Selimiye Camii

Selimiye mosque, Λευκωσία

When you look at ancient maps and images of Λευκωσία, you can see a large church in the center of the city boundaries marked by the Venetian walls protecting the city: the Cathedral of Saint Sophia. It was built from the year 1209 on and the Knights Templar supported the creation during the crusades. The kings of Cyprus were crowned there during the existence of their kingdom (1192 to 1489 CE).

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Asinou

Panagia tis Asinou, Νικητάρι

There are many fantastic UNESCO world heritage sites around the world but the Panagia tis Asinou might be my most favorite one – because it is so surprising and so high in contrast to its surroundings. When you arrive at this place belonging to Νικητάρι you’re at the end of the world with nothing else than forests, green fields, and mountains. And then there is a barn made of stone surrounded by a low stone wall.

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Waterfalls

Millomeris waterfall, Πάνω Πλάτρες

The Troodos mountains close to mount Olympos are a wonderful green area that in winter is used for skying. The village Troodos itself is a special one: nobody is officially living there, but it is always crowded. In summer, many trails invite you to a long hike and the different waterfalls in this area are often the final destination.

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Hidden gem

Archangelos Michail, Πεδουλάς

Within the Troodos mountains of Cyprus, you can find a special UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, it is a combination of different small sites, of painted small churches distributed throughout the mountains. One of them is the Archangelos Michail at Πεδουλάς, a small church that could easily be overlooked as it looks like a barn. And that is probably the reason why the paintings survived over time: it is a well-hidden church.

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Kykkos

Kykkos monastery, Μηλικούρι

The Kykkos monastery is a special place located very secluded in the mountains, far away from civilization. It has a richly decorated church and many golden mosaics. That’s because the monastery has been seen as the most powerful in Cyprus as it owns an ancient image of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It’s said to be painted by evangelist Lucas during the lifetime of Mary and it was gifted by Byzantine emperor Nikephoros III Botaneiates for the foundation of the monastery in the year 1080 CE.

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Necropolis

Tombs of the Kings, Πάφος

The ‘tombs of the kings‘ is a vast city of the dead at Πάφος. The name is misleading because it weren’t kings who found their final rest here – but the graves are really impressing. The necropolis was used from the 4th century BC until the 3rd century CE and is today a protected UNESCO world heritage site. In the past the protection wasn’t as good and tomb raiders have taken a lot of the rich grave goods have been stolen.

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Secret pond

Baths of Aphrodite, Νέο Χωριό

The Akámas peninsula is the northwestern end of Cyprus is covered by beautiful nature and protected as a national park. You can best discover it by hiking. In the last years, many people switched to renting quads and disturb the peace and quietness of this are. An alternative is to discover the northern shore by car and a lot of visitors decide to visit the Baths of Aphrodite there.

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Avakas gorge

Avakas gorge, Πέγεια

It’s a natural wonder, a nice hike, and the chance to climb through a deep gorge: the Avakas gorge on the Akámas peninsula. The small river Avgás has cut deep into the mountain and the gorge is only four meters wide while the rocks above you are thirty meters high. It’s an absolute pleasure to walk through this area but you need good footwear, and you need to be ready to jump over water and to climb over rocks.

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Aphrodite’s rock

Aphrodite's rock, Κούκλια

Cyprus is the country of the ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality. The inhabitants use this to market their country and you’ll find her name everywhere on the island. According to mythology, Cronus had cut off the genitals of his father Uranus (yes, a weird story) and thrown them into the water. And out of the foam of the waves came Aphrodite.

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