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Sites and Monuments

Curium Ancient Theater
1. KOURION - CURIUM ANCIENT THEATER (Limassol District)
Kourion is one of the most stunning archaeological sites on the island. It was a great city kingdom and today new treasures are still being discovered there. What is most prominent in this site is the Greco – Roman amphitheatre. Villas with extravagant mosaic floors and an early Christian Basilica are among the treasures that are found here. The splendid amphitheatre was built in the 2nd century B.C. and since its restoration, is used for theatre and music performances. The house of Eustolios also found here, consists of a complex of baths and rooms which contain exquisite mosaic floors from the 5th century A.D. It was once a private Roman villa prior to becoming a recreation centre during the Early Christian period. The Early Christian Basilica also dates back to the 5th century and was most likely the Cathedral of Kourion which includes a baptistery on the north face. Wonderful mosaic floors are also found in the House of the Gladiators and the House of Achilles. Dedicated to the water Nymphs is another Roman monument- The Nymphaeum.
Petra tou Romiou Beach (Aphrodite's Birth Place)
2. PETRA TOU ROMIOU - BIRTH PLACE OF APHRODITE (Paphos District)
Enormous rocks constitute an intriguing geological formation on the south west coast in the Paphos district. It is one of the most impressive natural spots in the island. According to myth this is the place where Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, rose from the sea and was carried on a large shell at the rocks known today in Greek as “Petra tou Romiou”. The terminology for this name (Rock of the Greek) is derived from a legendery warrior, Digenis Akritas, who drove away the invading Saracens with his formidable strength. A testament to his strength is the legend that he hurled an enormous rock in to the sea, destroying the ships of the enemy.
Kolossi Medieval Castle
3. KOLOSSI MEDIEVAL CASTLE (Limassol District)
Situated on the South coast of Cyprus, west of Limassol city, the famous Kolossi Castle stands an imposing site. This Medieval fort is one of the most important on the island. Lying in the heart of a rich and fertile valley to the mouth of the river Kouris, the castle was often mentioned by sightseers of the Middle Ages. This was mainly due to its vast olive, cereal, sugar-cane and locust-tree plantations not to mention its vineyards. This was the crux of one of the most important feuds of the noble Franks during their sovereignty over Cyprus. In 1210 A.D. Hughes I, the sovereign of the de Lusignan’s dynasty, granted this rich property to the friars of the Order of Saint John. The area’s name is most likely derived from a former feudal lord of the province- Gerinus de Colos.
Tombs of the Kings & Archaeological Park at Kato Pafos
4. KATO PAPHOS ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK & TOMBS OF THE KINGS (Paphos District)
KATO PAPHOS ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK (MOSAICS): In 1980 UNESCO placed the Kato Paphos archaeological site on its World Heritage Sites list. This was a catalyst for the creation of a plan for the protection and maintenance of all archaeological remnants as well as promoting them and offering detailed information to visitors. The Kato Paphos Archaeological Park includes sites and monuments from the Roman period (most remnants in Cyprus date back to this period), the Middle Ages, and even prehistoric times. From all the finds, perhaps the most impressive is the fabulous mosaic floors of four Roman villas found here. There are other significant monuments here as well; the Asklipieion, the Agora, the Odeon, the ‘Tombs of the Kings’, the “Saranta Kolones” (Forty Columns) Fortress and the “Limeniotissa” Ruins of an early Christian Basilica.

TOMBS OF THE KINGS: The “Tombs of the Kings” are found in the necropolis of Paphos, close to the sea. They have inherited this title due to their size and grandeur. Some of these tombs likely belonged to the Pafian (of Paphos) aristocracy, and not of royalty. They are hewn from rock and date to the Hellenistic and early Roman periods. Several tombs imitate the houses where the departed lived while alive, with the rooms (now burial chambers) opening on to an atrium. They bear similarity with tombs found in Alexandria, which is indicative of the close relations the two cities had during the Hellenistic period.
Choirokoitia Neolithic Settlement (UNESCO)
5. CHOIROKOITIA NEOLITHIC SETTLEMENT (Larnaca District)
Part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List, this wonderful Neolithic settlement was discovered well preserved. The site depicts the Neolithic period in Cyprus, offering insight on the Neolithic culture in the area. This site contains 5 dwellings that have been reconstructed based on the Neolithic construction mould. In the reconstruction, the same methods of construction and materials were used together with the very objects found in the houses during the excavations for the furnishings. This was done to ensure a real and accurate impression of the village as it was then, all those years ago..
