Journey to the Chapel of Prophet Elias
It’s 7am, the air con is blasting and the hotel room is dark. I quickly shut my alarm off, get dressed and slather myself in sun cream. And lots of it. I grab my running belt, my cap and my bottle of water and head downstairs.
As soon as I leave the hotel, the heat hits me. It’s not even 7:30am and the temperatures are already mid-twenties. And yet here I am – heading out for a run.
Am I mad?
Maybe a little but you know what? Running on holiday isn’t a chore for me. I don’t do it because I’m scared I’ll lose fitness, or can’t have a break in my exercise regime. I do it because I find that getting out on a run helps me to clear my mind and gives me the chance to explore the area. To get slightly further afield than I would usually if just walking around.
When searching online before flying out to Cyprus I discovered this little chapel, and it was just around the corner from where we were staying. I’m not a religious person, and as a family we’ve never followed any sort of faith or regularly visited church. But y’know, there’s a pretty building with a bit of a history behind it and I was making that small journey to see it.
So the Prophet of Elias is one of the greatest and well-known prophets of the Old Testament, as the leaflet I picked up tells me. Many churches are dedicated to the Prophet Elias, and these are usually built on high peaks. As you can see, this one is too.
There is a tradition in which people will write their prayers on ribbons, and these are then tied onto trees outside the churches. This is connected to the Prophet Elias and his ascension, by which he carries people’s prayers to heaven. There are hundreds of ribbons left for you to look at and take pictures of, with a little shop at the bottom of the rock where you can buy your own. Most were simply just names and dates of loved ones.
The Chapel of Prophet Elias in Protaras was built at the top of a steep rock in 1984. It replaced an older and smaller chapel and acts as an attraction for locals and tourists. Especially so on the feast day of the Prophet Elias on the 20th June. On a clear day you can see as far as Famagusta.
When I visited it was quiet – most likely due to still being before 8am. Too early on a Sunday, right? I saw a couple of other people but they soon disappeared and it was just me and the quietness of morning time.
There’s just something about being up somewhere high on your own, seeing for miles and just being able to take in your own thoughts. I love alone time like this and it almost feels more special when you’re travelling. To see somewhere new, to see something that you might only ever get to see that once.
The chapel of Prophet Elias is easy to find from the main street as there is a little sign, and you can also just see it towering above everything else in the vicinity. There are some quite steep steps that lead up to the top, and it so it isn’t accessible for those who cannot do steps unfortunately. There is something to hold onto though as you do the climb.
Ever been? Ever set out on a little journey to find something new?