Cyprus and the Holy Land cruises
The Troodos Massif is a popular holiday resort that represents the most important mountain range of Cyprus. It sits in the centre of the island and culminate with Mount Olympus at 1952m. Troodos Mountains, home to quaint hilltop villages and to some of the world's most famous monasteries and Byzantine churches in Cyprus are known as the "Island of the Saints". A dozen of them are classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. The Kykkos monastery founded in the 11th century is the most opulent and prosperous on the island with colourful frescos that will catch your eye and are worth dwelling on.
Other treasures also divulge bits of their history: the archaeological site of Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the alleys, we discover its catacombs, its medieval lands and some mythical character houses: that of Dionysus, a Roman villa formerly made up of 22 pieces, those of Theseus and Aion. Their common point? Mosaics; some very well preserved, which illustrate the themes of Greek mythology with its heroes Narcissus, Pyramus and Tischbe, Icarios, Dionysus, Apollo, Cassiopeia.
Further on, the Tombs of the Kings, similar to dwellings formerly intended for the departed families of nobles, make up a place full of mystery in an almost desert landscape.
Destination: Israel. Haifa "the beautiful blue", is one of the most beautiful seaside resorts of the Mediterranean Sea and one of the most picturesque of the Middle East. After crossing the Judean Hills by bus, the day-trippers arrive in Jerusalem where they will go to the Mount of Olives and the Gethsemane Church, where Jesus was betrayed by Judas and captured by the Romans. A tour of the picturesque old town will take you to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, also known as the "tomb of Jesus". This holy place for a large part of Christians is a sanctuary that encompasses the site of the crucifixion as well as the cave where the body of Christ was laid to rest after his death.
The road goes up through the course of history and we arrive in Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity. Via Dolorosa will lead to the Wailing Wall, a sacred place of the Jews. Further on, Mount Zion awakens the memory of the Easter celebration celebrated by Jesus and his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. The last meal where they prayed together inspired the Last Supper.
Galileo, combines beauty of landscapes and emotion. An attractive route with magnificent views of the Sea of Galilee and the valley of the Houla, leads to the Jordan where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, then to Nazareth and Canaan where he accomplished the miracle of transforming the water into wine. The "book" of the life of Jesus in Galilee closes in the heart of the valley of Jezreel where the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah.
Back to Cyprus. The stop in Lacarna allows you to taste the charm of a lively fishing town that has preserved its artisanal and artistic traditions, blending harmoniously past and present.
But it is Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus and Kyrenia, the main seaside resort of northern Cyprus, which will be the subject of a thorough visit.
Nicosia, a lively and modern city, is the seat of the presidency of the Republic and the archiepiscopal seat of the Orthodox Church. Its particularity is to be split in two, from east to west, since the invasion of Turkey in July 1974. The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces occupy a demilitarized zone that keeps the Greek and Turkish military posts at a distance. However, the city develops in its Greco-Cypriot part by imposing its role as an international capital and political-economic centre of the island.
Kyrenia is a beautiful coast in the main resort in northern Cyprus. A picturesque harbour, a gothic abbey of peace built in the 12th century, is open to visitors' curious for an inviting break.
Kourion is a spectacular site with a paleochristian basilica and a classical Roman theatre. The visit of the house of the Gladiators makes it possible to discover mosaics whose colors are in an exceptional state of conservation.
This exotic cruise, between sea and mountains, will leave a magical memory enabling you to mix old stones, ancient history and local life.