Ten excursions to historic sites

kalavasos Tenta

There’s no need to spend the weekend at home. Pick one of the wonderful and extremely interesting destinations, get the group together, and have fun while discovering the beauty of our country.


#1 The Kalavasos Tenta

The Department of Antiquities first started doing fieldwork in the area in 1947 when small-scale excavations took place. Several years later, in 1976, a foreign archaeological expedition commenced work on the site with excavations lasting up to 1984. Archaeologists brought to light a small establishment from the Aceramic Neolithic period, built nearby Vasilkos River. Findings date back to 7500 – 5500 B.C. It seems that the area was abandoned peacefully for reasons that remain unknown to us, while archaeologists claim that the Kalavasos Settlement

was established earlier than the well-known settlement of Choirokoitia. Following the completion of the first excavation in 1980, the Tenta, nowadays a reference point for the surrounding area, was initially placed on the site to protect the archaeological findings. Visit the site to discover its hidden treasures!

#2 The ancient city of Amathus

The ancient Kingdom of Amathus is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites on the island of Cyprus. For this reason, the area it covers was expropriated about thirty years ago. According to the legend, Hercules’ son Amathos founded the city which takes its name either from Amathos himself or from the nymph Amathusa, mother of Kyrinas, King of Pafos. Amathus is also where Theseus brought, Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, when she escaped the labyrinth. Ariadne who gave birth in Amathus, also died and was buried there. A well-known yet unexplored site, with so much interesting information to learn about! Definitely worth a visit.

#3 Kolossi Medieval Castle

The caste, built on the South end of Kolossi village, is located about 11km West of Limassol and is one of the most important surviving medieval fortifications on the island. It was originally built in 1210 by the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (Hospitallers) and served as the headquarters of the military high command of the island. In 1306 it was taken by the Knights Templar, who supported the usurper of the throne of Cyprus, Amalrichos of Tyre. It is a commanding square structure, built on three levels and overlooking the surrounding fertile lands. It could well be one of the settings for the Game of Thrones!

#4 Archaeological site of Kato Paphos “Nea Paphos”

This archaeological site found near the Paphos port dates back to the 4th century B.C. This once thriving capital of the island hosted an impressive ancient theatre, famed ancient roman villas – including the House of Dionysus, the House of Orpheus, and the House of Theseus –, the remains of an ancient agora and the Byzantine fort Saranta Kolones which consists of 40 buildings. An impressive granite block, Saranta Kolones was built in the 7th century A.D.

#5 Chroirokoitia

Chirokoitita is the best preserved pre-historic settlement in Cyprus, dating back to the later stage of the Aceramic Neolithic period (ca. 7000 A.D). It has been in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998. It is believed that the name Chirokoitia possibly comes from the ancient Greek word “χειρογητιά/chirogitia”, translating as chiromancy. Only a visit will allow you to discover how interesting this site truly is!

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#6 Paphos Castle

Paphos Castle was originally a Byzantine fort, built to protect the port. It was rebuilt in the 13th century by the Lusignans, demolished by the Venetians during the 1570 Ottoman invasions and later rebuilt yet again by the Ottomans after they concurred the island. Initially, “Saranta Kolones” fort, whose ruins are only a few hundred meters away, was responsible for the protection of the port. In its long history, the Paphos Castle was not only used to protect the area but also as prison facilities and as a salt storage unit during the times of the British rule on the island. In 1935, it was declared an ancient monument and is now considered to be one of the emblems of the Paphos region. It is definitely worth a visit!

#7 Church of St. Lazarus

The beautiful stone church of St. Lazarus is found on St. Lazarus square in the city centre of Larnaka city and is one of the most remarkable samples of Byzantine architecture in Cyprus. The church was built over the tomb of the Saint. It was commissioned by the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI in the 9th century and was renovated in the 17th century.

Despite the fact that its three domes and the original belfry of the church were destroyed during the first years of Ottoman rule on the island, the gold-gilded Templar of the temple survives to this day and constitutes an excellent sample of baroque woodcarving.

#8 Kourion Archaeological Site

In antiquity, Kourion was an important city-state. It is located in one of the most impressive archaeological areas in Cyprus. The ancient theatre of Kourion, located in the south-edge of the steep hill on which the city was built, is of great importance. It was built around the end of the 2nd century B.C, but did not achieve the dimensions we can still see today until the 2nd century A.D. No need to wait for the next event to take place there to visit the site as it is open to the public year-round!

#9 Palaipaphos

The Palaipaphos archaeological site is found in the village of Kouklia. Palaipafos was one of the most important cities-kingdoms in Cyprus as well as the first site in Cyprus to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980. There are two theories concerning the establishment of Palaipaphos. According to the first one, Agapenor, King of Tegea in Peloponesous, established the city-kingdom on his way back home form the Trojan war. The second story goes that the local legendary king Kinyras (12th century) was the founder and first high priest of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, one of the most important monuments in the area, as well as the best-known sanctuary of the ancient Goddess. We will never know which story is closer to the truth, but we can visit the site and explore its beauty!

#10 Tombs of the Kings

The famed Tombs of the Kings are part of the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, which is one of the most important archaeological sites in Cyprus and has been in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1980. The monumental underground tombs are curved out of solid rock and date back to the Hellenistic and Roman Periods. It was not kings, but rather high-ranking officials and aristocrats who were buried there. Nonetheless, the size and grandeur of the tombs, some of which are adorned with Doric columns, have given the site its grandiose name. A truly beautiful site – unique and imposing!

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