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The Ancient Cypriot City Kingdom of Amathus

What remains of Amathus can be found on the outskirts of Limassol on the fringes of the city's hotel district at Ayios Tychonas. Legend has it that Amathus, one of the most ancient of the Cypriot City Kingdoms was settled by one of the sons of Heracles, the Greek demi-god who was worshipped in this city.

Ancient Amathus

Amathus is steeped in legend

Other legends still, state that Ariadne, the beautiful daughter of Minos who fled from Labyrinth in Crete with Theseus was later abandoned here in a state of advanced pregnancy, to die later during the birth of her child.
She is said to be buried at Aridela, a small grove named in her honour.

The city itself took its name from Amathusa, the mother of King Kinyras from Paphos, and historical evidence shows that the area was populated at least 3,000 years ago.
Amathus has amazing sea views, as it was built on the coastal cliffs to the east of Limassol.
It flourished and became, even during the early years of its settlement, a very rich kingdom.

During the Post Phoenician Era (800 B.C.) a port was constructed there also, which then served the trade with the Levantines and the Greeks. Excavations have discovered the Temple of Aphrodite, which was built high on the cliffs, dates approximately to the first century B.C. and would have been a special worship site to Aphrodite, the goddess of Beauty and Love.
According to legends, Amathus was where Adonia took place, in which athletes during sport competitions hunted wild boars, and also competed in singing and dancing to the honour of Adonis.

Amathus and King Richard

It was a rich and densely populated kingdom with a flourishing agriculture and had mines situated very close to the northeast of Kalavasos.
During the Roman Era, it became the capital of one out of the four (4) administrative regions and continued to flourish until the Byzantine Period. But, by the time by Richard the Lionheart arrived in Cyprus, Amathus had gone into decline and its rich tombs plundered. The stones from the beautiful edifices were taken to Limassol and used for new constructions. Then much later, in 1869, a vast amount of stone blocks from Amathus were used for the construction of the Suez Canal.

Cypriot and French archaeologists started archaeological excavations at the site in 1980 and continue until the present day. The Acropolis, Aphrodite’s Temple, the city’s walls, market, Basicila and the port have all been excavated.
Many wonderful archaeological treasures have been found and are now being shown at the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia as well as at the Limassol District Archaeological Museum.

The biggest treasure of Amathus is being shown at Paris in the Louvre Museum. It is made from a single big limestone, is 1.85 m. high, weighs 14 tons and has four curved handles decorated with the head of a bull. Dating to the 6th century B.C, it was used for storing the must from the grapes, which after fermentation becomes wine.

Amathus was destroyed by King Richard the Lionheart in 1191 A.D.

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The City of Kourion

Perched high on the seaside cliffs at the other end of Limassol can be found Kourion which, like Amathus, was another of Cyprus' ancient city kingdoms. This thriving centre of population which controlled most of the neighbouring Kouris valley and the surrounding countryside, was utterly destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake in 365 A.D.

Living in Cyprus

Whilst it may be true that no one place can ever claim to be perfect in every respect, living in Cyprus certainly comes close. From the sometimes stark beauty of Aphrodite's isle to its easygoing pace of life, not to mention the many beautiful properties for sale in Cyprus, this charming Mediterranean island is full of attractions. Take the weather in Cyprus for instance. An average of 326 days of sunshing smile down upon its shores each and every year, making this one of the sunniest places in Europe.

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