With paintings dating back to the twelfth century and rivalling those in Byzantine churches of the same period in Greece, the Panayia tou Araka Church is considered one of the most important churches in the Troodos area.
Located in between the picturesque villages of Lagoudera and Saranti, the church is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Cyprus and contains iconography by the artist Theodoros Apsevdis who is considered the most important Byzantine artist in Cyprus.
The paintings in the apse are done in a different style than the others found in the main area of the church and it is believed that they were painted by another artist before 1192.
The unique church was built during the second half of the twelfth century when monastic life was flourishing in Cyprus and was originally built as a monastery church. The church remained intact until the first decades of the nineteenth century and its remains include a two-storey monastery building to the north, along with the church.
The church is a single-aisled domed structure with a cross-shaped, steep-pitched roof that extends to form a latticed-woodwork portico. During the eighteenth century, the west wall was demolished and the church was extended.
The church is also at a close proximity to various nature trails and the Troodos Botanic Garden and Geopark.