Maheras Monastery

Nicosia (Lefkosia)

It’s a fair hike out to this sprawling monastery perched in the foothills of the eastern spur of the Troödos Mountains and under the all-seeing radar installation on Mt Kionia (1423m) to the south. The Maheras Monastery was founded in 1148 by a hermit named Neophytos, who found an icon (supposedly painted by St Luke) guarded by a sword (maheras means 'knife' or 'sword' in Greek) in a cave near the site of the present monastery.

The monastery developed around the icon and flourished over time, but due to a fire in 1892 nothing remains of the original structures. The current building dates from around 1900. The monastery has become a popular outing for Cypriots, who possibly come as much for the cooler climate as for spiritual enlightenment. There is a small cafeteria in the grounds and pilgrims may stay overnight.

Visits should be conducted with reverence and solemnity. Maheras Monastery is best approached via Klirou and Fikardou, since the alternate route via Pera and the E902, while very pretty, is winding and very slow.