On top of the world at Stavrovouni Monastery

There are dozens of beautiful monasteries in Cyprus, but this one is special. It’s the one with the best view – see for yourself!

Stavrovouni (which translates as Mountain of Cross) Monastery is sitting on a top of a hill near Pyrga village, close to Larnaca, and is considered as the oldest on the island, and one of the oldest ones in the world. The monastery was named after a cross which was brought there by St Helena upon her return from Jerusalem. Unfortunately, if she still lived today, she wouldn’t be able to see the cross herself as the entrance to the monastery is only allowed to male visitors.

That’s a tiny detail which I failed to find out until we reached the gate of the monastery. Also just to warn you in advance, male visitors must wear long trousers when entering the grounds and photography is prohibited. Despite not being able to see the inside courtyard and monastery itself, I was pretty happy being outside the gates and taking in the beautiful views all around.

stavrovouni-monasteryThere is a decent road winding up the hill all the way to the top, offering panoramic views of the seaside and Troodos mountains on the other side. As you reach the top, you will see an entrance gate with a small souvenir shop and toilets on the right-hand side.
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Just from the edge of the building on the left is where you get the best view of both the monastery and the hill underneath.

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I visited in the late afternoon hours to catch at least an hour before sunset and to avoid crowds. The top of the hill can get windy, so if you’re wearing a short skirt you’re in for a fight to protect your modesty.

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stavrovouni monastery

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There are around 30 monks living in the monastery today, obeying a very strict form of monastic life. Women are not allowed on the grounds of the monastery, but can visit chapel on a top of the hill outside the monastery grounds (pictured lower).  The limited entry to the monastery is because of the very strict way of life which keeps the monks isolated and focused on their routine.

Even if you can’t see the monastery itself, this place is well worth to see. Come here later in the afternoon to enjoy the view from a shade and watch the sun go down over the mountains on the other side. Almost forgot to mention the toilets – as you would expect they also come with a view.

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What do you think?

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Don’t forget to check the little chapel (actually its more size of a small church)!

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As we headed back down the hill, we stopped in few places to admire a beautiful sunset slowly sliding behind layers of mountains. Lovely late summer breeze, beautiful mountains, and only the sounds of birds to remind you that you’re not alone. There aren’t many places in Cyprus with this stunning view and so easily accessible, so if you get a chance get your car and plan a road trip. If you’re interested to see the inside of the monastery, here are the opening hours:

September-March: 07:00-11:00 / 14:00-17:00

April-August: 07:00-12:00 / 15:00-19:00

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