Located on Cape Gata, 15km west of Lemesos (Limassol) and south-east of Akrotiri Salt Lake, the monastery of Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton (St. Nicholas of the Cats) is possibly the oldest monastery in Cyprus. The monastery chapel dates back to the 14th century and was abandoned in the 16th century. It was reinstated by Orthodox nuns in 1983.
According to tradition, the monastery was founded by St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, who left a piece of wood from the Holy Cross at the site. During that period, Cyprus experienced a severe drought, forcing many people to flee the cape and the area became infested by snakes.
Constantine the Great sent a commander called Kalokeros to Cyprus to release thousands of cats in order to rid the area of the snakes, and thus the cape was saved and came to be known as Cape Gata (Cape Cat).
Whilst the monastery has just a handful of nuns now, there are many cats, which are said to be the descendants of those who rid the area of snakes.
Address: Cape Gata, 15km west of Lemesos.
Contact No: Tel: +357 25 952 621
Operating Hours: Daily: 07:00 – 12:00 / 14:00 – 17:00
Operating Period: All year round.
Entrance Fee: Free
Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.
Courtesy of the CTO