If you happen to be exploring the northside areas of the Troodos mountain foothills make sure to drive towards Nikitari village and visit Panagia tis Asinou church. The church of Panagia tis Asinou, also known as Panagia Forviotissa, is located 3km south of Nikitari village.
Since 1985 it has been added in the UNESCO World Heritage List, along with nine other churches in the Troodos range which also preserve some of the finest Byzantine wall paintings on the island, from the 11th to the 19th century.
The monastery was founded in 1099 and it functioned until the end of the 18th century, when it was abandoned. The edifice of the church was the main church of the Phorves monastery which according to the dedicatory inscription above its south entrance, dated 1105-1106, the church was built with the contribution of magistrate Nikiforos Ischirios, who later became a monk with the name Nikolaos.
The church consists of two parts: the vaulted single-aisle nave and the narthex, which was added in the second half of the 12th century. The interior of the church is covered with wall-paintings, which vary in date. The earliest frescoes dated to 1105-1106 reflect the art of Constantinople, which is thought to be the artist's birthplace. The strong influence of the capital is explained by the fact that the then emperor Alexios A’ Komninos (1081-1118) made Cyprus an important military base of the south-eastern Mediterranean due to the geopolitical conditions of the time. The narthex, after its construction in the second half of the 12th century, was decorated with frescoes and was refurbished in 1332 with intense Frankish influences. In the church there are also some later frescoes, dating to the 17th century.
Location: Troodos area (Nicosia district) - 3km from Nikitari village
Telephone: +357 99830329
Operating Hours: Monday - Saturday: 09:00 - 16:00
Sunday and Public Holidays: 11:00 - 16:00
Closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day
Entrance Fee: Free
Disabled Access: Wheelchair accessible
Website: Department of Antiquities
Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.