Profitis Ilias, Protaras

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Protaras, located on the south-eastern coast of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is one of the most popular tourist beach resorts in Cyprus, and in the Mediterranean. The warm blue waters, beautiful sandy beaches, fun, relaxed lifestyle, wonderful food and lovely people make Protaras the wonderful destination that it is. The nature of this part of the island attracts people from all over the world. I love how the rocky clay cliffs abruptly fall into the sea. The varying shades of sea blue seem almost lagoon like in places. And the richly scented Cypress trees and Phonecian Juniper trees, surrounded by boldy colourful bougainvillea, hibiscus flowers, olive trees and, of course, palm trees sit against the back drop of the bright blue (almost always) cloudless sky. I have been fortunate to travel the world, and whilst the Caribbean is well known for its crystal blue waters and white sand beaches, the Mediterranean coast lines always feel so comforting, peaceful and beautiful to me. I really enjoy the kind of landscape where a green mountain side falls into beautifully blue water, surrounded by smooth sandy beaches, bordered with chunky rocky terrain.

Profitis Ilias is a landmark. This tiny church built for Saint, or Prophet (Profitis), Ilias (Elias) sits atop a rocky mound. It is easily visible around the town of Protaras, especially at night when it is illuminated in a warm orangey-yellow light.. actually it looks more like a spiritual “glow” 🙂 … that must be what they’re going for 😉

Getting to the top of the rocky hill is not easy, especially in the summer months. Those of you familiar with my previous posts, or indeed with Cyprus, will know that the summer months are usually searingly hot. Your time is best spent on the beach! My recent visit at the start of December allowed me to comfortably cycle to the foot of the hill, buy myself a bottle of water from the local kiosk and climb to the top of the hill. There is a staircase built onto the rock, but the stairs are quite steep in places. I counted approximately 150 steps one way… so that’s 300 in total!

Once you reach the top, take the time to walk around the grounds (and catch your breath). Admire the small but beautiful herb garden and take in the breathtaking scenery. From the top you will see the whole of the Protaras area and beyond. On a good day you will be able to see right into Famagusta, a current “No Go” area for Greek Cypriots 😦 Having such a clear view of the occupied parts of Cyprus, is difficult. It evokes a lot of emotions, feelings, memories. Perhaps I’ll find the courage to write about that whole other topic another time.

The summer can often be a little hazy because of the humidity, so you may not get the best views of Famagusta during the summer. This time, I was up by the church on my own. Absolute peace and quiet, which was marvellous, and much appreciated!

Climbing back down to the bottom of the hill, I walked through the small and well manicured gardens. It seems that the area is available for marriage ceremonies, as I found an altar under a sheltered wooden gazebo with white silk ribbons blowing around in the breeze. I think you would be lucky to marry in such a pretty spot!

Please enjoy the photos. 😀

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