According to a local tradition, one day a hunter who happened to be in the area, was greatly astonished when a hare, which was being chased by his dog suddenly disappeared. The dog kept up the hot pursuit and followed the hared to his refuge, which was none other than a cave. The hunter, guided by the dog's persistent and excited baking’s soon located the mouth of the cave. On entering, he gasped with surprise, because before his very eyes was the icon of Virgin Mary which was soon to become famous all over the island. It appears that during the persecutions of the Christians in the 8th and 9th century A.D. some Christians carefully selected this cave to serve as a hiding place for the Virgin Mary of Agia Napa, which was later shortened to Agia Napa. The inhabitants of the neighbouring villages, in honour of Virgin Mary, conducted liturgies in the cave itself. This location continued to be inhabited until the 15th century. Tradition has it that when this location became renowned and important as a holy shrine, it attracted the attention of a young, noble lady from Venice who then lived in famagusta. Her father had strictly forbidden her to marry the man she loved on the pretext that he was a commoner and so she left home and found refuge in Agia Napa. She soon had a church and some monastic cells built and in this way the monastery came into being. The present monastery was built around 1500 but inside the church there is a cave, which suggests it, may have been used as a place of worship in a much earlier period. During the latter part of the Venetian rule (1489-1570) the monastery became quite famous, acquired extensive wealth and even survived the persecutions by the Turks during the Ottoman rule.
From the very first moment, the visitor to Ayia Napa feels a sense of belonging, at home in this welcoming environment. Here, Cypriot hospitality is an accepted part of everyday life.