Archaeological Site of Amathus

Found few kilometers east of the bustling city of Limassol, the Archaeological Site of Amathus was once a thriving center of civilization. Not much remains of this once great city-kingdom, but what has managed to survive is certainly worth the attention.

Written historical sources place the establishment of the city of Amathus along with the creation of the other Cyprus’ city-kingdoms, founded in the 11th century BC. However, archaeological excavations have traced that the earlier human presence at the area was few centuries later, during the Neolithic era.  Although the city was repeatedly destroyed by the earthquakes of the 4th century AD and later on from the Arab invasions of the 7th century AD, it nevertheless managed to survive until the 12th century.

The city of Amathus was developed on two levels, the upper and the lower city.  On the top of the hill was located the Acropolis, consisting most significantly of the sanctuary of Aphrodite. It was built at the beginning of the Hellenistic Period and it was expanded and completed during the Roman era with the construction of a great temple for the worship of the goddess. Important remnants from the temple are the two colossal vases with four handles with a bull figure painted on each of them. Nowadays, one of them is located at Amathus Archaeological Site, while the second one was transferred to the Louvre museum, in Paris.

The lower part of the site occupy a relatively smaller area. Nevertheless, in the centre of the excavations is the Roman Agora. It comprises from the main market square, the public baths, arcades, decorated columns and other adjacent buildings, dating back to the Hellenistic period. The excavations have also revealed numerous statue fragments and impressive porticoes to the west and south.

The excavations have also brought to light other distinguished buildings and constructions. Adjacent to the sanctuary of Aphrodite was located the defensive stone-wall that surrounded the city. Additionally, what it is believed to be the Palace of the kings of Amathus is located below the hill’s summit, dating between the end of the 9th century and  the beginning of 8th century. Moreover, numerous basilicas were discovered. A magnificent project was also considered the port of Amathus that was built at the end of the 4th century BC (Hellenistic years) and its ruins are preserved today under the sea.

The Archaeological Site of Amathus makes without doubt an ideal destination for intriguing travel, giving glimpses into Cyprus’ past with its rich and complex ancient civilization.

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