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Painted Churches of Troodos

CYPRUS | Saturday, 31 January 2015 | Views [285]

Christ, Timios Stavros Church

Christ, Timios Stavros Church

WE FIRST BECAME INTERESTED IN BYZANTINE FRESCOS in Turkey and Serbia, and Cyprus, we learned, has its share, too, the “painted churches of Troodos.”  This World Heritage Site consists of ten difficult to reach villages scattered in the mountains of Troodos.  And once you have arrived, there is every likelihood that the church will be closed.

son    tim

   Mountain snow                                  Timios Stavros

Nevertheless we followed increasingly fainter lines on our map to increasingly narrower roads.  Cute as it may be, our 1.0 liter buggy was no match for the steep, twisting roads and we traveled most of the way in third gear, downshifting often.  The weather changed as often as our gears, from sunny, to rainy, to fog, to sleet and back again.  The hillsides were covered in snow as we neared the mile-high summit.

Our first stop, Timios Stavros — Church of the Holy Cross — was locked but the old man with the key hobbled over and opened it up just for us.  When I asked about photos (for some reason photography is usually forbidden) he shook his head “No” then smiled and covered his eyes, earning a donation for the church and a little bakeesh for himself.  Then he led us from fresco to fresco pointing out this saint and that in Greek, many of whom we knew and others who will remain mysteries.


    Wall of saints, Timios Stavros

We weren’t as lucky at Transformation of Sotiros, which was closed, or the monastery at Panagia tou Araka, where the matron made it clear that photography inside was strictly verboten.  The Agios Ioannis Lambadistis monastery didn’t appear ever to be open except for the museum but I braved the rain to take some photos in the traditional village of Moutoulis. 

mo     wind

   Sign in Moutoulis                               Window, Moutoulis




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