Paphos Harbour & Medieval Castle
6. KATO PAPHOS CASTLE & HARBOUR (Paphos District) Paphos Harbour & Medieval Castle
Paphos (Pafos) Castle was initially a Byzantine fort constructed to protect the harbour. In the 13th century the Lusignans rebuilt it only to be pulled down by the Venetians in 1570 during the Ottoman invasion. Then, the Ottomans rebuilt it again after they captured the island a short while after. The role of protecting the harbour was originally undertaken by the Saranta Kolones (Forty columns) fort, the remains of which lie several hundred yards away. Throughout its long history, the Pafos Castle was used not only for protection, but also as prison cells and a storage area for salt during the British colonial years. Pafos castle was declared an ancient monument in 1935 and is one of the most important landmarks in the Paphos region. Numerous cultural events take place in the square immediately in front of the castle. Every year during the month of September, the castle hosts the Pafos Aphrodite Festival which presents a different opera each year by world renowned artists with the castle featuring as a majestic backdrop to the event.
Temple of Apollo Hylates
7. APOLLO TEMPLE (Limassol District)
Located close to the ancient city of Kourion, the temple of Apollo Hylates was one of the main religious centres of Cyprus where the mythical god Apollo was worshipped as Hylates, that is, the god of the woodlands. This distinctive architectural complex sheds light concerning the development of a Cypriot rural sanctuary dating from to the Bronze Age through to the end of paganism in Cyprus. We can conclude that there were 3 distinctive building periods; the earliest is the Archaic Sanctuary during the 7th century B.C., the Ptolemaic Sanctuary during the 3rd century B.C. and the Roman Sanctuary during the 1st century A.D.
1.Famagusta Gate
8. FAMAGUSTA GATE (Nicosia District)
Famagusta Gate is the most important of the three gates of the Venetian Walls of Nicosia in the eastern part of the walls in Old Nicosia. Built in the the 16th century by the Venetians in order to defend the city against the Ottoman Turks. Originally named Porta Guiliani after Giulio Savorgnano, the designer of the walls. In 1980 the gate was restored and they use it now as a cultural center.
Nicosia UNESCO Churches with Frescoes
9. UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE - BYZANTINE PAINTED CHURCHES (Troodos Mountains)
The Troodos area is characterized by one of the largest groupings of Monasteries and Churches of the Byzantine Empire dating from the 11th to the 17th centuries. This complex of 10 monuments in Troodos, all richly decorated with murals and icons, is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List due to their important historical and artistic value. The artistry in this complex of Churches and Monasteries gives an overview of Byzantine and post-Byzantine painting in Cyprus. The smaller of the Churches are characterized by a rural architectural style which is in somewhat stark contrast to their extremely refined adornment.
Tzielefos Medieval Bridge
10. TZIELEFOS MEDIEVAL BRIDGE (Paphos District / Troodos Mountains)
Tzielefos Bridge is one of the medieval bridges positioned between the Elia and Roudia bridges. The path towards this particular bridge heads towards a dense pine forest, over Arminou dam, past Pera Vasa picnic site (where there is a huge dry tree trunk of the Pera Vasa pine exhibited), and continues through “Saouris” farm belonging to Kykkos monastery, past the Cave of Saouris, “Mita’s Pen” and near the vultures observation point.
Stavrovouni Monastery
11. STAVROVOUNI MONASTERY (Larnaca District)
Sitting on top of a mountain peak, Stavrovouni Monastery, dedicated to the Holy Cross, was founded in 330 A.D. by Saint Helen, the mother of St. Constantine the Great. She brought with her from her travels to the Holy Land a piece of the Holy Cross with which the Monastery derives its name. People can come to venerate it as it is enshrouded in a large silver Cross. From the Monastery, due to its position, one may view the surrounding area including Larnaca bay. The monastic brotherhood is exceptionally devout, keeping strict vows akin to those of Mount Athos in Greece. Women are not allowed in the Monastery; although one of the monks comes down some days to confess them. Men may visit the Monastery daily from dawn till dusk, except between the hours of 12 pm – 1.pm (3 pm in the summer). The Monastery of Agia Varvara (Saint Barbara) lies at the base of the mountain and the monks there have are renowned icon painters with their reputation for iconography held in high esteem all over Cyprus.
