Most visitors would have heard of the Paphos Mosaics, or the Tombs of the Kings or the theatre at Curium or Kolossi Castle but very few have heard of the painted churches. Churches may sound dull, but be assured that these are something special. So special in fact, that 10 are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites for their colourful frescoes on walls and apses and their unique pitched timber roofs. And all these churches nestle in the forested mountains of Troodos. It is worth listing them because they represent the jewels of the mountain forests.
- Metamorphosi to Sotiros in Palaichori
- Stavros tou Agiasmati in Platanistasa
- Timios Stavros in Pelendri
- Panagia tou Araka in Lagoudera
- Aghios Nikolaos tis Stegis in Kakopetria
- Panagia Pothidou in Galta
- Panagia Asinou in Nikitari
- Aghios Ioannis Lambadistis in Kalopanagiotis
- Panagia tou Moutoulla in Moutoulla
- Archangelos Michail in Pedoula
In the 12th century under Byzantium, art and architecture flourished and the century is regarded as the golden age of Byzantine painting on the island. Cyprus had escaped the iconoclastic decrees of the 8th century and much of the Byzantine art survived. Some of the earliest wall paintings can be seen in the church of Aghios Nikolaos tis Stegis in Kakopetria Village.
The architecture of the churches is simple and the dimensions small which is very much part of their charm. These steep-pitched wooden roofed churches covered with flat hoooked tiles are found only in the Troodos mountain range.
The churches are not difficult to reach but it takes time to navigate to them because of the narrow winding mountain roads. Those staying in Kakopetria at the Linos Inn can walk to the church of Aghios Nikolaos tis Stegis as can those staying Kalopanagiotis at the Casale Panayiotis walk to the church of Aghios Ioannis Lambadistis.