Mentioned in the Bible as Kitim, Cyprus is, after Sicily and Sardinia, the largest island in the Mediterranean. The copper of its mines and the excellent wood of its cedars made it a coveted enclave for Phoenicians, Greeks, Assyrians, Persians, Egyptians and Romans, who succumbed to the charms of Aphrodite, and found in Cyprus a fundamental base for their warlike, commercial and political strategies. Today, traces of those civilisations are present all over the island. Its culture is essentially Greek, although after the Ottoman conquest of 1571 and the Turkish invasion of 1974, the island was divided into two very distinct sectors: the more European (and UN-accepted) Greek culture and the more Eastern Turkish culture, known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (recognised only by Turkey). With the same capital, NICOSIA, separated by a wall similar to the one that divided Berlin, and which, since 30 October 2016, has become the only city in the world with two time zones. Despite this, we will hardly notice anything in the transition from one side to the other.

We will explore the beautiful and unknown Cyprus, home of the goddess Aphrodite: its archaeological sites, such as the Neolithic site of CHOIROKOITIA, Greco-Roman cities like KOURION, with its impressive theatre; the Roman mosaics of PAFOS or SALAMINA with its superb ruins; Byzantine treasures, medieval castles, churches, Gothic abbeys, magnificent Venetian fortifications and sturdy Ottoman constructions. We will travel along the coast, with mythological sites such as “Aphrodite’s Rock”, important port cities like LÁRNACA, LIMASOL, KYRENIA (“the pearl of the Mediterranean”), or FARMAGUSTA, with jewels of Gothic architecture; the incredible diversity of its landscape, such as the TROODOS MOUNTAINS, which hide Byzantine churches with beautiful frescoes. We will also enjoy the proverbial friendliness of its people and its outstanding gastronomy, with a wine tradition that dates back to Ancient Greece, which we will be able to see in OMODOS, where we will enjoy a local wine tasting.

TRAVEL ITINERARY

Day 1 | MADRID – ISTANBUL – ERCAN – LÁRNACA

Arrive at Madrid airport three hours before departure. Boarding formalities and departure at 12.10 on FLIGHT TK1858 with TURKISH AIRLINES to ISTANBUL. Arrival at 17.20 local time. Connection and departure of FLIGHT TK962 with destination ERCAN at 18.25 hrs. Arrival in Ercan at 20.00 hrs. After check-in formalities, reception and assistance at the airport by the representatives of our receptive in Cyprus, we transfer to our hotel. The city of LÁRNACA is the third largest city in Cyprus, after Nicosia and Limassol. It has a population of 73.000 inhabitants and is home to the second most important port of the island. Built around a long promenade, it is perhaps the city with the richest contrasts, combining Western standards with traditional Cypriot life, with corners that seem to have been frozen in time. Founded by the Phoenicians around the 13th century BC, it was known in antiquity as Citio. Accommodation at THE RISE BOUTIQUE HOTEL in LÁRNACA.

Day 2 : PETRA tou ROMIOU – PAFOS: archaeological park, tombs and town

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Our visits throughout our stay on the island will have a chronological sense. Therefore, on our first day we will travel to the south of Cyprus, to Paphos. On the way, we will stop at Petra tou Romiou. On this coastal site, between Limassol and Paphos, there is a group of 3 huge white limestone rocks by the sea, where the Greek mythological tradition locates the place where Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, emerged from the white foam of the sea. Continue the journey to PAFOS, located in the southwest of the island, the city has always been linked to the myth of Aphrodite, as it is considered to be the place where the goddess touched land after being born from the sea. The first written references date back to the 7th century BC. The centre of one of the island’s kingdoms, Paphos took part in the Greek rebellion against the Persians in 498 BC and was attacked and conquered after heavy fighting on its walls. During the Hellenistic period (and later under the Romans) it became the island’s capital, replacing Salamis. A series of earthquakes and attacks by the Arabs did great damage to the city, which gradually lost importance, until in Constantine’s time it was once again the capital of Salamis. In antiquity, a distinction was made between Pale-Pafos (ancient Paphos) and a later Paphos called Kato Paphos, founded by King Nicocles at the end of the 4th century BC. Since then Pale-Pafos continued to exist as a religious centre, and Kato Paphos was the urban, administrative and commercial centre.

