Bringing history to life at Cyprus’ World Heritage Sites

Of all the subjects we encounter at school, it must be history that’s one of the hardest to get your head around. After all, maths and English are everyday essentials if we’re going to grow into intelligent and able adults.

But history is just a lot of stuff that happened in the past.

Cyprus is an outstanding destination that will bring history that feels a million miles away up close. If you’re looking for ways to get your family more engaged in history while still seeing the sun — or just searching for last minute holidays — here are the three must-see World Heritage Sites you can discover.

1. The Troodos region’s painted churches

Over the Troodos mountain range, ten different churches have been given the prestige of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you’d expect, there’s significant religious history to the place, with cold stone exteriors reflecting rural traditions from thousands of years ago.

But it’s inside that these churches are most exciting, with lavishly-painted interiors full of energy, passion, and enthusiasm. Across the ten churches, you’ll get a complete perspective on more than 500 years of artistry.

And if you’ve only got time to see a couple, go for the 11th century iconography at St. Nicholas of the Roof and the 16th century art at the Church of the Transfiguration of The Saviour

2. The Choirokoitia Neolithic settlement

At first glance, Choirokoitia is an important yet fairly dull site – certainly not one you’d book your family holidays for.

But it’s beneath the surface that the site is most fascinating. Literally.

You see, while the circular mud brick houses are a significant historical find, giving you the chance to see a prehistoric site first-hand, the stories uncovered by further archaeological digs are the best bit.

Where else would you hear of bones being unearthed to reveal that Neolithic families always lived together — even when they were dead and buried under the floor?

The Choirokoitia Neolithic settlement

 3. Paphos

There’s a good reason why the coastal city of Paphos is Cyprus’ most well-known World Heritage Site. It’s full of history and an important location through the ages.

The old city is most commonly remembered as the birthplace of Aphrodite, the ideal of love. As a result, the ruins of theatres and palaces are covered in gorgeous mosaics reflecting passion, love, and adoration.

But the wider Paphos has a lot more to offer, from a stone pillar where St Paul was punished for preaching Christianity to the underground tombs of kings from the 4th century BC.


 Images by isawnyu and Verity Cridland, used under Creative Commons licence.

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