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Agia Napa (Municipality, Cyprus)

Αγία Νάπα

Last modified: 2020-05-25 by ivan sache
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Flag of Agia Napa - Image by Tomislav Šipek , 6 November 2019

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Presentation of Agia Napa

The municipality of Agia Napa, located 50 km east of Larnaca and 20 km south of Famagusta, forms the south-eastern corner of Cyprus.
Agia Napa is one of Cyprus' main tourist resorts; population can increase up to 40,000 in summertime, which prompted the municipality to revise its development strategy.

The municipality has advised British tour operators against sending organized "low quality" youth tourists in the resort who misbehave damaging the reputation of the renowned resort.
In a letter to tour operators and British media, Agia Napa Mayor Yiannis Karousos states the municipality is on the "path of turning Agia Napa into the best and most cosmopolitan tourist resort of the Mediterranean," adding this vision is also supported through the strategic plan that Cyprus has prepared for 2030.
He adds however that "currently, there is a type of tourism product which is not in line with our future strategy and our vision," notably the "’organized youth’ who misbehave, do not respect the laws of Cyprus, and with their actions create negative publicity and actually do damage the reputation of the brand name".
[CNA, 11 March 2018]

Ivan Sache, 9 November 2011

Flag of Agia Napa

The flag of Agia Napa (photo, photo) is white with the municipal emblem in the center.
The emblem features the Agia Napa monastery, which is the town's origin, namesake and landmark.

Agia Napa got its name from the "Icon of Virgin Mary of Napes", which means "the Saint of the Woods" and thus, she was named "Agia Napa". This is how the village got its name, Agia Napa, "Holy Forest".
There is not sufficient evidence as to when the monastery was originally founded. The cave, the hiding place and the well, all testify to the existence of the Christian community, from the time of the Byzantine era. Agia Napa was given its name before 1366. The monastery though, as it is today, is a building of the 15th century, when Cyprus was under the sovereignty of the Venetians.
According to local tradition, in the cave that has now become a church, the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary was found by a hunter. The hunter's dog was first to see the glowing icon and began barking, insistently calling over his master. A considerable number of believers started visiting the holy place of the cave, as soon as they heard about the discovery of the icon. The icon had probably been placed in the cave during the period of iconoclasm (7th-8th century) and thus, it was rescued. In the 14th century, the remaining half of the cave was built into a church.
Another tradition mentions that the daughter of a noble Venetian family took refuge in the cave out of obstinacy, because of her parents' refusal to allow her marriage with a non-aristocrat. It is said that around the year 1500 the wealthy Venetian built the church, the cells and a flourmill, on her own expenses. (The flourmill was probably installed in the monastery during the period of the Turkish domination).

A women's monastery and a Roman chapel were gradually created. The right aisle of the church, right after the entrance, operated as the Roman chapel. The enormous sycamore tree of the monastery, which is found next to the reservoir, is said to have been planted by the Venetian woman. When the time of her death approached, she built the stone, vaulted monument. She wished to be buried in this monument, next to the dew of the reservoir. On the northern side of the courtyard, there is a fountain with the shape of the head of a wild boar. Above that, the two-floor building is standing, in which the Venetian daughter initially lived.
In 1571, Cyprus was governed by the Ottoman domination. Unlike other monasteries and churches, this monastery was not destroyed. The description of Pietro Della Valle, during 1625, corresponds precisely to the condition of the monastery as it is today. We are also informed from Pietro Della Valle that Agia Napa used to be a nunnery and owned large amounts of land. At different periods in time, the monastery has served as both a nunnery and a monastery.
Just before 1668, the nunnery was changed to a monastery but for some unknown reason, it ceased to have any permanent inhabitants after the year 1758.

The monastery used to be located in an uninhabited area. Around the mid-18th century, the first house of the village was built. The first inhabitants of the village were people from Thessalonica, who abandoned their homeland because of the plague epidemic. Later, in 1813, the monastery was repaired but it did not own a monastic community and therefore, the property of the monastery was rented to local farmers. The buildings of the monastery were used for several needs of the community.
Upon the years of the Archbishop Makarios III, the monastery was recommended as the most suitable one to become the Ecumenical Centre of Conference. During 1978 to 2006, the conferences between the Christian Churches of the Middle East were held in the monastery. With the re-establishment of the Constantia Metropolis - Famagusta (2007), the monastery came under the management of the Metropolis. The reverent Metropolitan bishop of Constantia, Mr. Vassilios, was the first to initiate the establishment of the Cultural Academy "Saint Epifanios" and the monastery itself is its center. The Academy aims at the cultivation of theological and historical studies, and the organization of meetings and conventions. An ecclesiastical museum will also operate within the buildings of the monastery.
[Municipal website]

Tomislav Šipek & Ivan Sache, 6 November 2019