We will visit the Archaeological Park of Paphos (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980), excavated in 1962 and situated next to the modern city. It is an area dating back to the Roman Imperial period, of great interest due to its magnificent mosaics. We will visit the site, where we will find the remains of the Hellenistic theatre, the agora, the odeon, the Asklepion (the sanctuary dedicated to the god of medicine), and the lighthouse hill. We arrive at the House of Dionysus, built at the end of the 2nd century AD, which must have belonged to a local aristocrat. It contains magnificent mosaics depicting the triumph of the wine god Dionysus (the Greek Bacchus), with colourful pieces in limestone. The most famous scene is the one depicting Dionysus in a chariot drawn by leopards. The House of Orpheus, known for its mosaics dedicated to Orpheus, who appears with his lyre, plus those depicting Hercules and the lion of Nemea and Amazonia. The House of Aion, destroyed by an earthquake, has mosaics from the 4th century, depicting the bath of Dionysus, Leda and the swan. Leaving the archaeological site behind, we arrive at the Pillar of St. Paul where tradition has it that the Apostle was tied up and flogged before converting the Roman governor Sergius Paulus to the new faith when he came to Cyprus to preach Christianity. Just behind the Pillar is the Church of Chrysopolitissa built in the 13th century on the ruins of the largest Byzantine basilica in Cyprus. It is a 12th-13th century building with a small bell tower and a dome. Next to it was the large bishop’s palace. The whole complex was destroyed by an Arab attack in the 7th century.

Lunch in a local restaurant. We continue our visit to this archaeological complex and move on to what are now known as the Tombs of the Kings. In this archaeological site, with its labyrinthine layout, during the period between the 3rd century BC and the 3rd century AD, a unique group of rock-cut tombs of Alexandrian inspiration were erected, which began during the Egyptian occupation of the island under the Ptolemaic dynasty, when they made Paphos the capital of the island. Officials, aristocrats and military commanders from the Hellenistic and Roman periods were buried here. Many of these tombs show Macedonian or Egyptian influences, inspired by those of the Ptolemies in Alexandria. We will stroll through the narrow streets of the upper town of Paphos, Ktima, to walk through the centre, called Agoras, a square where a covered market dating from the early 20th century stands. You can admire the exterior of buildings such as the church of Agios Kendas, built in 1930, the neoclassical Town Hall with its four-columned portico and pediment, and the Orthodox Cathedral of Agios Theodoros, built in 1896. In front of it, a monument commemorates the Turkish massacre of 1821, which ended the life of Chrysantos, Bishop of Paphos. Return to Larnaca. Accommodation at THE RISE BOUTIQUE HOTEL in LARNACA.

Day 3 : TROODOS Mountain – Byzantine Monasteries – OMODOS

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Departure to the Troodos mountain range, the largest mountain range on the island. On the way we will pass through small villages and beautiful natural landscapes covered with pine and cedar forests. This region is home to one of the largest concentrations of churches and monasteries built during the Byzantine Empire. Arrival at the Kykkos Monastery (UNESCO DECLARED A WORLD HERITAGE IN 2001). Visit of this great monastery founded by the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Conminus around 1100 and dedicated to the Virgin of Mercy, which has one of the three preserved icons attributed to St. Luke. It is the largest and most important in Cyprus. The church has a portico decorated with mosaics. The cloister also has mosaics narrating the history of the monastery. The first president of Cyprus, the famous Archbishop Makarios III, began his ecclesiastical career here as a monk in 1926. We continue our route through the valley of Marathassa until we reach the village of Kalopanagiotis. Here you will find the Monastery of St. John of Lampadistis (UNESCO LISTED AS A WORLD HERITAGE IN 2001) one of the most interesting monasteries in Cyprus.

