Ayios Neophytos Monastery, according to the general belief, has been founded by a Cypriot hermit and writer named Neophytos in 1159. The autobiography of the saint is a document for the history of the monastery too. Neophytos carved a shelter for himself out of the rocky mountain. It is in that cave that one will find some unique frescoes from the Byzantine period. The frescoes date from the 12th to the 15th century.
Neophytos was known in his time for applying his criticism to the Byzantine tax collectors and the great Richard the Lion Hearted. Today, however, Neophytos is known for the astonishing series of grottoes that he carved out of the mountain, and the frescoes depicting religious scenes that can be found inside them. Some of these frescoes were painted by Neophytos himself. Neophytos is said to have lived in the cave, "the Engleistra" as it is called in his autobiography, for 45 years in one of the caves. His last five years were spent in a cave further up.
The first thing one will notice while arriving to Ayios Neophytos Monastery is cats. There is a group of around 30 cats that welcome visitors in the car park. As the site of Ayios Neophytos Monastery is located at an altitute of 1694 feet high visitors will be amazed by the spectacular views over Paphos. The Monastery is built below the grottoes and nowadays is home to only a handful of monks. The Monastery is also home to a collection of post - Byzantine icons and the remains of some 16th century frescoes. An ecclesiastical museum hosts the icons collections and other ecclesiastical artifacts.
Every January the monastery organizes a two day fair where the pilgrims can buy Cypriot crafts, traditional foods and several goods prepared by the monks. There is also live music too.
Ayios Neophytos Monastery is an exceptional choice for a day trip especially for those looking for peace and serenity.
Tel: +357 26 652 481
Opening Hours: 09:00 - 13:00, 14:00 - 18:00 (April - October)
09:00 - 13:00, 14:00 - 16:00 (November - March)
Entrance: 1 Euro (for the Museum and the Engleistra)