As opposed to the coastal towns of Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos, Nicosia is predominantly sought of for its cultural and historical sites, including a number of churches found in the capital’s old city centre.
One such such is the Archangel Michael Trypiotis Church is located in one of the back streets Nicosia’s old town, just off Onosagorou Street, one of the main shopping street in central Nicosia that runs from soon to be designed Eleftheria square to the historic Faneromeni School, the first all-
Built in 1695 during Ottoman rule by Archbishop Germanos II, this church is an excellent example of Franco-Byzantine architecture, with three naves and a dome that almost has the aspect of a square. There is an inscription to the east of the south entrance stating that the church was built at the expense of the priest Iakovos and its Christian parishioners.
The church was built with attractive, smoothed calcarenite stone that holds a rich interior; the church also contains an outstanding icon influenced by a fifteenth-century Italian painting. The iconostasis is unusually wide and there are several silver icons from the period of Ottoman rule.
It is said that the name of the church comes from the Greek word tripa which translate as opening. Legend has it that Archangel Michael had once saved a monastery and its inhabitants in a place called Colossae from pagans, who had diverted the flow of two nearby rivers in order to destroy the retreat. The Archangel struck the ground with his spear causing a crack to appear. All the water rushed into it and the monastery was saved.
The current church is a three-aisle, domed basilica built in a Franco-Byzantine style using worked stone. In a way it resembles a medieval fortress. Interior columns divide the space into three aisles. Scientists say that the church was built on the site of a monastery (1295), which used to be the residence of the archbishop of Cyprus until the 17th century. The main church had one nave and was dedicated to the Feast of the Transfiguration. In 1690 it was reconstructed and turned into a three-aisle church with an adjacent gallery. Remains of the previous version are still evident and include: a relief located near the southern entrance that features two lions with human heads, lintels, small gables and the renaissance-period coat of arms in the northern part of the church.
The walls of the church are still covered with frescoes that were created in 1741. They depict Archangel Michael Trypiotis blasting a crack with his spear.
Archangel Michael is considered to be a patron of aerial forces in Cyprus. The church celebrates Him and all the Heavenly Forces every year on November 8th.