The monastery includes 2 churches and a chapel from different periods. The most important, the church of St. Irakleidos, is dedicated to the local saint John, born in Lampadou. It dates from the 9th century and his tomb and relics are found inside. It has a vaulted structure and a Greek cross plan. It is decorated with a spectacular set of frescoes executed between the 13th and 15th centuries, with themes illustrating scenes from the Old and New Testaments, as well as Byzantine coats of arms of the Lusignan family. The characteristic Pantocrator can be seen in the dome. The gilded iconostasis from the 16th century is also remarkable. Continuation to the village of Kakopetria where we will visit the Byzantine Church of Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis (UNESCO LISTED AS A WORLD HERITAGE IN 2001). It is a vaulted building with a Greek cross plan. Its oldest part dates from the 11th century; the dome and narthex were added in the 12th century, and the large gabled roof was added in the 15th century to protect it from the snow. Its very important paintings range in chronology from the 11th to the 15th century, allowing us to appreciate the whole evolution of the Orthodox religious painting of the Cypriot Middle Ages, from the primitive hieratism influenced by the paintings of Syria or Cappadocia (11th century) to the greater emotionality of the time of the last emperors of Byzantium (14th century), passing through the primitive realism and greater expressiveness of the Comnemos emperors (12th century).

Lunch in a local restaurant. We continue to the wine-growing area of Limassol of which OMODOS, a town of medieval origin, is its most important seat. This picturesque village is important for its handicrafts, including an elaborate type of lace, as well as honey and wine. This is where the world’s oldest wine began to be made, a wine called Commandaria, which has been produced on the island for 5,000 years and was already being drunk by Homer, the pharaohs and Richard the Lionheart, who made it fashionable in the European courts after serving it at his wedding to Berenguela of Navarre. This is what he said: “it is the wine of kings and the king of wines”. We will visit a wine press and finish the visit with a local wine tasting. Before returning to the hotel, we will visit the Monastery of Santa Cruz. Built around 1150, tradition has it that St. Helena – mother of Emperor Constantine – left here a fragment of the rope with which Jesus was tied to the cross during his passion when she returned from Jerusalem. The church hides an iconostasis carved in 1813, as well as the skull of St. Philip the Apostle. Return to Larnaca. Accommodation at THE RISE BOUTIQUE HOTEL in LARNACA.

Day 4 : KOURION – LIMASSOL – CHOIROKOITIA

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to KOURION (Curium), one of the largest and most important political and religious enclaves in Cyprus. Founded by the Mycenaeans around the 12th century BC, its strategic location on fertile land and its wide bay facilitated its development, reaching great prosperity during the Ptolemaic and Roman rule. Visit the Archaeological Site of Kourion, where we highlight the house of Eustolios, a dwelling from the end of the 4th century with about 30 rooms, around two colonnaded courtyards decorated with mosaics. The theatre, on a site overlooking the sea and with excellent acoustics, was built in the 2nd century BC, although what remains dates from Roman times. It could seat 3,500 people and is still used today for cultural events. The Roman agora, dating from the 3rd century AD, with additions in the Christian period, was surrounded by porticoes with marble columns.

