From the World Heritage inscription:
The Troodos mountain region of Cyprus contains one of the largest groups of churches and monasteries of the former Byzantine Empire. The ten monuments included on the World Heritage List, all richly decorated with murals, provide an overview of Byzantine and post-Byzantine painting in Cyprus and bear testimony to the variety of artistic influences affecting Cyprus over a period of 500 years. The structures display elements that were specific to Cyprus and were determined by its geography, history and climate, including steep-pitched wooden roofs with flat hooked tiles, in some cases providing a second roof over Byzantine masonry domes and vaulted forms, while exhibiting Byzantine metropolitan art of the highest quality. The architecture of these churches is unique, confined to the Troodos range and almost certainly of indigenous origin. They range from small churches whose rural architectural style is in stark contrast to their highly refined decoration, to monasteries such as that of St John Lampadistis. They also contain a wealth of dated inscriptions, an uncommon feature in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Middle Ages, which makes them particularly important for recording the chronology of Byzantine painting. Important examples of the 11th century iconography survive in the churches of St. Nicholas of the Roof and Panagia Phorbiotissa of Nikitari. Within Panagia tou Arakou in Lagoudera and St. Nicholas of the Roof are found important wall paintings from the Comnenian era, with the first being of exceptional artistic quality attributed to Constantinopolitan masters. The 13th century, the early period of Latin (western) rule in Cyprus, is well represented in the wall paintings of St. John Lampadistis in Kalopanagiotis and in Panagia in Moutoulla, which reflect the continuing Byzantine tradition and new external influences. The 14th century wall paintings at Panagia Phorbiotissa, Timios Stavros at Pelendri and St. John Lampadistis also display both local and Western influences, and to a certain degree, the revived art of Paleologan Constantinople. In the late 15th century iconography at Timios Stavros Agiasmati and Archangelos Michael, Pedoulas exhibits once again the harmonious combination of Byzantine art with local painting tradition, as well as some elements of Western influence, which are different, however, from the earlier series of St. John Lampadistis that was painted by a refugee from Constantinople. The Venetian rule, which began in 1489 was reflected in the development of the Italo-Byzantine school, and the most sophisticated examples can be found in Panagia Podhithou and the north chapel of St. John Lampadistis, both successful examples of Italian Renaissance art and Byzantine art fusion. Finally, the wall paintings of the Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Palaichori form part of the Cretan school of the 16th century.
The ten churches included in the serial inscription are: Ayios Nikolaos tis Stegis (St. Nicholas of the Roof), Kakopetria; Ayios Ioannis (St. John) Lambadhistis Monastery, Kalopanayiotis; Panayia (The Virgin) Phorviotissa (Asinou), Nikitari; Panayia (The Virgin) tou Arakou, Lagoudhera; Panayia (The Virgin), Moutoullas; Archangelos Michael (Archangel Michael), Pedhoulas; Timios Stavros (Holy Cross), Pelendria; Panayia (The Virgin) Podhithou, Galata; Stavros (Holy Cross) Ayiasmati, Platanistasa, and the Church of Ayia Sotira (Transfiguration of the Savior), Palaichori. Of the ten churches nine are situated in the District of Nicosia and one, Timios Stavros (Holy Cross), Pelendria is in the District of Limassol.
The previous two visits to world heritage sites in Cyprus were pretty easy. This one was a bit more tricky, or at least it was for me.
This site consists of ten small churches in the mountainous Troodos region of Cyprus. The churches are very small and if you drove past them, you would never guess that they are anything special.
The problem I had my first day was that they don’t use the UNESCO symbol when pointing out the churches. You will find road signs that are brown colored with a church symbol on them. If you get to one of the villages, just follow those signs. The roads in the villages are often quite narrow and winding. You could easily spend an entire day driving through the mountains, visiting all 10 churches.
The next day I went out with my friend Michael who is a native Cypriot and we easily found several churches. We ended up visiting 4 of the 10 churches:
- Phorviotissa (Asinou), Nikitari
- Lambadhistis Monastery, Kalopanayiotis
- Podhithou, Galata
- Ayios Nikolaos tis Stegis (St. Nicholas of the Roof), Kakopetria
In addition to finding the churches, the other hurdle you have to overcome is if they are even open. We got lucky and all 4 of the churches we visited were open around midday on a Friday. In researching this site I found that many people who have visited in the past found the churches were closed and you have to find someone in the village (usually a priest) to come and open it for you.
Also, most of the churches do not allow any photography. I received permission to take this photo in church in Nikitari.
If you are just looking to visit one, I think the Lambadhistis Monastery in Kalopanayiotis is your best bet as it is an active monastery and they have regular visiting hours. We arrived at 1:30pm and just had lunch while we waited for it to open at 3pm.
They were very reminiscent of the Boyana Church outside of Sofia, Bulgaria.
