Stauropegial" referring to the placement of a cross ("stauros" in Greek) at the monastery's cornerstone.

Although the monastery was originally built in the 11th century, no traces of the original structure remain today. The initial building was constructed with wood and succumbed to fires over time, leading to its destruction. Subsequently, the monastery and its surrounding buildings underwent reconstruction, extensions, and alterations, eventually taking on its present form. The complex comprises various constructions, notably adorned with welcoming mosaics at the entrance, in the corridors, and within the internal courtyard. At the heart of the complex stands the three-aisled basilica, surrounded by the monks' cells, the library, and the museum. The museum, situated in the northwest section, houses significant religious artifacts, including antiquities, holy relics, Byzantine icons, and books.

A rewarding walk toward the mountain peak adjacent to the monastery offers a square featuring a statue of Archbishop Makarios III, the first president of the Republic of Cyprus, and further along the embellished path, leads to his tomb. At the peak of the mountain stands an impressive, recently constructed chapel, providing stunning views over the Troodos mountains. Historically, during periods of droughts or other disasters, the icon of the Virgin Mary would be brought to this spot and placed on a wooden throne, hence the name of the peak "Throni" (meaning "throne").

A remarkable monument of both religious and historical importance, the Kykkos Monastery remains one of the foremost monasteries on the island. Emerging from imperial auspices, this spiritual and cultural center has flourished since its early years, attracting numerous visitors throughout the year.

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