An impressive public baths and a nymphaeum, which supplied water to the city via an aqueduct, occupied the northeast side of the agora. A three-aisled basilica, built in the 5th century on the site of a pagan temple, was destroyed by the Arabs in the 7th century. Next to it are the remains of the baptistery on a basilica plan and of the bishop’s palace, of which the remains of mosaics and columns have been preserved. To the west, the houses of Achilles and the gladiators. The former takes its name from a 4th-century mosaic discovered inside the colonnade. The latter takes its name from another mosaic with gladiatorial scenes. Further west, the stadium, a U-shaped enclosure built in the 2nd century AD, was used until the 5th century. It had seven rows of seats with a capacity for 6,000 spectators. After the visit, we will move on to the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates. In ancient times, this was one of the most important places on the island. Dedicated to the sun god Apollo in his role as god of the forests, the present ruins date from Roman times, although there are remains from the 7th century BC. The sanctuary was surrounded by laurel and palm gardens with deer. Pilgrims brought their votive offerings which they deposited next to the priests’ houses. There are also thermal baths, a palestra, storerooms and dormitories for the pilgrims. However, the most outstanding feature of the site is undoubtedly the Temple of the God, which has been partly restored at the end of the sacred processional road. It is unique in that its capitals were made in the Nabataean style by artists from distant Petra. Continue the journey through the Phassouri citrus groves to Limassol.

Lunch in a local restaurant. The city of LIMASSOL is situated on the bay of Akrotiri, in the centre of the southern coast of Cyprus, and its commercial port is one of the most important in the Mediterranean. We will visit the Medieval Castle, a small fortress, located in the heart of the old town, built by the Byzantines around the year 1000. It was later remodelled by the Frankish dynasty of Lusignan, the Venetians, the Ottomans and the British, serving as a prison between 1790 and 1940. In its chapel in 1191, during the Third Crusade, the King of England, Richard the Lionheart, married Doña Berenguela, daughter of Sancho IV of Navarre and was thus proclaimed Queen of England and Cyprus. During World War II, it was used as British headquarters. Today it houses the Medieval Museum of Cyprus and from its ramparts there is a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Continue to Choirokoitia (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001) where archaeologists discovered in 1934 an extensive Neolithic settlement surrounded by a mighty wall. It is one of the oldest on the island (6,800 BC). Its population, which numbered up to 2,000, lived in circular houses of clay and stone, in many of which underground tombs with a large number of grave goods have been found. The inhabitants lived on agriculture and animal husbandry and in their later years used a high quality of pottery. Return to Larnaca. Accommodation at THE RISE BOUTIQUE HOTEL in LARNACA.

Day 5 | Salt Lake – NICOSIA

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. We arrive at the Salt Lake, actually a complex of four connected lakes called Aliki, Orphani, Soros and Spiro. It is an outstanding wetland and an area with about 85 aquatic species. During the winter months, the lake fills with water, while in summer it evaporates, leaving a crust of salt and a cloud of grey dust. Salt from here was once one of the island’s main exports. Next to the lake stands the mausoleum of Umm Haram, next to which is the mosque, forming a shrine complex known as the Hala Sultan Tekke, a holy place for Muslims, surrounded by cypress, palm and olive trees. The mausoleum is the burial place of Umm Haram, Mahora’s aunt, who died here in 649. The octagonal mosque has a minaret and dome and was built in 1816. Several sacophagi are located around it. We continue on our way and arrive at NICOSIA. Called Lefkosia in Greek, it is currently the political and financial capital of the Republic of Cyprus. The most important is its old town enclosed by mighty Venetian walls of almost 5 km in length from the 16th century, with 3 gates. XVI century, with 3 gates. Divided in two since 1974 by the Turkish occupation of the north of the island, it is now easy to cross the divide thanks to the partial lifting of restrictions on tourism along the famous Ledra Street, the commercial heart of the city. The only city still divided in Europe has the attraction of crossing from West to East in just a few steps. Lunch in a local restaurant. In the southern part of the city we will visit the Archaeological Museum, located in a neoclassical building, it contains the best archaeological collection of the island, with pieces dating from the 3rd millennium BC. It consists of 14 rooms distributed around a central space, in which the objects are displayed chronologically and by theme.

