Kykkos Monastery (or the Holy, Royal and Stavropegic Monastery of Kykkos) is located in the forest of the Troodos Mountains. The Monastery of Kykkos, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is home to one of the three icons attributed to the Apostle Luca. The monastery is the richest and most lavishly adorned Monasteries in Cyprus and tourists and locals visit it by the busload. It is located in the Marathasa region on a mountain peak at an altitude of 4,320 feet.
The Saint Neophytos Monastery or in Greek, Iera Moni Agiou Neophytou, is located 9 kilometers to the west of Paphos town. The monastery which was founded by the monk Neophytos in the 12th century currently houses a museum and a chapel which is built in a natural cave. Saint Neophytos pursued an ascetic lifestyle in the hills of Cyprus and found a small natural cave in this location in 1159. He excavated the cave to include his cell, a small chapel, and his eventual tomb. His table is sculptured from rock and the stone platform on which he slept as well as his grave, are still preserved in his cell. He soon accumulated followers and the area soon became a quiet monastic community in 1170, housing up to 18 monks. After the monk Neophytos died, at the age of 85 in 1219, he was buried within the Egleistra according to his own wishes. The 'Egleistra', which is an enclosure carved out of the mountain by the hermit, contains some of the finest Byzantine frescoes dating from the 12th century. The monastery is located in a quiet and beautiful mountainous area which is close to the town of Tala, Paphos.
The Republic of Cyprus is predominantly Greek Orthodox and they celebrate the birth of Christ on the 25th December like all Christians around the world. The Russian Orthodox, who take their calendar from the Julian calendar celebrate on the 6th January. Although most Cypriots are very traditional, they have not remained untouched by the commercial side of Christmas and this is evident in stores and in all walks of lives. Traditionally gifts are exchanged on the 1st of January which is the feast day of Agios Vasilios, or St Vasilios. A Christmas tree is usually erected in homes at the beginning of December and only taken down after the Epiphany on the 6th January. The streets in all large cities are decorated with Christmas lights and there are many events planned around the holidays which include carol singing and other celebrations. For those who prefer to be in a winter wonderland, the Troodos Mountains have magical accommodation in hotels and agro tourism cottages that you can rent and enjoy the festivities in the snow covered areas of Platres, Pedhoulas, Agros and Kalopanayiotis. You can spend the days skiing and enjoying winter sports and the nights around a fireplace taking in the delicious authentic Cypriot cuisine.
Cyprus is one of the leading wedding destinations in Europe. The island is famous for its amazing climate, beautiful coastal sites and amazing venues for ceremonies and celebrations. The appeal of weddings in Cyprus is in part due to the short distance from many European destinations, and the relatively low costs. The other important advantage offered is that the marriage formalities are fairly simple and recognized worldwide. Wedding certificates are given to the newlyweds on the same day, in English which is a language widely spoken throughout the island. Small and large weddings can be catered for in a variety of venues which include beaches, yachts, castles, wineries, museums and traditional village houses. There are many wedding planners in Cyprus who undertake to organize weddings. Themed, packaged wedding plans are available to suit all interested parties. The beautiful crystal clear water of the Mediterranean Sea is a favourite setting for destination weddings and Cyprus also offers luxury villas or 5 star hotels for the couple’s guests. Most of the weddings are officiated at the local municipalities by licensed officers. Church weddings are also available if the couple are Christians and choose to be married by a priest. In this case you would still need to get your marriage license in order for the marriage legal to be legal, unless you are of Greek Orthodox faith in which case everything is organized through the church.