In the northwest wing of the palace is the Archbishop Makarios III Cultural Centre, which, apart from a library and a church music school, houses the impressive Byzantine Museum and Art Gallery. This contains the largest collection of icons in Cyprus (the second largest in the world), and includes, in a separate annexe, the famous Kanakaria Mosaics, infamously stolen from the church of Panagia Kanakaria in north Cyprus in the late 1970s. Vividly coloured, if a little rough in the execution, the occasional sense of distorted perspective is explained by the fact that originally they were mounted on the curved apse of the church, whereas here they are mounted flat. Elsewhere in the museum are 150 icons and numerous frescoes from all over Cyprus and beyond.
Within the Archbishop’s Palace precinct is the church of Agios Ioannis, which doubles as the city’s cathedral. In its scale and simplicity it seems to put to shame the extravagant architecture of the palace itself. Built in 1662 on the site of a previous Lusignan Benedictine abbey, it wasn’t actually promoted to cathedral status until 1720. The interior is as splendid as its exterior is modest, boasting an original set of frescoes (including one of the finding of St Barnanas’s tomb in Salamis), a carved and gold-leaf adorned iconostasis and four large icons, all dating from the eighteenth century. The cathedral contains the throne on which the archbishop is crowned, together with seating for the president and the Greek ambassador to be used on state occasions.