On the outskirts of the village of Anogyra [Limassol] you will find the remains of Timios Stavros Monastry. Apart from the ruins, Anogyra boasts another few highlights to visit. This small village is also known nationwide for its carob sweets 'pasteli' as well as the Carob Museum and the Olive Oil Museum.
The ruins of Timios Stavros Monastery (the Holy Cross Monastery) are already mentioned in the “Acts of the Apostles” as “chora Anogyron” ('chora' meaning land). The name is not unique in Cyprus, you can also find a monastery with the same name in Omodos. The Anogyra Monastry holds as much spiritual atmosphere as the one in Omodos, preserving its uniqueness in its own way.
Travelling from Limassol to Paphos, about halfway, you reach the Avdimou Exit which will take you up into the mountains towards Anogyra village. Just before you reach Anogyra, you will pass a unique early Byzantine settlement - the ruins of the Holy Cross Monastery - surrounded by almond trees, vines and carob orchards. It is also referred to as the Church of Timiou Stavrou which was built on foundations of a Christian basilica.
Archaeological research has not been too extensive in this settlement, however, what is known so far, the present church was built in the 14th century. It is built in the eastern part of a Basilica with three aisles, which are believed to be paleo-Christian. The other arch-covered Basilica with three aisles was built in the Byzantine times.
The barrel-vaulted church and dome with Palaiologan style wall paintings will catch your eye. These are some of the greatest examples of Palaiologan art on the island. It is believed that these paintings ended up in Cyprus after the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
Anogyra’s Holy Cross Monastery is an impressive complex that once was living quarters for monks and apparently also as an olive oil factory. A legend states that there has been an underground tunnel where the monks used to hide their treasures and that they were eating with golden spoons and placing their bread upon silver, single-row loaf boards. For more intrigue, we will just say that these items are still believed to be hidden in the tunnel!
Probably the most famous artifact of this time is The Cross of the “Panaretos” (the All Virtuous One) which is the old Cross of Anogyra. It was moved to Omodos monastery for safety reasons, where it still remains.
It is also worth to mention that a religious festival takes place in the monastery’s yard every 1st of August, attracting crowds from all parts of the island.
Some prefer going to Anogyra in early hours of summer mornings, enjoying cool morning breeze and sunrise to the east over Limassol. We hope this tip will help in creating more colourful travel experiences.