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Kourion - One of the ten Ancient City Kingdoms of Cyprus

Destroyed in a cataclysmic eathquake in 365 A.D. the ancient city kingdom of Kourion is located above the Kouris river near Limassol in the island's west.
Archaelogical evidence and historical sources prove that Kourion is one of the most important ancient kingdoms of Cyprus.
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The ancient city of Kourion

Kourion and the City Kingdoms

It is thought that a total of twelve kingdoms (Amathous, Chytroi, Idalion, Kition, Lapithos Ledres, Marion, Paphos, Salamis, Soloi, Tamassos, and Kourion) existed in ancient Cyprus, each having the role of an administrative centre.

Kourion was associated by legend with Argos of Peloponnese, and the Kouriois believed that they were descendents of Argean immigrants who founded the city. The large temple within the city was probably dedicated to the goddess Hera, who was worshipped in Argos.
Some jewellery, found inside the royal tomb, may be a revival of the old Mycenean art.
Built on the hills that dominate the area, Kouiron overlooked and controlled the fertile valley of the river with the same name, called Kouris today.
At the site, the continuing excavations have brought to light many important remains, mostly of the Hellenistic, Roman and later years.

The extremely large and important, monumental built tomb which, most probably, belonged to king Stasanor and his family was excavated in the large necropolis of Kourion in 1990-1991. It was probably built at the end of the Cypro-Archaic Period, (between 500 and 475 BC) and continued with three burials during the Cypro-Classical Period.

Kourion and its Antiquities

An amazing quality and quantity of movable ancient objects and treasure was gathered, during the previous century (1873), by Luiggi Palma di Cesnola the notorious smuggler of antiquities. Some golden pieces from jewellery have been identified as being similar to valuable jewellery known as the treasure of Kourion in the Metropolitan Museum of New York gives an impression of the great prosperity of this city.

So far at the site, the remains excavated comprise of the monuments of the Theatre, the Early Christian basilica, the Nymphaeum, the Fountain House, the Forum, the House of the Achilles, the House of the Gladiators, the House of Eustolios, and the Public Baths of the Town.
According to Herodotos, who lived at the beginning of the 5th century BC., the two known kings of Kourion were Damasos, who lived in the beginning of the 7th century BC, the other being Stasanor or Stisinor. There have been no coins found or evidence of other kings of the city in literary sources or on inscriptions.

It is noted that some researchers believe that the last king of Kourion was Pasikratis, ( others believe he was only a prince) a contemporary of Alexander the Great, for whom he had helped in the siege and subsequent conquering of Tyre.

The 'Earthquake House' at Kourion

Although it was of little interest to mainstream archaeologists, who were more interested in treasures and temples at the time of its discovery in , the 'Earthquake House' has provided a unique insight into life on the island in the late fourth century.

Set on the hillside somewhat along from the Kourion amphitheatre, the villa is believed to have been constructed during the early part of the second century A.D, renovated and extended at some point during the fourth century and completely destroyed by the cataclysmic earthquake of 365 A.D.

Findings at the house included a number of farm animals, including a donkey, countless everyday tools and utensils and the bodies of the building's inhabitants. These discoveries have allowed archaeologists to build a rather clear picture of life at Kourion at the moment of its destruction.

The ruins at Kourion are a 'must see' for anyone interested in Cypriot history

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The City of Amathus

Archaeological discoveries at the site of Amathus, another of Cyprus' ancient city kingdoms, suggest that the area was inhabited as early as 1,000 B.C.
The city state continued to flourish for many centuries before falling into decline and finally being destroyed by King Richard the First of England on his way to the crsades in 1191 A.D.

Kolossi Castle

Constructed in the Kouris valley a few miles from Kourion during the thirteenth century, Kolossi Castle is one of the most important fortifications in Cyprus at the time.
Occupied by the knights of St. John after the fall of Acre at the end of the thirteenth century, the castle changed hands a number of times in subsequent years.

Homes in the Limassol Area

The city of Limassol, located at the site of a far older settlement, was founded by Richard the Lionheart after his destruction of Amathus in 1191 A.D and has thrived ever since.
Today, it is the commercial heartland of Cyprus and home to some 160,000 residents. The proximity of the sovereign base at Akrotiri, the many local facilities and the city's central location which is roughly equidistant between Larnaca, Nicosia and Paphos have made properties in Limassol a bit of a favourite with some British home buyers.

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