A DIVERSE CULTURE INFLUENCED BY REMARKABLE HISTORICAL EVENTS
Cyprus is one of the oldest civilisations in the Mediterranean, steeped with history, evidenced by many fascinating cultural sights, museums, monuments, galleries, churches and monasteries
Step back in time with a visit to Choirokoitia, one of the best preserved sites of a prehistoric settlement found in the Eastern Mediterranean, with its reconstructed round dwellings, which give a vivid representation of what life was like at the dawn of civilisation.
Admire the exquisite floor mosaics of the Roman villas depicting scenes from mythology, arguably the best in the eastern Mediterranean, and the impressive underground Tombs of the Kings nearby, carved out of solid rock and decorated with Doric pillars. Or enjoy an ancient Greek play performed in a Roman theatre with the most spectacular view on a cliff overlooking the sea.
Many fine examples of Byzantine art have survived on the island, which you can see for yourself in Cyprus’ painted churches with their colourful frescoes, ten of which have been put on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Marvel at the sumptuous pageantry of Greek Orthodox religious festivals, whose origins go back thousands of years.
The island is an open-air museum of prehistoric settlements, classical Greek temples, Roman theatres and villas, Early Christian basilicas, Byzantine churches and monasteries, Crusader castles, Gothic cathedrals, Venetian fortifications, Moslem mosques, and British colonial-style buildings. The old ways of life, customs and traditions are still beautifully preserved in the rural villages, and interesting elements of the island are captured in the many museums and galleries. It is not surprising then that UNESCO includes a number of the island’s sights on its list of World Heritage Sites. Whilst the preservation of historical sites and riches is of the upmost priority for the island, these efforts are in stark contrast with the unfortunate reality that a large part of its cultural heritage remains under Turkish occupation since July 1974, and has been subjected to severe damage. Whether you want to discover more about the traditions of the island, or immerse yourself in its captivating past, you will never have to look far to find a piece of history and culture when visiting Cyprus.
Themed routes around the island allow you to immerse yourself in the culture of Cyprus, with journeys that encapsulate legend, history, viniculture and religion. You can follow in the footsteps of Aphrodite, the Ancient Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty who was born from the foam of the Paphian sea. As you wander through layers of history, culture and mythology, you will learn all about her birth, legend and character; the rituals connected with her cult, as well as the plants and seashells associated with her. For a unique opportunity to learn about the island’s longstanding tradition of winemaking, a tour of the wineries and wine producing villages offers the chance to indulge in some wine tasting, or sample other grape-based delicacies, visiting an old monastery or a quaint wine museum along the way.
Scattered throughout the Troodos mountain areas are Cyprus’ famous ten Byzantine churches that are included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. With their remarkable pitched wooden roofs, icons and frescoes, they tell the story of the island’s deep religious connections throughout its history.
As the island constituting the largest producer and exporter of copper to the ancient world for many centuries, it contributed to the technological progress of the entire Mediterranean world and beyond, which you will uncover on the copper route that takes you through old mines and associated sites.
The influence of the Venetians is beautifully prevalent in many intricate and characteristic churches, buildings and monuments across the island, with various routes bringing to life the unique and evocative footprints of the Venetians in Cyprus from the Byzantine period, throughout the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
New and exciting discoveries are waiting to be unveiled. Exciting discoveries await you with the paths you select.