Bellapais Abbey stands on a small square with trees, lawns, flowerbeds and park benches. Having bought tickets, you can walk through the entrance gateway whose ruins indicate that it was once heavily fortified. Nearby is the enviably sited Kybele Restaurant, which occupies the abbey’s kitchen court, and a set of steps to the abbey’s lofty medieval tower, topped by the vivid red and white of the Turkish and TRNC flags; despite signs warning that it’s not safe to climb, the tower is far too seductive a photo opportunity for most visitors. Beyond here a tree-shaded courtyard leads to the church, the most complete part of the monastery. Unlike Western monasteries it is flat roofed, with a rather dark, gloomy interior. To the north of the church are the cloisters, the most atmospheric part of the abbey, three sides of which are in reasonable condition, but the fourth (western) side is ruined. The four rather large poplar trees in the quadrangle, planted in 1940, are home to a loud colony of sparrows. To the north of the cloisters, with access through a superb doorway with dog-tooth edges and three Lusignan coats of arms, is the refectory. Some 30m long, 10m wide and 12m high, it is covered by a single-span stone vaulted roof, an architectural triumph considering that it stands right at the edge of a cliff. At the far end (the end with the small rose window) stood the Abbot’s high table, with, along the length of the north and south walls, the long tables of the ordinary monks. On the north wall is a small pulpit from where scriptures would be read to the diners silently munching below. Outside the refectory is a fountain where the monks would wash their hands before eating. If you look carefully you can make out the Roman sarcophagus into which it has been incorporated

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