Sometimes, I forget how I come across things that end up on my “see and do” list for an area. However, the Agioi Saranta chapel near Protaras, Cyprus, was a fun one that I remember.
I was searching for “why are Cypriot churches blue and white” when I came across a discussion on a “locals” forum talking about a church in a cave. However, they were hesitant to give specific directions to the church, as they didn’t want to “ruin” it and have hordes of tourists visiting. While I can understand that, they really gave me a challenge, and I knew that I wanted to try to find the location of this church in a cave!
So, with some additional googling, sleuthing and old fashioned paper map searches, I found the location of Agioi Saranta. We had a rental car for a few days and so we ventured off into the dusty and rut filled dirt roads to the west of Protaras to find this chapel in a cave. I was glad we had the car, as this church was so remote it would have been too far for me to walk from the main part of town.
Enjoy the pictures of Agioi Saranta!
There are no glass windows in the church, but this opening above the door lets in light.
View of the door from the inside.
Lots of light comes in through the domed roof. This is looking straight up at the ceiling towards the dome from the inside.
There are several areas where there are niches, whitewashed and set in to the walls, that hold the icons.
The chapel is small, clean and tidy and definitely the smallest and only church in a cave I’ve ever been to!
To answer the question that originally led me down this path (about why the churches are blue and white), I never did find an answer online, except a brief reference that the blue and white in the Greek flag comes from sky and sea (combined with waves and clouds). Since there is such a strong Greek influence here in Cyprus, I wonder if that is why these small orthodox churches are blue and white. Being here on the Mediterranean, blue sky with clouds and blue sea with waves are the dominant color schemes, so those churches fit right in!