Explore Cyprus’ Best Archaeological Sites
In honour of World Heritage Day on April 18th, why not abandon poolside lounging for an afternoon of exciting exploration of Cyprus’ best archaeological sites? After all, many are only a short drive away from Columbia Beach Resort and possess a wealth of captivating history and culture. Grab a bottle of water, sun cream, a hat, and an adventurous spirit, and off you go!
One of the island’s most important city kingdoms in antiquity, Kourion (also speltCurium) stands proudly atop a prominent hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A villa complex displays impressive mosaics (currently undergoing conservation), and at the heart of the site sits the magnificent Greco-Roman amphitheatre, built in the 2nd century BC. Fully restored, the amphitheatre is now used as an awe-inspiring open-air performance space, welcoming both musical acts and theatre productions alike during the summer months. Not far off lies the sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, God of the Woodland, and protector of Kourion: worth the detour.
The archaeological park in Paphos has been a designated World Heritage Site since 1980. Meander through the expanse of the park overlooked by the town’s lighthouse, and embellished with wild growing flowers, and marvel at the ancient monuments, including the Roman mosaics (praised as being some of the best worldwide), the 2nd century Odeon, the Byzantine castle known as Saranta Kolones, and a Hellenistic amphitheatre, which often hosts cultural events.
Paphos and Limassol are both home to medieval forts: Paphos’ is situated at the harbour, whilst Limassol castle is nestled slightly further inland, and is surrounded by hip restaurants and bars. A real treat for those visiting in September is the Pafos Aphrodite Festival, which stages a different world-class opera every year at Paphos’ medieval castle: atmospheric and awe-inspiring.
Tombs of the Kings
Situated along Paphos’ famed Tombs of the Kings Avenue, the Tombs of the Kings archaeological site is a must-see for those visiting the seaside town. Dating from 300 BC, it is thought that the tombs –an expansive complex of sunken courts surrounded by Doric columns, and passages leading inward to offshoot rooms –were actually the final resting place of Ptolemaic aristocrats as opposed to kings.
Which is your favourite archaeological site or place of interest in Cyprus?
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Further details of Cyprus’ archaeological sites –along with opening times and entrance fees –can be found on the Cyprus Tourism Organisation’s website