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Cyprus

 
Author david
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 13 Feb 2012 12:12 | Edited by: david 
Next week i'm going to spend 7 days in Cyprus (including 2 days in the Turkish Republic) and I was just wondering if someone could give me some advice on these points:
- Regarding the churches in the Troodos Region, which is the best way to visit them inside? Would it be better to try to arrange a visit by calling the phone numbers reported on the Cyprus official tourism website or just to go there and try to find the churchkeeper/priest somewhere in the houses around or even ask for him in the bar of the village as some guidebooks seem to suggest? Are there some churches permanently opened? How are the roads in the area? Can you have some troubles with snowing in february?
- On the Cyprus tentative list there is a serial site (Troodos ophiolite) split in 6 separately listed components (Khandria, Kionia, Klirou bridge, Malounta bridge, Mathiatis south, Mount Olympus). Is it even possible to find, reach and visit some of these places and would they be worthwhile? Which would be the best way to get the most out of the site / the best place to visit?
- Can you give me some general advice on visiting Northern Cyprus? Are there particular problems in visiting this part of the island (border crossing, car rental, hotels, safety...)? Do you think there are some potential WHS which could inscribed on the WHL if Northern Cyprus would be a recognized country?

Author Assif
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 13 Feb 2012 12:40 
Iīve been to Cyrus three years ago and have several suggestions. First, the public transpost on both sides is very bad so youīll have to rely either on taxis (very expensive) or a rental car. Mind though that drivers on both sides drive wildly and unsafely (similar to what happens in their sister countries). Moreover, driving is on the left side, so if youīre not used to it it could be a pain.
The Troodos chruches are, as far as I know, not open regularly. Assinou is probably the most famous one and it is located just outside Kakopetria which is the main resort in the Troodos mountains. Another nearby church is the one in Galata, which I didnīt fine that impressive.
You didnīt mention Paphos, but I guess you are going there. I didnīt like it as a city (very touristy, beaches are nothing special), but both central araeological sites (Tombs of the Kings and the mosaics in Neapaphos) are mustsees!
I would also recommend you the Byzantine Museum in Nicosia. Itīs interesting and features some mosaics from the north too. The archaeological museum (called the Cyprus Museum) should be interesting as well, but was closed when I was there.
There is a fairly new border crossing at the Ledra Street which is South Nicosiaīs main shopping street in the old town (if you are into shopping by the way Macarios Boulevard is so much better). This crossing is only for pedestrians, but you canīt take a rental car from the south to the north anyway. The crossing is easy and takes no time at all. Itīs actually done by locals all the time.
The north is safe and hospitable. There are not as many tourists as in the south but still quite a few. There are the normal commercial hotels you can book on the internet. Just be aware whan going about that, same as in the south, some areas are closed military areas, but thereīs absolutely no way for you to get inside accidentally.
In the north the absolute potential WHS is the old city of Famagusta. Itīs amazing and would certainly have no problem to make it into the list, political issues aside. It also has much nicer beaches than what I saw in the south (but Iīve only been to Paphos and Acamas). Hope this helps.

Author Khuft
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 13 Feb 2012 13:28 
Assif:
In the north the absolute potential WHS is the old city of Famagusta. Itīs amazing and would certainly have no problem to make it into the list, political issues aside. It also has much nicer beaches than what I saw in the south (but Iīve only been to Paphos and Acamas).


In addition to Famagusta, there's Bellapais Abbey near Kyrenia (Girne), if you're into monasteries. Not sure if it's WHS material, but it does look picturesque on the photos you find on the web (I haven't been there myself):

