Passing through private land with vineyards and fruit trees, the trail reaches Kykkos water mill on the banks of Setrachou river, which formerly was used to irrigate surrounding orchards. The path continues to Kalopanagiotis mineral springs and the church of St. John the Illuminator, which is classified by UNESCO as World Heritage. The path follows the banks of the river Setrachou, climbs to the village House and back downhill to the river to reach the source of the gorge.
Monastery of St. John the Illuminator despite Kalopanagiotis
The monastery of St. John the Illuminator is located in a central area of the Troodos mountain range, in the valley of Marathasa. It is built on the east bank of the river Setracho, opposite the village of Kalopanagiotis. Since 1985 is included, along with nine other painted Byzantine churches of the Troodos, in the list of World Heritage of UNESCO.
It is not known exactly when the monastery was founded. The church, dedicated to St. Herakleidios, dates back to the 11th century. In a sign of the 15th century accompanying donors' portraits in the narthex, the church is referred to as universal, ie the main parish church tiskoinotitas. We know that the monastery continued to exist until the early 19th century. Since then it operates only as a temple. In the mid 19th century, a room of the monastic buildings was used as a classroom for children of Kalopanayiotis and surrounding villages.
The complex of buildings, such as they exist today, is the result of many constructions and interventions pertaining to various periods. The church, the southernmost building of the complex belongs to the type of cruciform church with a dome and dates back to the 11th century. In the 12th century it was added on the north side, above the tomb of St. John the Illuminator, a vaulted homonymous chapel. This collapsed and almost entirely rebuilt in the 18th century. In the mid-15th century it was built on the west and the previous two buildings, a common narthex.
During the second half of the 15th century was added to the north of the chapel of St. John, a vaulted chapel, known as the "Latin" chapel because of the case that was built for the religious needs of the Latins. At an unknown time, between the 15th and 18th century, the entire complex was covered by a huge wooden roof with flat hooked tiles. So the triune temple acquired external appearance of a large wooden roof building.
The paintings of the monastery of St. John the Illuminator follow these various architectural phases. The arch of the sanctuary of the Catholic St. Irakleidios, like some other points save fragments of wall paintings of the 11th and 12th century. The rest of the church is decorated with frescoes dating from the 13th and 14th century. These form an important whole and include some rare representations like that of the Holy Cloth in the northern pillar of the dome.
The splint decoration later, and is, according to legend, Kostantinoupoliti painter who fled to Cyprus after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. These frescoes follow the currents of the capital, but it is not very high quality. Instead, the frescoes of the "Latin" chapel dating from around 1500, within the 'italovyzantini "style, which combines Byzantine elements with respectively the Italian Renaissance. It is in fact the most complete set of this mural style that survives in Cyprus. The "Latin" chapel, if indeed it is the case, indicating the coexistence of the two faiths under one roof, reflecting the tolerance situation on the island following the unifying meeting of Ferrara-Florence in 1439.
Noteworthy is the wooden iconostasis of St. Irakleidios bearing painted decoration imitating coats, and dates back to 13th-14th century. It is the oldest surviving wooden iconostasis of Cyprus. It is also worth mentioning that in the chapel of St. John the Illuminator, saved the skull of the saint, in silver gilt reliquary placed in a special niche. On the wall above the reliquary preserved many signatures known and unknown pilgrims and travelers who had visited the monastery.
Apart from the complex of churches, preserved and other monastic buildings comprising cells, utility rooms and a mill.
Prepare your good mood and let's go!
Start Point: Kalopanagiotis, the downward part of the main road to the church of St. John the Illuminator.
End Point: Oikos
Estimated Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Difficulty Rate: Category 2: Average degree of difficulty, with a particular terrain, such as sudden changes in gradient (uphill and / or downhill), course along narrow and / or steep terrain.
Trip Length: 4 km