Next we enter the Archbishop’s Palace, inside which is the Byzantine Museum, which houses the most important collection of icons in Cyprus, with about 150 pieces dating from the 9th to the 19th century, as well as frescoes dating from the 10th to the 18th century. Virgins with the Child, apostles and other saints are the most prominent themes. Also important is the collection of Byzantine mosaics from the 6th century. Next to it is the Metropolitan Cathedral of St John the Theologian, the city’s official Orthodox cathedral dating from 1662. Built in yellow stone on the site of a medieval Benedictine monastery of St John the Evangelist, abandoned by Catholic monks during the Mamluk attacks and later taken over by the Orthodox. It has a pointed barrel vault and is decorated with beautiful 18th century frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Jesus, plus a Last Judgement which decorates the entrance. Afterwards, walk with the guide through the narrow streets of the old town to the CHECK POINT at the end of Ledra Street, where we will cross over to the occupied part of the city, called LEFKOŞA. We will visit the Buyuk Han, a former caravanserai built in 1572 by Muzaffer Pasha, the first governor of Cyprus. In the inner courtyard stands a small octagonal chapel used for prayers, as well as a fountain for ablutions. From the beginning of colonial times until 1895 it was used by the British as a prison. Restored in 2003, it has a large interior portico, set on two floors by means of pointed arches.

Next, visit the Great Cathedral of Hagia Sophia (Selimiye Mosque), the ancient cathedral of Nicosia, dedicated to Hagia Sophia, built during the Lusignan period between 1208 and 1326, where their monarchs were crowned. It was sacked by the Genoese (1373) and the Mamluks, as well as by earthquakes in 1491 and 1547. The Turks converted it into a mosque in 1570, removing all human representation, painting the interior white and adding two 50-metre-high minarets on either side of the façade, a pulpit or mimbar and a chapel or mihrab inside, facing Mecca. It was also renamed the Ayasofia Mosque, but in 1954 it was renamed Selimiye, after Sultan Selim II, conqueror of Cyprus. It retains its splendid French Gothic appearance, with a pointed portico, three entrance doors on the main façade, sculpted stone windows, external flying buttresses, three naves and a ribbed vault supported by massive columns. Return to Larnaca. Accommodation at THE RISE BOUTIQUE HOTEL in LARNACA.

Day 6 | KYRENIA – BELLAPAIS

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Departure to the north of the island through the Pentadaktylos mountain range. Arrival at the Castle of St. Hilarion. This bastion, one of the main fortresses of Cyprus, is the best preserved in the north of the island. On the top of the mountain, it is perfectly camouflaged in a rocky complex facing the sea. It is named after a Palestinian saint who came to Cyprus and lived until his death in 372. The Byzantines built a church and monastery in his memory. It was conquered by Richard the Lionheart. Its unbeatable position as a watchtower against possible attacks from the sea and as an outpost in the defence of Nicosia prompted the Lusignan kings to build defensive walls, even using it as a summer residence because of its better climate. In 1964 it was occupied for a time by Turkish Cypriot activists fighting against the Greek community. The top of the castle is 732 m above sea level. We arrive at KYRENIA, one of the jewels of Cyprus, and a town that has been inhabited by Turkish Cypriots since the Turkish invasion of 1974. It has a six thousand year old history and has been the home of many civilisations. Its origins date back to the end of the Trojan War, when many Achaeans, ancient Greek colonisers from the Peloponnese, established communities in the area. From the earliest times, and given its proximity to the coast of Asia Minor, Kyrenia benefited from maritime trade. Subsequently, the Romans, Byzantines, Franks and Venetians all passed through, until it was occupied by the Ottoman army in 1570. In 1878 it passed into British hands until the country’s independence in 1960. In 1974, after the invasion of the Turkish army, the Greek Cypriot inhabitants of Kyrenia were forced to leave their homes.

