Discover The Ancient History of Cyprus

While Cyprus is associated with Mediterranean sun and banking crises in the minds of most travelers, the truth is that Cyprus has a long and varied history, making it the perfect destination for anyone who is fascinated by archaeology and ancient monuments. In fact, evidence exists of Neolithic communities on the south coast of Cyprus around Aetokremnos dating to 10,000 B.C., making Cyprus home to some of the world’s earliest examples of human civilization.

Visitors looking to understand the history of Cyprus could do no better than to start with Khirokitia, a Neolithic village dating to about 6800 B.C. that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Consisting of a set of well-preserved round stone structures that served as home to between 300 and 600 inhabitants, Khirokitia shows signs of a well-developed society engaged in hunting and farming. The site is open to visitors year-round, and makes an excellent introduction to the history of Cyprus. If you are planning to travel to Cyprus, you can find Cyprus Airways best deals on http://www.fly.co.uk.

Ruins in Cyprus

Cyprus has been shaped by many Mediterranean cultures, including settlement by the Mycenaeans starting in about 1400 B.C. Subsequent waves of Greek settlers, following the collapse of the Mycenaean culture, established much of the Greek character of the island. Indeed Cyprus occupies an important place in Greek mythology, being the birthplace of both Aphrodite and Adonis. There are numerous Greek sites in Cyprus, with perhaps the best-known being Kourion. Founded in the 13th century B.C., Kourion includes a number of Greek and Roman monuments, including an ancient stadium, a theater, a bath house, and spectacular mosaic floors.

Another impressive site that is open to visitors is the ancient town of Palaipafos, located near the modern town of Palos. This site, originally a walled city, contains many significant monuments, including the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, which was mentioned by Homer among others, a Roman house with extraordinary mosaics dating to the second century A.D., and the palace of Hadji Abdulla, the residence of the Persian governor in the fifth century B.C.

Following the division of the Roman Empire, Cyprus came under the influence of Byzantium and, following an Arabic invasion in 650, was subject to joint Arabic and Byzantine rule for 300 years before reverting to Byzantine control. There are a large number of Byzantine churches that date to this time, many of which are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Monuments.

In 1191 A.D., Cyprus fell to Richard the Lionheart, and then quickly fell under Frankish rule. Again, many impressive buildings date to this period, including Kolossi Castle, a Crusader stronghold, and the Royal Manor House in Kouklia. 

Cyprus

Subsequent Venetian, Ottoman and British rule all placed their stamp on Cyprus, creating a rich tapestry of interwoven cultures and architectures, each with its own particular beauty and merits. Today, Cyprus is a microcosm of the progress of human history around the Mediterranean and beyond, giving travelers the opportunity to experience huge diversity in a contained geographic area.

 

 

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