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The Bellapais Monastery

The monastery, one of the unparalleled samples of Gothic Art, is situated on the flanks of the Five-finger (Kyrenia) Mountains.

Its name today derives from the French "Abbaye de la paix", which means "The Peace Monastery".

The first settlers of the monastery are the priests of the Augustinian order who had migrated from Jerusalem. The first monastery building was constructed between 1198-1205. Most sections of the building which can be seen today was built by the French King Hugh III between 1267-1284.

The pavilions around the courtyard and the refectory were constructed during the reign of King Hugh IV (1324-1359). After Cyprus was conquered by the Ottomans, the monastery was given to the Greek Orthodox Church. The church next to the courtyard is the part which is in the best condition. The Italian frescoes on the front walls were made in the 15th century.

The two marble tombs in the courtyard were used as washbasins by the priests for some time. On the door behind the tombs the insignia of the Jerusalem, Lusignan, and Cyprus Kingdoms are fixed. The refectory of the monastery is also an example of unequalled Gothic Art. The rooms to the east of the courtyard in the middle, belonged to the priests.

The column in the middle of the council chamber is thought to have belonged to the early Byzantine Church. The dormitories of the priests and the chamber of accounts are on the upper floor.

 

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