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Monastery of Ayia Napa

Listed under Monasteries in Cyprus.

  • Photo of Monastery of Ayia Napa
  • Photo of Monastery of Ayia Napa
  • Photo of Monastery of Ayia Napa
Photo of Monastery of Ayia Napa
Photo by flickr user Fiore S. Barbato
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Ayia Napa has a reputation for nightlife which may put off people searching for somewhere for quiet religious contemplation, but one of Ayia Napa’s most notable attractions is its monastery, which is in the centre of town, and is its namesake. The monastery was built by the Venetians to house an icon of the Virgin Mary found in a cave on the spot, and the first sleepy, now lively, town grew up around it from the once wooded, empty valley. At first the icon wasn’t moved but a shrine built around the cave, but later it was transformed into a proper church, probably during the 14th Century, taking into account the stone entrance way and the rosette over the door’s arch.

The monastery entrance used to be the south gate, which leads you past the cool, welcoming courtyard into a more austerely, but carefully, designed dwelling, which the story goes was built using money from a wealthy young Venetian woman who fled here to escape an unwanted marriage – at the time the building was a convent. It’s said that the sarcophagus in the monastery yard belongs to her. It didn’t become a monastery until near the end of the 17th Century when the island was inhabited by the Ottomans.

The version of the church seen today was built in 1990, but the lovely old stone buildings paid for by the young Venetian still stand, though they’ve been used for a lot of different purposes since.

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

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