Bellapais Monastery

Bellapais Monastery

Bellapais Monastery also known is Peace Monastery derives its name from French "Abbaye de la Paix" meaning monastery of peace. The Monastery which is a beautiful sample of Gothic art is situated in the skirts of Five finger Mountains (Kyrenia) range. Bellapais Monastery Village is built around this beautiful abbey in the town of Kyrenia.

Bellapais Monastery History:

The first settlers of Bellapais Monastery were priests who had migrated from Jerusalem due to the capture of the latter by Sellahuddin Eyyubi during the Crusades. The first building was constructed between 1198 A.D. and 1205 A.D. Later French King Hugh the third between 1267 A.D. and 1284 A.D. gave it the prsent shape that exists today. The pavilions around the courtyard and the refectory were constructed during the reign of King Hugh the fourth between 1324 A.D. and 1359 A.D.The Italian frescoes on the front walls were made in the 15th century. When the island was captured by the Ottomans, the building was given to the Greek Orthodox church who built the 13th century abbey church present today.

Bellapais Monastery Today:

Much of the Bellapais Monastery now consists of picturesque ruins with great Gothic arches and towering stone walls. There are two marble tombs in the courtyard of the Monastery. The insignia of the Jerusalem, Lusignan, and Cyprus Kingdoms are fixed on the door behind the tombs. The rooms to the east of the courtyard in the middle belonged to the priests. The dormitories of the priests and the chamber of accounts are on the upper floor. The refectory of the monastery is an excellent example of Gothic Art. Nowadays Bellapais Music Festival which runs in the month of May is held in the magnificent Bellapais Abbey Refectory Hall, which has excellent acoustics. Because of its history and setting The Bellapais Music Festival attracts international ensembles and soloists to perform and the tickets to the festival run out fast.

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