Cyprus by Pelin ECER - Illustrated by Pelin Ecer -
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Artwork: Pelin Ecer

  • Joined Jan 2023
  • Published Books 1

Bellapais Monastery

Ruins of the Gothic Bellapais Monastery adorn the hillside of Kyrenia Mountain, with its French ornamentation, Genoese and Venetian influences, and lush colorful gardens. Dating back to the 13th century, the building served as a monastery and living quarters of Kings Hugh the 3rd and Hugh the 4th. The site was neglected and mistreated for centuries until the 1900s, when a small portion of the monastery and its surroundings were restored. Today you can see evidence of centuries of destruction, preservation, and restoration, nestled in maintained gardens of palm trees, carob trees, and flowers. Due to its extraordinary acoustics, concerts are often held at the abbey.


Saint Hilarion Castle

Nestled high in the rocky mountain tops overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the ruins of Saint Hilarion Castle feature crumbling walls, Byzantine ornaments, and 100 km (60 mi) views. Although the exact construction date is unknown, the castle and a former monastery are estimated to be about 1,000 years old. Serving as a royal home with economic units, stables, and military quarters, the site survived until the Venetian arrival in the 15th century, when it was dismantled. You’ll discover dark, mysterious tunnels and preserved church elements here. Don’t miss the arch overlooking the sea, which makes a great photo spot.


Kyrenia Castle

Built by the Venetians on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, Kyrenia Castle features dungeons with medieval torture displays and a shipwreck museum. Dating back to the 3rd-century Hellenistic and Roman periods, the site has seen much action. Serving the Byzantines in the 8th century, the Lusignans in the 13th, and the Venetians during the 15th to 16th century, the castle finally became inactive in the 1960s after hosting British and Greek police, prisoners, and soldiers for almost a century. View reconstructed underground cells where prisoners were held and tortured–nobleman and servant alike. Walk through exhibits of archeological findings, spanning from 4410 BCE to 632 CE, and see a Greek merchant shipwreck from the 4th century BCE.


Tombs Of The Kings

See Tombs of the Kings, an ancient burial site of Hellenistic and Roman administrative officers and distinguished people, and their families. Just steps from the sea, the site has a typical Eastern Mediterranean feel to it, with small sand dunes, low grass and bushes, and palm trees. Take a self-guided tour among the ruins and enter the atriums carved into natural rock to see niches in the walls that were used for burials. Used between the 3rd century BCE and the 4th century CE, the site features Doric pillars and architectural styles from Alexandria, Delos, Pergamon, and Priene.



Wander into Ancient Roman and Byzantine ruins at Kourion for a look at the remains of houses, monuments, markets, baths, and an intact 3,500-seat theater. Although the site had been inhabited in Neolithic times from five millennia BCE, the town is believed to date back to the 13th century BCE. It supported an uprising against Persia in the 4th century BCE and was used by Alexander the Great. See mosaic floors from the 3rd and 4th centuries CE, private residences of the rich dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries CE, and a 5th century CE early Christian basilica at the site.


Kato Paphos Archaeological Park

A World Heritage Site, Kato Paphos Archaeological Park features monuments from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, including some of the finest mosaics in the Eastern Mediterranean. See remnants of Roman villas and fortresses, some of them with floors made of colorful stone, representing scenes from Greek mythology. Take a walk through the arid lands, over dunes, and among ruins, and look for monuments such as Ancient Odeon–a 2nd-century theater built entirely out of limestone blocks–and Saranta Kolones, which features remnants of a Byzantine castle destroyed in a 1222 earthquake.


Church of Saint Lazarus

Church of Saint Lazarus has stood for over 1,000 years through lootings, destruction, and fires, thanks to centuries of work and restoration. According to Orthodox beliefs, the church is the resting place of Lazarus of Bethany–a man raised from the dead by Jesus Christ–who was forced to escape from Judea and chose to hide in Cyprus, where he died 30 years later for the second time. See this 31.5 m (103 ft) wide and 14.5 m (48 ft) tall church with three domes, featuring three internal aisles with bulky double pillars. Observe the wood and golden 18th-century iconostasis, which was heavily damaged by fire in 1970.

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