|Start of the E4 trail up to Stavrovouni Monastery|
|View of Stavrovouni Monastery|
|Wild flowers on hike to monastery|
The voice of reason was right. We walked back down, and drove up to the monastery. Along the road I saw numerous E4 signs, each one, no matter how high up we had driven, giving the same approximate distance and time of hike - 2 km, 0.5 hours. We'll try the walk again, later in the year, carrying water. I don't think it's very far, but it is a relentless uphill hike, and needs just a little bit of preparation (water, shoes not sandals etc).
|View from the monastery|
My photo does not to it justice. From the top of the hill, outside the monastery, you have a fantastic panoramic view of the Mesaoria plain, and agricultural land down to the coast at Larnaca and beyond.
Stavrovouni monastery (Mountain of the Cross) is the oldest documented monastery on Cyprus. It was founded in the 4th century, according to tradition, by the mother of Constantine the Great Agia Eleni (Saint Helena). Documents by the 15th century chronicler Leontios Makhairas, report that during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Eleni discovered the 3 crosses on which Christ and the 2 thieves were crucified. The tradition continues that she left one of the crosses behind after being shipwrecked in Cyprus. In response to the miraculous appearance of the Holy Cross on the peak of the hill on which the monastery now stands, Eleni left a piece of the cross on the hill, and founded a small chapel there.
See Cyprus Tourism Organisation website: http://www.visitcyprus.com/wps/portal/!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3hXN0fHYE8TIwMLtzBXA6NQ48DAoBAjQwMvE_3g1Dz9gmxHRQBtfxRy/?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/English__en/CTO+B2C/Tourist+Information/Culture/Sites_and_Monuments/Stavrovouni_Monastery
The monks living at the monastery are very devout. Women are not permitted inside, and men must wear appropriate clothing.
The monastery houses various relics, including the fragment of the Holy Cross, and the Brotherhood have a long tradition of icon painting.
http://travelcypruswithyourdog.blogspot.gr/2013/06/periptero-h-mesaoria-pyrga-with-your-dog.html), which also had a park and picnic area just behind.