"Apostolos Varnavas" Salamis Necropolis by leics

Salamis Necropolis Travel Guide: 1 reviews and 12 photos

I didn't get the chance to visit the ancient necropolis of Salamis, where several tombs are open to the public and there is a small museum.

But 500m up the road from the tomb site lies the monastery of St Barnabas.

St Barnabas was born in Salamis, the son of a Jewish family. He was educated in Jerusalem and, in 45AD, returned to Cyprus to work with St Paul. He was killed, and his body later reburied with his St Mathew's gospel under a carob tree near Salamis. For hundreds of years the burial site was forgotten but was finally revealed to bishop Anthemios in a dream. The grave was excavated, and the presence of the St Mathew's gospel was taken as proof that this was the grave of St Barnabas.

The first monastery on the burial site was built in 477AD, but what you now see dates from the mid 1700s.

In 1974 only 3 monks were left on site but they moved to the south in 1976, due to old age.

The monastery was neither destroyed or vandalised, and during the 1990s restoration work began. It now serves as an archaeological museum for finds from the Salamis necropolis, whilst the church itself displays many icons (although none are particularly old or of special artistic merit).

The archaeological museum is housed in what were once the cloisters, and really is worth visiting. It's well organised (although slightly out of chronological order) and well-labelled, with some fascinating objects. It's a calm, cool place to spend a while ponderring the past.

I've put other exhibit photos in the travelogue, but I was very taken with these wild boar rattles which look to me remarkably like what we in the UK call 'piggy-banks'. :-)

The tomb of St Barnabas lies just outside the monastery itself, in a catacomb system. Another catacomb system lies excavated (fairly recently, I think) along the path......I suspect the whole area is riddled with such tombs, which long predate Christianity.

The tomb is covered by a small chapel, and steps lead down into the small burial area (room for only 6 bodies). That supposedly of St Barnabas is full of candles, votive offerings and flowers........since the border opened in 2003 pilgrims visit regularly.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Excellent small museum and site
  • Cons:Difficult to access without a car
  • In a nutshell:Monastery, museum and ancient necropolis.
  • Last visit to Salamis Necropolis: Dec 2009
  • Intro Updated Feb 26, 2011
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