Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Cyprus - My 7 day circuit across the country - Day 6 afternoon - Troodos Mountains - Lagoudhera - the UNESCO Church of Panagia Tou Arakos and the Church of Timiou Stavrou in Agia Eirini - The 10th of November 2016

When we reached the church of Panagia Tou Arakos the priest who was supposed to let us in hadn't yet arrived so we were entitled to a thorough explanation as to what we were expected to see in its interior, which according to Michel were some of the most beautiful frescoes of the island  said to have been painted by a certain Leon Authentou who arrived from Constantinople in 1192 and worked in the so called aristocratic Kommenos style. 

I wasn't prepared for what I later saw, because undoubtedly the frescoes were of outstanding beauty. Christ Pantocrator in a blue robe with his eyes looking to one side (which according to locals means looking away from our sins and thus giving us time to repent) had a strong impact on me and my senses. There he was in the central part of the dome surrounded by angels in medallions and the twelve prophets further down on the drum overlooking every move we made. Despite having to look up I coudn't help but be drawn to his expression. almost every time we admired other frescoes, many of them associated with the life of Mary, which I also found to be equally impressive, particularly the annunciation where Archangel Michael's posture is totally different form the ones we are commonly used to.

I could have spent hours just looking around and listening to Michel ... but we had to move further onto another site before the sun set. The weather seemed to be changing and driving around these mountains wasn't easy. We were lucky to have had Sean, a British resident in Cyprus, as our driver because apart from his rather odd looks and attitudes he was beyond no doubt a very careful and concientious driver. 

We briefly visited the Church of Timiou Stavrou, whose paintings mostly depict the life and death of Christ before reaching the hotel. We were once more not allowed to take pictures inside ...

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