Founded in 1159 by Cypriot writer and Saint, Neophytos, the Agios Neophytos Monastery is among Cyprus’ most striking religious buildings, carved into a mountain rock just north of Paphos. Today, the monastery is home to a small number of monks, but for visitors the main attraction is its museum, containing an array of religious manuscripts, garments and other artifacts, as well as an exhibit of Cypriot pottery and jewelry. In addition to the museum, wandering the grounds of the monastery, built at a height of 516 meters, offers spectacular views over Paphos, and is home to a striking array of Byzantine icons and well-preserved 16th-century frescoes.
Most fascinating are the rock-hewn grottos found above the monastic buildings, including the Engleistra, where the hermit Neophytos allegedly lived for over 45 years. The series of caves are renowned for their remarkable frescoes, which date from the 12th to the 15th centuries and include works by famed painter Theodoros Apsevdis, as well as some early paintings by Neophytos himself.