Ayios Saranta, The Church in the Hill
Many years ago I saw some photos online of a small church built into the rock somewhere in Protaras, I'd often wondered exactly where it was and finding it has been on my 'to do' list for ages. Walking has never really been our 'thing' especially with several years toddlers or pushchairs and the fact they don't mix well with exploring, but now the boys are bigger it's a lot easier to go 'adventuring'.
After our successful geocaching day earlier this month, I decided to give it another go and started searching for our next geocache and was pleased to discover one very close to the church, making it very easy to find.
We ended up going with Sam and the kids, who knew where it was anyway and was surprised to find out we'd only been a very short distance from it when we went out last time!
It's a fascinating little place and while it's only a few minutes drive from Protaras and Ayia Napa it feels like it is in the middle of nowhere once you are there.
I didn't know anything about the church until I googled the name of the geocache, it is called Ayios Saranta, which translates to Saint Forty but there is very little information I could find.
It seems that the cave has been a place of worship from the earliest centuries of Christianity, according to website Ring of Christ, and there was a large number of bones found were believed to be those of 40 early Christian martyrs.
The church has even made it onto a list of The quirkiest churches in the world which is great, I agree it is so unusual, and even more unlikely that this tiny church nestled in the hills in Cyprus could be listed with so many from all around the world.
Inside are several icons, and candles lit in memory of loved ones, we had arrived at the same time as a Cypriot family carrying candles, so had waited for them to leave the church before we entered.
Although I am not a religious person it was great to finally find the church and was amazing to think that it has been there unchanged for so many years, not to mention the amazing views of course.
As it turns out the geocache wasn't really worth finding, other than to be able to cross it off the list. It was broken and the log book was soaked and covered in slugs, but as we left the church and started walking we found something even better...
We found a cave!
With two Minecraft loving boys, you can imagine how excited they were to be in a cave in real life. They even 'crafted' axes and mined some more.
A very successful day of exploring and adventuring!