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/cyprus/bellapais-abbey.htm

Author alexlove74
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 14 Feb 2012 02:11 
Hi David, I spent 4 days with my family in Cyprus during Christmas holidays (2011, a little more than 1 month ago) and I can give you some "fresh" advices:
1) it's impossible to find the churches without rental car and GPS. It is even difficult to find where the churches are located, I could help you with a file of their position on Google Earth (if you give me your email address, I could send you the kmz or kml file, which you could open with Google Earth and eventually export to your GPS, if you have one)
2) This is the situation of the churches, as we could see (I give you in the order we visited them, in 2 different days):
1- Pelendri for the key you have to ask to a man living 2 houses before the church (it's a narrow street, you ask and they would take you inside the church), you can see it inside, but you can't take pictures
2- Palaichori church is closed, and apparently nobody around there knew how to get the keys (but I did not call the number writted in Cyprus tourism)
3- Kakopetria: open, with a man working as guardian just out of the church, you can visit inside without taking pictures
4- Galata: we found it closed, and there is apparently no coffee shop around (the church is in the middle of fields..)
5- Nikitari: very worth the effort to reach it, it is very beautiful with the best surrounding, view of valley and mountains, very nice. You can visit it inside, there's a guardian just out of the church, no need to look for the priest
6- Pedoulas: we found it open without guardian
7- Moutullas: it was closed, and on the nearby house there was written "please don't ask us for the keys, we don't have them", so maybe you should call in advance the number written in Cyprus tourism
8- Kalopanagiotis: we found it open with the priest inside. Very beautiful, you shouldn't miss this one, it's a monastery in a beautiful landscape
9- Lagoudhera: it was closed, it looked like nobody was living in the nearby priest house, so we could just see the outside (there is some painting on the external wall)
10 -Platanistasa: if you go in the village (instead of going to the church direction), when we stopped in the little square of the village, Mr. Aristofanes immediately came out of a coffee shop and approached our car, asking if we wanted to visit the church. He took us to the church and we were very happy!!! It's very beautiful inside

Given the short time of our visit, we haven't seen any of the T-list painted church.

About the snow.. there was just little snow on the troodos, but anyway we didn't need any 4x4 (check the weather before you go, but it shouldn't be an issue)

3) About the Troodos Ophiolite, other than just looking around while you drive on the troodos (and you can see many rock formation), there is a very interesting visitor center with a scientific trail just close to the road at the top of the Troodos (the main road going from Limassol to the Troodos), where all the samples of the vulcanic rocks are shown, it is really well done, and a nice short walk in the green. For the other points.. we found it hard to find the specific point given the coordinates, we could only pick the Mathiatis south, which look like a vulcanic lake with very strange rock formation all around, it was nice.. but.. driving around Khandria we couldn't find the specific spot, I think it should be easy to find the Malounta bridge but we were short in time.

4) We couldn't go to Northern Cyprus because our car rental company put it as forbidden in the rental conditions.

5) The 5-doomed-churches are both very nice, even if we found open only the one close to Paphos.

6) Fikardou is not so special.. to me has nothing to do with rural settlments in the WHS like for example Vlkolinec in Slovakia (which is wonderful, from our point of view), anyway.. given you'll go to Cyprus.. it is not too far from the painted churches

7) I strongly suggest you to plan your travel with a road map of Cyprus, the road are not highways and you'll spend lot of time for going from one place to the next one, even if on the map they look so close

8) We found Limassol to be a good starting point for all day trips (it's the closest big city to the Troodos)

I hope i've been of some help.

Have a nice trip (sorry I gotta go now, because in 3 hours I have the flight to Doha where we will visit both T-list sites...)

Author david
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 14 Feb 2012 04:52 
Thanks to everybody for the info and Alex, your updated info in particular regarding the churches is just extraordinary and really helpful. I didn't realise the churches are so difficult to find so if you could send me the file on the mail address berla90@alice.it it would really really help.
We are travelling with a rental car on both sides and the places we are going to visit are:
- Northern Cyprus: Nicosia, Famagusta, Salamis and Tombs of the Kings, Kantara Castle, Kyrenia, Bellapais Abbey.
- Southern Cyprus: Nicosia (sadly we just don't think to have time for the museums there), Troodos WHL and TL churches, 5 doomed churches, Troodos ophiolite, Fikardou, Paphos and the Tombs of the Kings, Neapaphos, Kourion, Choirokoitia, Kiti church.
We will probably have a spare half day in the area between Limassol and Larnaca (the flight is from Larnaca airport).
Any other suggestions are warmly welcome.

