I typically try to avoid rating active religious places like churches, mosques or temples. However, the Cypriot orthodox church of Panagia tis Asinou just blew my mind too much, so that I felt to go for the best of both possible options I have. While I present you the famous interior of the church, which finally turned it into part of an UNESCO World Heritage, in the major size format I typically use for Pictured Stories, I also give you a rating, which might help you for your travel planing orientation. The church is also known as Panagia Forviotissa, which is the Greek name.
Panagia tis Asinou – Location & Admission
The church is located in Nikitari in Central Cyprus, not that far away from the neutral zone. You reach the church by a some ten kilometer detour from the B9 road, from where it is very conveniently and clearly signed. The road is quite good until the church. There is a restaurant shortly behind the church, the road is then turning into a gravel path, as far as I got it. There is a large parking lot in front of the building.
The church is maintained by the Cypriot state. It is open daily from 9:30 to 16:00 hrs. On Sundays it is opening half an hour later. In winter months, the official website states a one hour prolonged opening period. Admission to the church is free. During our visit, however, there was an older man, who obviously claimed some sort of tipping.
Panagia tis Asinou – The Visit
Panagia tis Asinou is one of the Painted Churches in the Troodos Region, which became as a group part of the 1985 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The church itself, which is hallowed to Holy Mary, is a so called barn-roofed church and has been built in the 12th century. The trip up into the mountain, where the religious site is located, is already impressive – and thus, it is also worth to have a look around the church and enjoy a view of the landscape. The church itself has three sections. You may, however, not get into the altar area, which is locked. You can still see and explore it easily, though.
Inside Panagia tis Asinou
It is hard to describe the interior of Panagia tis Asinou in words – I feel that this pictures really tell the story of the building much better. The church is really completely painted. Thus, depending on your fascination for religious paintings, you may spend quite some time in there, regardless that the church as such is not overwhelmingly large.
Panagia tis Asinou – Services
Apart from the fixed and reliable opening times, the key advantge of Panagia tis Asionou being driven by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus is that it is a full service location. This especially means that there is a proper and maintained toilet next to the parking lot. There is no souvenir shop or similar facility, though.
Panagia tis Asinou – My View
I am die-hard atheist, but this place stayed in my heart and was definitely one of the best places we visited during our early October 2022 trip to Cyprus. I can only absolutely recommend to take the (nice and rather easy) drive up the mountains once you are on this island. The Top Pick! rating was an easy decision.
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