I suspect I may be posting more pictures like this later on, if the churches in Aiya Napa are anything to go by, but have been truly overwhelmed by the beauty of the decoration of the places here.
I have not seen much art like this outside of museums and art galleries, where the icons and paintings have always been beautiful but to see them in real life is just brilliant. What is particularly amazing is that the exterior of the buildings have been very plain. Unlike the ones in Peiya that I posted about previously, these were simple white painted structures.
The first was down by the harbour, a tiny little church which many people were visiting, and kissing the painting of St George and the Dragon that you can see bottom left. We British may claim him as our patron saint but he is actually Greek and his picture is in many places here, and lots of places are named after him.
There is not much left of the old part of Aiya Napa, and the monastery is sadly closed at the moment. There was a lovely bell tower however, next to the knight sculpture that I posted about previously.
I was a little disappointed that the main church near the monastery didn’t look very impressive. After seeing the beautiful stone ones previously I was expecting something similar. However, the outside did not do justice to what was within.
This is what Catholic churches must have looked like before Henry 8th and his break from Rome, so many incredible wall paintings.
This church was built in 1990 so is only 33 years old. Sadly some of the paintings, like these wonderful images of soldiers, are showing water damage.
There was some lovely gold work as well around the icons, one of which was very old.
There was a reference to an icon being found and placed in the monastery, so I am not sure if this is the same one, but she is beautiful, even being worn away now. I bought a small version of her to take home with me.
There were other icons and pieces of goldwork as well.
I think most of the goldwork is on the first two pieces is machine embroidered, rather than by hand, but still wonderful.
Outside the church were some mosaics in a large walled area which led to a little park above the church.
These are something that I haven’t seen before, and they are even more stunning than the paintings in lots of ways, as it so much more difficult to represent people in mosaic. Just look at the detail of the folds on the angel’s robe below.
I love the clothes they are wearing. At one of the earlier period re-enactment events we go to, the Battle of Evesham which is set in 1265, a lot of the re-enactors wear the most wonderful Byzantine costumes like the ones seen here and they are so beautiful.
I have now moved on from Aiya Napa, and am in Larnaca for a couple of weeks, which was another great bus trip. Rather than the inter-city buses, I caught the local one which went through a couple of little towns on the way, which was lovely as I got to see more of inland Cyprus.
As well as more churches, lots more museums and walks by the sea, I am hoping to do some trips to other cities, such as Limassol and Nicosia.
The little museum in Aiya Napa had some fascinating information about the history of Cyprus, as well as some interesting experimental archaeology reproductions of ancient ships.
I have now got some more books on Cyprus, so I am going to be doing more reading during my trip. This little island really does have a fascinating, and complex history, and I am really enjoying finding out more about it.
I hope you are all having a good week whatever you are doing. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.