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Stavrovouni

Photos and description

The famous Orthodox monastery Stavrovouni located between the major cities of Nicosia and Larnaca, on the top of a high mountain. It was built in the year 327 B. C. by order of St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, on the spot where once stood the temple of the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. Legend has it that after the miraculous salvation of the ship on which Helen sailed from Palestine, from the terrible storm, the woman was a vision in which she was an angel and ordered to build on the island's five temples, and on the mountain - the monastery.

Stavrovouni is the most famous because it houses part of the Holy life-giving cross on which Jesus was crucified Christ. This relic was donated by the founder of St. Elena.

At the end of the XIX century the monastery was heavily damaged by a major fire. And in the 80-ies of the last century, the Cypriot authorities have begun there large-scale repair and restoration work: it was restored adorning the walls of the murals, there was running water and electricity were conducted. Living on the mountain, the monks are mostly engaged in subsistence farming, particularly the production of incense. Also, there are icon-painting workshops.

Every year in September in the temple is a big celebration of the exaltation of the Holy cross, which attracts believers from around the world. Remarkably, despite the fact that the initiator of the building of the monastery was just Elena, the women in his area is not permitted, and visitors-men introduced a strict dress code.

And with the top of the mountain, where stands the Stavrovouni monastery, offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding land.