Panagia Chrysospiliotissa

This rarely visited subterranean church, southwest of Nicosia, is situated near the village of Kato Deftera. It is dedicated to Our Lady of the Golden Grotto. Originally a series of ancient catatombs, these were converted into a church in the early Christian era.

The interior of Panagia Chrysospiliotissa was once covered with beautiful frescoes, which are now severely damaged. An apse, nave, narthex and a series of vestries are carved into the sandstone. This underground church is considered one of the earliest examples of a Levantine-style Christian monastery. This type of monastery, although rare in Cyprus, was common in the region that covers present day Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and parts of Syria.

On the 15th August every year, a festival is held here to celebrate the monastery’s nameday.