Cyprus Real Estate

The Legendary Monastery of Ayia Napa

  • 01.11.2021

The historic shrines of the island are fascinating with their special atmosphere. Unfortunately the turbulent times of many wars and invasions in the history of the island have caused many cultural monuments to be severely damaged - some so badly that they had to be rebuilt from scratch. Ayia Napa Monastery is a unique sanctuary which survives to this day in its original form giving a clear idea of what architectural tradition was like in Cyprus in the fifteenth century. By the way, the architecture on the island today conforms to modern trends, and real estate in Cyprus is very popular with European buyers.

The monastery is situated in the town bearing the same name, which was actually named after the shrine. Today the monastery does not function; instead it hosts a museum, visited daily by hundreds of tourists from all over the world. Tthis unique historical place is really worth a visit if you come to Cyprus on holiday or property viewing trip to choose a modern home for living or investment.

The following article will talk in more detail about the history of Ayia Napa Monastery, how to get to this historical monument and other important information.

The amazing history of Ayia Napa Monastery

  • It all started back at the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th century. Around that time the icon of Virgin Mary was found by a hunter on the area where the monastery is situated now. According to the legend, the hunter had a dog with him who found the cave with the icon emanating light. The dog started barking to attract its master's attention. It is likely that the relic was hidden in the cave during the Iconoclastic era, thus, it was saved.
  • When word about the relic spread, pilgrims started to come there. In the fourteenth century, an extension was made over the cave, which marked the beginning of the foundation of the monastery. The miraculous icon was called "Panagia Napa" by the locals, which means "Our Lady of the Forest". After a while the name was simplified and became what we know it today - Ayia Napa.
  • Not far from the cave a source of clean water was found. Today there is a well and visitors can drink water from it.
  • The monastery of Ayia Napa was founded as a Catholic monastery. At that time the island was under Venetian rule. According to some sources, many of the buildings of the monastery were financed by a wealthy Venetian woman. She became a nun in spite of her father's wishes, as he would not allow her to marry her beloved commoner. To this day, a separate two-storey building -the house of the wealthy nun, can still be seen on the convent grounds. There is an octagonal fountain next to it.
  • In the second half of the 16th century, after the island was conquered by the Ottomans, the Catholics had to leave and the shrine became orthodox. Nowadays, Cyprus is an Orthodox country.
  • At different points in history the monastery of Ayia Napa has been female and male. In more recent times, namely between the middle of the XVII century and the middle of the XVIII century, the monastery was male. For reasons that remain unknown to this day, the monks abandoned the monastery and was left unattended for more than two centuries. The monastery was renovated only in 1950 and since then it has been a place of church services.

The Monastery of Ayia Napa: Facts of interest today

  • The monastery of Ayia Napa is today a museum. Therefore, those who want to attend a service go to the church located a few meters away.
  • The complex of the monastery has nine churches and chapels;
  • The centre of the St. Epiphanius Cultural Academy operates within the walls of the shrine. The centre is active, promoting theological research.
  • On a small hill near the monastery there is a chapel. According to the legend, it was built on the place where the Virgin Mary herself stopped to rest. The chapel is filled with ancient icons and is an excellent place for secluded prayers.
  • On the way to the monastery there is an ethnographic museum that is a must for all inquisitive tourists.
  • In early autumn, the monastery hosts a major cultural and religious event, the Feast of Our Lady's Day, which is one of the city's most important celebrations.

The miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary is located in the monastery church (open to the public). Many pilgrims from all over the world come for its blessing.

The grounds of the monastery are amazingly beautiful, with many well-kept flowerbeds. It seems unbelievable that this place has preserved its peace and sanctity even in the midst of the surrounding tourist city.

Ayia Napa Monastery: How to reach and opening hours

The Monastery is situated in the heart of the touristic town of Ayia Napa which property is loved by tourists all around the world. It is very easy to reach, especially for holidaymakers who stay in the town. It is about one kilometre from the coast to the monastery. For those whose holiday is in another Cyprus city, there are a variety of guided tours to the island's shrines. Most tour operators put together their itinerary depending on the clients’ needs, so you can visit any of the island's famous (and not so famous) shrines. For example, we would recommend to include the Cat Monastery, Stavrovouni, Kikkos, Maheras and other monasteries in your trip route. How much will such a tour cost depends on the length of the route and the number of sights to be visited. But usually their price is quite affordable and justified.

The opening hours at Ayia Napa Monastery depend on the season. The monastery is open to visitors from 9.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in winter and from 9.30 a.m. to 9 p.m. to 9 p.m. in summer. In summertime it is recommended to visit after the heat sets in while in wintertime any time of the day is comfortable. Entrance is free.

Cyprus and the whole of Europe have a number of astonishing monuments and shrines, which are worth visiting for the curious tourist.


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