Author kintante
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 22 Sep 2015 10:17 
Just came back from visiting Cyprus. Here are a few topics due to my short research and my visit:

WHS
All 3 WHS can actually be visited within 1 day. When you start in Paphos in the morning, you can easily drive around Troodos, visiting a few inscribed churches and finish in Choirokoitia. Latter can be visited within less than an hour. Further, visiting the sites is very cheap (Paphos EUR 4.50, churches for free and Choirokoitia EUR 2.50).

TWHS
Of the 10 TWHS is 1 an extension and 6 are as far as I understood the same TWHS. Khandria, Kionia, Klirou Bridge, Malounta Bridge, Mathiatis South and Troodos, Mt. Olympus are all part of the Troodos ophiolite. I don't think they want them inscribed as separate sites.

Off limits
A site on the island that clearly deserves WH status is not even on a T-list. The Ancient City of Salamis in the occupied territory of Northern Cyprus is a huge area with well-preserved remains of Greek, Roman and Byzantine architecture and is better than some inscribed sites I visited so far. Very sad, that the political situation won't allow proper protection of this gem.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 23 Sep 2015 09:33 
Thanks for that Kintante. Always handy to have these run downs on destinations, especially when a whole country can be seen in a small chunk of time. Also having a knowledge of what is near the more traditional European package holiday destinations is good to have should a great deal ever turn up to them.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 24 Mar 2016 09:44 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Have been having a look at the Painted churches of the Troodos following Clyde's review which raises the question as to whether there are 10 or 12 churches/locations,

It is absolutely clear that there are only 10 even though this UNESCO page lists 12
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/351/multiple=1&unique_number=401

The error lies in the last 2 (Which stand out on the UNESCO Web site as having no "inscribed area").
351-011 Church of Agios Sozomenos Galata
351-012 Church of Agios Mamas Lovaras

These were present on the Cyprus T List in 2005 as 2 of 3 potential extensions to the Painted Churches
http://web.archive.org/web/20051224175638/http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2005/whc05-29 com-08Ae.pdf

In 2006 they were nominated, but, were for some reason, withdrawn very late by Cyprus
http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4268

Why they ever appeared on the list of inscribed "Locations" can only be guessed. They are no longer on the Cyprus T List – though the other Church of the 3 from 2005 still is.

ELS –this web site should be altered to
a. 10 Locations
b. For the Site History to record the addition of 351-010 "The Church of Ayia Sotira (of the Transfiguration of the Savior) tou Soteros" in 2001
c. Add the Churches to the Connection "Incorrect Number of Locations on UNESCO Web site"

Author elsslots
Admin
#9 | Posted: 24 Mar 2016 10:44 
Solivagant:
ELS –this web site should be altered to

Done!

Author clyde
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 24 Mar 2016 11:05 
Thanks for the info Solivagant! The exterior is very similar to the inscribed ones and entrance to the interior is not possible at the moment. However, I bought a very informative and detailed book on most of the painted churches of Troodos (inscribed and non-inscribed) and the paintings in both these churches don't offer anything new to the list and are not even close to the top ones mentioned in my review. It would be a shame not to see them once they are very close to the other inscribed ones. Another interesting non-inscribed one I visitied and is worth a visit is the Church of Saints Joachim and Anna in Kaliana where a lovely old stone steeple has been added through the years.

Author evilweevil
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 20 Sep 2017 11:27 
I stumbled across this Wikipedia article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kourion

"Kourion is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Paphos." Yet we don't have it on the map or mentioned on the Paphos page, and it seems to be a pretty important archaeological site even on its own. And it's also shown on this map, as it's located near Akrotiri, a British military base:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_the_United_Kingdom_and_ the_British_Overseas_Territories

Does anyone know more about this? Seems strange that we could have missed this.

Author Assif
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 20 Sep 2017 17:48 
Hi evilweevil,

No, Kourion is definitely not a part of the Paphos nomination. It includes three locations, two of which in modern Paphos and one in Palaepaphos. Kourion used to be a different nomination, but after a harsh deferral in 1985 it was retracted for good. The criticism was that there had already been enough similar sites on the WH list.

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