The monastery of Saint Nicholas (Cats) in Cyprus or the monastery of Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton (Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton Monastery) is considered the oldest and one of the first monasteries on the island.
For the first time the monastery of St. Nicholas may have been founded in 327 and was built in 365 year. Since the main occupation of the islanders was fishing, and sailing, the monastery was consecrated in honor of St. Nicholas - the patron Saint of sailors and fishermen.
According to local writings, the monastery of Agios Nikolaos was founded by St. Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, who left a piece of wood from the Holy cross monastery. In those days Cyprus was a strong drought, from-for what many Cypriots left the island. In connection with the drought, poisonous snakes multiplied in huge quantities, and the life in Cyprus has become almost unbearable, especially on the Akrotiri Peninsula.
After Elena's departure, Constantine the Great sent the Governor Kalogeros on Cyprus, with the aim to deliver to the Isle of cats to destroy the serpents. Then on Cyprus was imported thousands of cats. It should be noted, cats were massive and wild, from birth hunting for snakes. Cats are rather quickly destroyed the serpent, island life sparkle with new colors, and thanks to the cats remain forever in the hearts of Cypriots. To this day the island is home to many cats.
In connection with this legend, the monastery of St. Nicholas is the second name - Cat's monastery or monastery of St. Nicholas the cat owner.
Historically, the monastery belongs to the 14th century. In the 16th century the monastery was abandoned. Only in 1980-ies the monastery was again "occupied" by Orthodox monks. Part of his premises rebuilt, part restored, using the stones of an ancient monastery.
Currently, it is the small nunnery on the territory of which is home to several dozen cats. The appearance of the cats is poor.
The main building of the monastery, near which extensive grounds
During our visit at the monastery we have not met one Minister. The entrance to the main building of the monastery was closed on the latch. But we humans are more independent, opened the latch and went inside – in a small room with stone walls, was dim.
The inner area of the monastery closed to the public, but you can just search for "main temple" and walk a bit to a semi-open internal gallery.
Opening hours of the monastery of St. Nicholas
Where is the monastery of Saint Nicholas (Cats)
The monastery is located on the Peninsula of Akrotiri (British overseas territories, under its sovereignty, but not its composition) 12 kilometers from the historical centre of Limassol, near the Salt lake of Limassol, to the South-East from that, and close to the beach ladys Mile.
How to reach monastery of Saint Nicholas (Cats)
To reach the monastery is most convenient by car. Cheap car hire in Cyprus...
If you drive from Limassol, it is more convenient just to follow the road that runs along the sea. Then roll on Akrotiri.
By public bus number 19A from the bus station the Old hospital drive to the Akrotiri village (last stop). From a stop I have to walk about 3 kilometers along the dirt road that runs along the Salt lake (St. Constantine and Helena / Konstantinou kai Elenis). On this street we reach the crossing with the dirt road reference a pointer to a monastery, from which you want to turn right.
The fare is € 1.50. A day ticket is 5 Euro.
Photos of the bus station and the Old hospital in Limassol
Photo of the road along the lake. On the road to be careful, we saw several snakes.
A pointer to the monastery
Dirt road leading to the monastery
Alternatively, from the centre of Limassol takes you to the shopping center MY MALL Limassol (buses №№ 19, 20, 21 and 30), then 7.5 kilometers on foot. The main part of the path will run along the beach lady's Mile. Bus No. 30 also connects to the New port of Limassol.