Lunch in a local restaurant. We will drive to the Byzantine port of Kyrenia where we will tour its harbour, one of the most beautiful in the entire Eastern Mediterranean, enclosed by a narrow tongue of land and surrounded by a promenade lined with bars and restaurants; we will see the large stone moorings that served the old ships of the past. We will visit Kyrenia Castle, built by the Byzantines on the site of a Roman stronghold and enlarged in every age of conquerors from Richard the Lionheart to the Ottomans. It is a large rectangular structure with two Venetian-period cylindrical towers at the northwest and southeast corners, a third medieval tower at the northeast corner, and a fourth square bastion-like tower, also from the Venetian period, at the southwest corner. The castle contains a cistern, a dungeon, a chapel and two small museums. The Byzantine Chapel of St George has a Greek cross plan with a dome supported by four marble columns topped by Corinthian capitals. The dungeon is famous because King Peter I’s pregnant mistress, Joanna L’Aleman, was tortured on the orders of the king’s jealous wife, Queen Eleanor. It also contains the Shipwreck Museum, with the remains of the oldest shipwreck ever recovered in Cypriot waters; a wooden-hulled Greek merchant ship that sank off the coast of Kyrenia, around 300 BC, and was discovered by a local diver in 1967. Its cargo consisted of amphorae, almonds, grain, wine and millstones from the Greek islands of Samos. We will walk along the harbour walls, enjoying a beautiful view.

We will finish the excursion by visiting BELLAPAIS, one of the most beautiful villages of Cyprus. Situated on the northern side of the mountain range between orange and lemon groves, its origins can be traced back to the time of the Crusades, when the Sultan of Egypt and Syria, Saladin, conquered Jesuralen in 1187. A number of local Augustinian monks then marched to Cyprus and decided to found the Abbey of St. Mary of the Mountain. The original structure, built between 1198 and 1205, was enlarged between 1267 and 1284 during the reign of Hugh III. The cloisters and the great refectory were added later by Hugh IV (1324-59), and this decoration is most of what remains today. The 13th-century church, in the French Gothic style with three aisles, still retains some remnants of the fresco decoration. Behind it is the 14th century cloister, surrounded by imposing cypress trees and lined with arcades of Gothic arches that have survived the centuries almost intact. Return to Larnaca. Accommodation at THE RISE BOUTIQUE HOTEL in LARNACA.

Day 7 | LÁRNACA – SALAMINA – FAMAGUSTA

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Departure to Strovilia CHECK-POINT to cross to the occupied zone. Arrival to one of the most important sites of the island: the Ancient City of SALAMINA, undoubtedly the most important city-state of ancient Cyprus. It was located at the mouth of the river Pediaios and according to tradition was founded by the hero Teucro, son of Telamon, brother of Ayax, and one of the participants in the Trojan War. It is the largest archaeological site in Cyprus (the earliest archaeological finds date back to the 11th century BC) but most of it is still unexcavated. It was a busy port where St Paul landed in AD 45 and began the evangelisation of the island. Later during the Byzantine period, it continued its importance and was also embellished with basilicas as it became the capital of the island, receiving the name Constantia. We will visit the Archaeological Site of Salamis, whose ruins occupy a large area that stretches along a sandy beach. The first thing we come across is the gymnasium, with its elegant colonnaded portico, which still retains part of the Byzantine pavement; the sculptures that decorated it have lost their heads. The Roman baths, remodelled in Byzantine times. The caldarium, discovered in 1922, and next to it 4th-century mosaics with floral motifs, the legend of Leda and the swan and a hunting scene. The theatre, dating from the time of Emperor Augustus, had a capacity for more than 15,000 spectators, and was part of a leisure complex that included the odeon or concert hall and a small stadium. We arrive at the huge basilica of Agios Epifanios, defined by the bases of its columns. Directly opposite, the pink granite columns, originally from Aswan, indicate the site of the Roman forum, once presided over by a temple dedicated to Zeus. The Monastery of St. Barnabas, one of the most important Christian religious centres in Cyprus, is 5 km away. This saint, born in Salamis, joined St. Paul in 45 AD and together they evangelised Cyprus. The saint was stoned around 61 AD. His disciples collected his body and buried it here. When his tomb was discovered, a first monastery was built, which was destroyed around the 7th century by the Arabs. We will visit the monastery, whose current building was erected in 1756. The church, with three naves, a double Greek cross plan and two domes raised on a circular drum, was restored in 1991 and today houses a museum of icons. About 100 m away is the small mausoleum built on the site where the saint’s remains were discovered. It is a modern building in neo-Byzantine style with a Greek cross plan, which covers the grotto where the hidden tomb is supposed to have been.