From the World Heritage inscription:
Because of their great antiquity, and because they are closely and directly related to the cult and legend of Aphrodite (Venus), who became the ideal of beauty and love, inspiring writers, poets and artists throughout human history, Paphos is of outstanding universal value. Pre-Hellenic fertility deities were worshipped in Cyprus from Neolithic times. Many of the archaeological remains are of great antiquity, as Paphos has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. The Temple of Aphrodite represents one of the earliest settlements, while the mosaics of Nea Paphos are extremely rare and rank among the best examples in the world. The architectural remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and rock-hewn peristyle tombs are of outstanding historical value as they are one of the keys of the understanding of ancient architecture.
Petra tou Romiou, or Aphrodite’s Rock, is a rock that marks the site of Aphrodite’s birthplace, which was a place of pilgrimage for the entire Hellenic world. Excavations have unearthed the spectacular 3rd- to 5th-century mosaics of the Houses of Dionysus, Orpheus and Aion, and the Villa of Theseus, buried for 16 centuries and yet remarkably intact. The mosaic floors of these noblemen’s villas are considered among the finest in the Eastern Mediterranean. They mainly depict scenes from Greek mythology.
Nearby, the stone pillar where St Paul according to tradition was bound and beaten for preaching Christianity. The Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery was founded in the 12th century and is dedicated to Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate. The neighbouring monastery of Agios Neofytos contains some of the world’s finest Byzantine frescoes and icons as well as an interesting Byzantine museum.
The Tombs of the Kings, in Kato Paphos, is a monumental structure carved out of solid rock with some tombs decorated with Doric pillars. Spread over a vast area, these impressive underground tombs date back to the 4th century BC. High officials rather than kings were buried here, but the magnificence of the tombs gave the locality its name.
Palaipaphos (Old Paphos) was one of the most celebrated pilgrimage centres of the ancient Greek world, and once the city-kingdom of Cyprus. Here stood the famous elaborate sanctuary of Aphrodite, the most ancient remains of which date back to the 12th century BC. It is the most significant of a dozen such consecrated sites in Cyprus The glorious days of the sanctuary lasted until the 3rd-4th centuries AD. Amphoras and ceremonial bowls from here, many of which are on display in the Cyprus Museum in Lefkosia, depict exquisitely costumed priestesses as well as erotic scenes from the sacred gardens that once surrounded the temple.
Originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour; it was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century, dismantled by the Venetians in 1570, and rebuilt by the Ottomans after they captured the island in the 16th century.
The time I saved visiting Choirokoitia was more than used visiting Paphos.
The archaeological park a Paphos is the ruins of an entire city which was once an extremely important port in the Mediterranean. Today is has some of the best preserved floor murals dating back to the Roman era.
The archeology park is located near the coast and requires driving through the entire city to reach it.
Entrance is €4.50, which is very reasonable for the size of the attraction. Expect to spend about 2 hours there and you should probably bring water and a hat as almost everything is out in the open and Cyprus can be quite hot and sunny.
In addition to the archeology park, there are also several other attractions which are part of the world heritage site which you can visit if you have time.
From the World Heritage inscription:
Located in the District of Larnaka, about 6 km from the southern coast of Cyprus, the Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia lies on the slopes of a hill partly enclosed in a loop of the Maroni River. Occupied from the 7th to the 5th millennium B.C., the village covers an area of approximately 3 ha at its maximum extent and is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the eastern Mediterranean. It represents the Aceramic Neolithic of Cyprus at its peak, that is the success of the first human occupation of the island by farmers coming from the Near East mainland around the beginning of 9th millennium.
Excavations have shown that the settlement consisted of circular houses built from mudbrick and stone with flat roofs and that it was protected by successive walls. A complex architectural system providing access to the village has been uncovered on the top of the hill. The achievement of such an impressive construction, built according to a preconceived plan, expresses an important collective effort, with few known parallels in the Near East, and suggests a structured social organisation able to construct and maintain works of a large scale for the common good. A house consisted of several circular buildings equipped with hearths and basins arranged around a small courtyard where domestic activities took place. The houses belonged to the living, as well as to the dead who were buried in pits beneath the rammed earthen floors. Among the finds such as flint tools, bone tools, stone vessels, vegetal and animal remains, noteworthy are the anthropomorphic figurines in stone (one in clay), which point, together with funerary rituals, to the existence of elaborate beliefs. Since only part of the site has been excavated, it forms an exceptional archaeological reserve for future study.
Like many archaeological world heritage sites, Choirokoitia is important but not much see when you visit. I usually budget an hour for visiting most singular cultural sites like this one. After 30 minutes I had seen everything there was to see.
The site is a series of circular stone rings which have been excavated from a hillside and 3 reconstructed dwellings….and that is it. It isn’t very big and doesn’t take a lot of time to visit. Assuming you read every sign, walk every path, and read everything in the brochure, it will be hard to spend more than 30 minutes here.
On the plus side, it is very easy to access from the highway and is only about 20 minutes from the Cyprus airport.
