Bellapais Abbey

Built in 1200, here King Hugh 111 of Cyprus is buried in the abbey church.

This beautiful building situated 20 minutes drive from Kyrenia was once home to Benedictine monks. Its construction was financed by the then King of Cyprus Hugh 111, in return he wished to be buried in the Abbey Church. Today visitors can still view the Kings last resting place. The Abbey, once rich fell into disrepair when Genoese invaded the abbey taking away everything that could be carried or put on a horse and cart. Under the rule of Venetians things took a turn for the worse along with the monks’ morals, who became notorious for womanising.

After the conquest of the island by Turkey the abbey came under the rule of the Church of Cyprus but, by then the place went into a sad state with the walls beginning to crumble. It was the British who used the abbey as a military base, saving thus its complete ruination. The actual church is considered to be a fine example of French Gothic architecture and a large Gothic - style dining room is still there, allowing visitors to imagine all the Knights, monks and noblemen dinning there. In the Benedictine monks’ time there would have been a fellow monk on a small balcony praying as the others ate their meal.

Historical Landmarks