best cultural experiences and
attractions of Cyprus
Considering a trip to the island of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean? A stepping stone to three continents, Cyprus' counts among its charms tiny painted churches, ancient mosaics, sea caves carved into cliffs and a wealth of traditional arts and crafts. Here's BCD's bird's-eye-view of the cultural highlights of Cyprus, followed by a collection of articles and interviews with recommendations of places to go and people to meet!
The city of Paphos, in the country's southwestern corner, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses numerous expansive tracts of well-preserved ruins that span Mycenaean temples, Roman villas, and Byzantine fortresses.
The Troodos Mountains were both a haven for monks who sought distance from temptation and nearness to God, as well as sanctuary where the Church could secure its relics and riches during three centuries of Arab raids that began in 647 A.D. Dating from 1474, the Church of the Archangel Michael is one of ten in the Troodos region that have been designated by UNESCO as World Heritage sites. This concentrated collection of monuments perched on remote aeries and hollows are all remarkable for their interiors, richly decorated with Byzantine and post-Byzantine paintings.
Cyprus is also a treasure trove of unique handicrafts and cultural traditions. These range from the fabled lace-making craft of the village of Lefkara, first brought to Cyprus by Venetian courtiers in the 15th century, to traditional dance and music, which date to ancient Greek and Byzantine influences, to the spiritual practice and artistry of icon-painting, with roots in both the Cretan and Macedonian schools of conventions.