3 nights/4 days sample itinerary to the first area to be governed by a Christian
Morning arrival at Larnaca Airport. Welcome drinks and introduction to programme. Visit to Church of St Lazarus. Lazarus moved to Cyprus after his Resurrection and became Bishop of Kition – there he met the Apostles Paul and Barnabas. He is buried in an accessible crypt under the altar. The Church is a fine example of local Byzantine architecture.
The tour continues to Limassol for check in at the hotel and lunch.
In the afternoon visit Curium, an important ancient city kingdom whose ruins demonstrate the spread of Christianity. There is the Greco-Roman theatre, the mosaic floors at the House of Eustolios with Christian symbols and the early Christian Basilica.
All sites visited in Paphos today are included in the official UNESCO List of Cultural Heritage.
Paphos was the Roman capital of Cyprus and it was there that the Apostles Paul and Barnabas converted the Proconsul Sergius Paulus to Christianity in 47 AD making Cyprus the first area to be ruled by a Christian.
First stop at the Pillar of St Paul where the Apostle was bound and flogged. It is surrounded by the remnants of an early Christian basilica constructed in the 4th Century.
The tour proceeds to the colourful and evocative Roman mosaics depicting mythological scenes mostly from the 3rd Century AD.
The tour continues to the Tomb of the Kings - an ancient necropolis carved out of solid rock and given this regal name because of its imposing character. These underground pillared atria and chambers served as refuge for Christians during early persecutions.
Last stop is the Monastery of St Neophytos. In 1159 a monk by the name of Neophytos cut this hermitage in the rock with his own hand. The Neophytos Rock-Grotto contains fine frescoes from the 12th to 15th Century. Even during his lifetime, people came here on pilgrimages and the Saint resorted to preserving his privacy through use of a retractable ladder!
En route back to Limassol there is a photostop at Petra Tou Romiou, a chunky, rugged rock that marks the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, ancient Goddess of Love and Beauty. Cyprus was an important pilgrimage centre during Ancient times for the worship of this Goddess.
The bus ascends the Troodos mountain range for a visit to Kykkos the most famous monastery in Cyprus dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The thriving Monastery possesses one of the three surviving icons ascribed to Saint Luke and also houses an impressive Byzantine Museum.
The tour continues to the village of Kalopanagiotis to visit the Church of St John the Illuminator. The commemorative Church was built across the ravine where St Herakleidios was baptised by Paul and Barnabas and is decorated with excellent frescoes of the 13th and 15th Century.
At Pedoulas village there is a traditional lunch before admiring the painted Church of Archangel Michael that dates from 1474.
Both churches are included on the Unesco List of World Heritage sites
First stop today is the Monastery Convent of St Herakleidios, named after Herakleidios who was the Apostles’ guide. He was converted, baptised, consecrated first Bishop of Tamassos and martyred. He is buried in the cave where he had lived and preached. He remains one of the most important Saints in Cyprus.
Nicosia has been the capital of Cyprus from the 11th Century. The tour proceeds through the city’s Venetian Walls to the Byzantine Museum to view an icon collection spanning 1000 years of art and the magnificently painted Cathedral of St John. Next to the Archbishop's Palace is the small, magnificently painted Cathedral of Nicosia.
Free time at "Laiki Yitonia", a 19th Century neighbourhood restored to its former glory. The tour then proceeds along the well-maintained Venetian walls to the Archaeological Museum housing art treasures from 7000 BC to 500 AD.
Continue to Larnaca Airport for evening departure flight.