Lunch in a local restaurant. After the visit we drive to the nearby town of FAMAGUSTA, situated in the east of the island, with its historic centre enclosed by Venetian walls, is one of the most beautiful towns in Cyprus. Founded as Arsinoe by the Ptolemies during the Egyptian occupation of the island between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, it grew in importance from the 13th century onwards thanks to its busy port and defences. The Lusignan dynasty used it as the seat of their rule over the island and after the fall of the Holy Land to the Muslims, its prosperity continued even under Venetian rule after its conquest in 1389 when it was fortified in such a way that it was able to withstand a Turkish siege for 10 months before falling into their hands in the 16th century, its walls being today the most important in the ancient republic of St Mark in the East. Famous for its more than 365 churches (one for each day of the year), some of which have been transformed into mosques. We will walk around the city, whose old town is surrounded by these imposing walls built by the Venetians at the beginning of the 16th century, more than 15 m high and up to 8 m thick; the ancient Cathedral of St. Nicholas built between 1298 and 1326, is the best example of Gothic architecture, inspired by the cathedral of Reims. It was here that the sovereigns of the Lusignan dynasty were crowned as kings of Jerusalem. It was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman invasion of 1571 under the name of Ayasofia (Hagia Sophia), removing any human representation in paintings, sculptures or stained-glass windows, and adding a stylised minaret. In 1954 it adopted its present name, the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque, after the Ottoman leader who took the city in 1571. Its three interior naves correspond to its three exterior pointed portals (the central one has a large rose window), flanked by two truncated towers. The whitewashed interior has twelve columns supporting its simple ribbed vault and a mimbar or pulpit.

We return to Larnaca, but first we pass through the small village of Kiti, where we find the church of Panagia Angeloktisti (“built by angels”) which contains a treasure: a mosaic with a golden background with the Virgin and Child. This 6th century work is unique in Cyprus and comparable to the wonders of Ravenna. With the exception of a chapel added during the Lusignan period, the church dates back to the 10th century. Its Gothic vaults hold the tombstones of some Frankish nobles. Back in Larnaca, we will visit the Church of Saint Lazarus. This saint, after being resurrected by Christ, left for Cyprus, where he was bishop of the ancient city of Kition (today’s Larnaca), where he was buried. When his tomb was discovered in 890, the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI built the church and the body was taken to Byzantium. After the Turkish conquest it was first converted into a mosque and from 1589 it was used again by Catholics and Orthodox. The building incorporates elements from various periods. The bell tower was erected in 1857. It has a portico and an interior arranged around four pillars that support a roof with three small domes. The Baroque pulpit dates from the 17th century; it has an iconostasis of great artistic value made between 1773 and 1782. To the right of the central nave there is a reliquary with the skull of the saint, and in the crypt there are tombs, one of which bears the Greek inscription “Lazarus, friend of Jesus”. We will have our room at our hotel THE RISE BOUTIQUE HOTEL until the time of departure to the airport.

Day 8 : LÁRNACA – ERCAN – ISTANBUL – MADRID

At the indicated time, pick up and transfer to the airport. Customs formalities, check-in and boarding of flight TK965 with TURKISH AIRLINES, departure scheduled at 02.40 hrs. Arrival in ISTANBUL at 04.10 hrs. Transfer and departure on FLIGHT TK1857 at 07.15 hrs. Arrival at MADRID airport at 10.40 hrs. Baggage collection and END OF OUR TRIP.

PRICE PER PERSON

Double room – 1.550,00€.

Single room supplement – 320,00€.