The best health resorts in Italy will help you to relax and greatly enhance your quality of life. Most people rush through life taking little time to care for themselves. They hurry from one responsibility to the next, neglecting to indulge in the relaxation and recreation that could greatly enhance their quality of life. Even worse, they don’t make opportunities to eat a healthy diet or regularly exercise. Sometimes that holds true on vacations as well. It’s all too easy to rush from one must-see sight to the next. Once again, there’s no time to relax, enjoy and feel the regenerative effects that a good vacation should bring.Best Health Resorts in Italy
A stay at the Hotel Adler Balance is the cure for that kind of vacation. It’s a resort unlike any other in that the health and well-being of every guest is the primary concern of the staff. Accommodations, meals and activities are all geared toward providing the relaxing and rejuvenating atmosphere people need in order to experience the best that life has to offer.
Even the resort’s setting seems designed to inspire awe and soothe away every day cares. Set in the breathtaking majesty of the Italian Dolomites, the Adler Balance is the perfect venue for experiencing an escape from the ordinary. Even the air guests breathe here positively affects their health and well-being. At elevations greater than 4,000 feet, visitors enjoy a stronger circulatory system and may benefit from a positive hormone release.
Hotel Adler Balance is located in the picturesque Val Gardena, a northern Italian valley. It’s a region recognized for outstanding outdoor recreation like rock climbing, hiking and skiing. One of the valley’s villages is Ortisei, which hosts the Hotel Adler Balance. Only about 6,000 fortunate people get to live in Ortisei, but this is a village designed to cater to the tourism industry. Visitors love strolling along the center of the village to discover quaint shops and one-of-a-kind eateries. Local history and culture is explored at the Gherdeina Local Heritage Museum or during one of the many annual festivals.
While the valley, Ortisei and the Dolomites are lovely, most people come here for the wellness resorts. Foremost among these is the Hotel Adler Balance. In all public areas and private suites, resort management has provided painstaking attention to detail. There are no jarring lines and no wrong notes in the color choices. Everything is designed to soothe and relax. From the muted music pouring softly from state-of-the-art speakers to the tasteful art collection, the Adler Balance is aimed at producing a calming effect. It’s virtually impossible to feel rushed here. Ordinary stress simply melts away under the influence of muted tones and beautifully designed furnishings.
Each suite is luxuriously appointed to cater to an excellent night’s sleep. Sliding glass doors allow in copious amounts of natural light. Even better is the balcony that lies beyond. Each is equipped with a comfortable seating arrangement and a breathtaking view. Back inside, guests enjoy spacious proportions that are enhanced through the use of natural building materials and textiles. The bathrooms are particularly impressive. Each has an extravagant wellness tub where guests can soak their cares away. The tea bar and minibar featuring organic fruit juices are welcome alterations on the usual hotel room offerings.
While it would be tempting to spend inordinate amounts of time in the suites, there are plenty of enticing activities to experience elsewhere. The hotel offers a number of different packages, each of which is tailored to the guest’s specific health and wellness goals. Some packages are designed to enable weight loss while others provide helpful strategies for coping with stress. The main idea is that guests utilize their time at the hotel to learn new techniques and then apply them to their everyday lives back home. The result is a happier, more fulfilling lifestyle in which the individual is better able to balance responsibilities with taking excellent care of themselves.
Adler Balance achieves this goal using a number of methods. In the gorgeous dining room, guests enjoy items from a diverse menu of al a carte meals or adhere to a nutrition plan that is personally designed for them by the resort’s medical personnel. Regardless of which option is chosen, diners can expect superior cuisine that draws heavily on fresh, local produce and traditional dishes.
The theme of health and wellness is also exemplified in the property’s Water and Wellness World. It’s a sumptuous oasis of indoor and outdoor pools, spas and saunas. A splendid hay sauna resides in a picturesquely rustic mountainside hut while a decadent salt lake hides deep underground. The area is dotted with relaxation zones that are ideal for napping and reading. After a difficult day of spa treatments, there’s no better place to unwind.
Speaking of the spa, the Adler Balance features a spectacularly well-appointed one. Guests may select from an impressive array of treatments designed to relax, rejuvenate and beautify in a carefully cultivated atmosphere of repose. Couples may want to choose treatments that pamper both partners at the same time. It’s a lovely way to reconnect while on vacation.
The health and well-being of guests is reinforced at the resort’s state-of-the-art fitness center. The center features a packed schedule of activities. Guests may be introduced to yoga, Pilates or specialized classes designed to burn the maximum amount of fat. There is also an extensive selection of resistance and cardio machines for guests to choose from. Every activity is overseen by friendly, knowledgeable staff members who are there to help guests gain the most benefit from the experience.
The resort even takes fitness outside with walking and outdoor programs. In the warmer months, guests may try walks, climbs and bike rides. When snow covers the ground, skiing and other winter sports take center stage. Guests may indulge on their own or join a program led by an experienced guide.
The Hotel Adler Balance offers a remarkable experience for guests hoping to indulge in a truly relaxing vacation. Its unique mix of activities and accommodations make it the most desirable resort in a region known for its breathtaking beauty.