On yesterday’s road trip, we went in search of the climatic extremes that Cyprus has to offer.
The very peak of the Troodos Mountains is marked by Mount Olympus and the village of Troodos. At almost 2000 meters (6400 feet) above sea level, this area receives a fair amount of snow during the “rainy season” in Cyprus, which provides locals with an opportunity to ski, snowboard, and sled in the middle of a Mediterranean island.
We were underprepared for the snowy conditions at the top of the hill, which as you can see provided low visibility and a wet ride up the chairlift
Our next stop, since we were in the region, was Kykkos Monastery. The monastery has a long tradition in Cyprus and is famous for its icon (religious painting on wood) of the Virgin Mary holding Christ as a child. The icon is said to be painted by the Apostle Luke, which is important because he was an eye witness.
The monastic complex has grown and changed substantially over the centuries, and what we are able to visit today is a highly renovated and clean cut edition of a religious community. The extreme wealth of the church is expressed through the recently laid mosaics and painted frescos that line the walls. The interior of the church is covered in brand new frescos (wall paintings) and the iconostasis at the front of the church is a shimmering gold, ornately cut iconostasis, which is a stand for the impressive display of icons (including the Virgin and Christ Child mentioned above even though it is mostly covered).
Not far from the monastic complex is the Tomb of Archbishop Makarios III. Makarios (as he is generally called) is one of the most iconic figures of the modern Cyprus state. He was the archbishop and political leader during the transition from British Colonial rule to the self-determined state of the Republic of Cyprus and later was the target of a failed coup by a Greek military junta in 1974 (five days after which the Turkish military intervened). He died only three years after the island became divided.
We ended the day in Paphos as the sun set over the harbor.
Amy informed me that we covered more than 300km yesterday.