Ayia Napa Monastery
12. AGIA NAPA MONASTERY (Famagusta District)
The Monastery of Agia Napa lies in the village which bears the same name. No one knows exactly when the Monastery was built. The cave, the hiding place and the well, testifies to the presence of a Christian community there during the Byzantine years (11th century). The first part of the temple was built during the Frankish period (13th – 14th century), while the rest of the Monastery was completed in the 15th century. As the Monastery stands today it is widely accepted that is a construction of the 15th century, a time during which Cyprus was under the Venetian regime. The monastery is held as the most prominent landmark in the heart of Ayia Napa. It is accessible to everyone who desires to study it, or light a candle for a loved one, and is located in the central square, about 2km away from the harbour. Among some of the well-known visitors of the monastery was the Nobel Prize poet Giorgos Seferis, a Greek man, who was awestruck by the beauty he beheld when he visited it. He decided to dedicate a hymn to the Monastery, thus writing the poem “Ayia Napa B’ ”which can be found in his collection of poems titled “Emerologio Katastromatos C” (Logbook III.)
Venetian Walls
13.NICOSIA VENETIAN WALLS (Nicosia District)
The first walls surrounding Nicosia were built by the Franks in the 14th century and encircled a greater area than the Venetian walls built in the 16th century that still encircle the old town. When the Venetians had sovereignty of Cyprus, they pulled down the Frankish walls because they were out dated against new weapons as was artillery. Another reason for tearing down the walls was that they were too large to be manned by the Venetian army and too close to the hills. The Venetian walls were fortified by 11 heart shaped bastions forming a circle and encompassed by an 80 metre wide moat. The walls were made of mud, bricks, and with stone bolstering the lower part. The walls were repaired and the upper part covered with stone by the Ottomans when they occupied Nicosia.
Nicosia Old City
14.NICOSIA OLD CITY (Nicosia District)
With its 5000 yearlong history, walking is the ideal way to get a feel for the character, history and continual cultural development of Lefkosia (Nicosia). Despite its historical difficulties, Nicosia is still the heart of Cyprus. This can be seen through the ongoing efforts to revitalize the old city, especially through the Nicosia Master Plan, executed under the auspices of the United Nations. Walking through Laiki Geitonia, you will see some remarkable examples of traditional urban architecture, such as the Leventis Municipal Museum and small art workshops.
Old Town Architecture
15. LIMASSOL OLD TOWN (Limassol District)
The old town of Lemesos (Limassol) is the heart of the city with its narrow streets radiating out from the old fishing harbour. Explore the historical centre of Lemesos by walking through the old streets and discover its long history. Some of the main features are its monuments, unique architecture, traditional workshops, the old market and the traditional shops. The centre of this city is full of character and wrapped around the small castle, and which radiates out into a series of lanes where old houses and modern boutiques flank you on either side. It is an area bustling with cafes, bars and restaurants that are popular with both the locals and visitors. It is simultaneously a hub of modernity; this is Cyprus’ international business centre. The construction of the state-of-the-art marina running parallel to the old harbour is approaching its completion. For people looking for a holiday that takes in more than the usual sun and sea, Lemesos is at the very heart of one of the island’s richest areas for exploration. Staying here places you in easy striking distance to some of Cyprus’ best historical remnants, and the lush, green mountains of the Troodos region. Municipal Market: The atmosphere, the abundance of fruits and vegetables, the traditional merchants and the customers that arrive there from surrounding villages, all draw an exciting picture.
Limassol Castle
16. LIMASSOL MEDIEVAL CASTLE (Limassol District)
Limassol castle lies in the centre of the old city and above the old harbour. Based on local Cypriot tradition, Richard the Lion heart married Berengaria of Navarre and crowned her Queen of England right here in 1191. The fort has suffered damage throughout the years from the hands of many different invaders to the island, and from various destructive earthquakes. In 1590 the Ottomans rebuilt the castle as it stands today. The original fort was larger. The subsequent rebuild includes parts of the original fort, such as the two oblong halls of the ground floor. The basement contains cells which were used as a prison until 1950.
Larnaka Medieval Castle
17. LARNACA MEDIEVAL CASTLE (Larnaca District)
At the end of Athens Avenue, at the ending point of the Palm Tree Promenade and at the starting point of Makenzie Beach road, stands Larnaka Castle. It was built in the 12th century as the first fortification of the Byzantine Era. The first written testimony of the castle is in the 14th century when the chronographer Florius Boustronius dated it to the years of James I, the Luzignian King (1382-1398 A.D.) who built it to protect the harbour. During this period, the Genovese occupied the city of Famagusta. Subsequently, the Luzignians needed to develop another major port for their needs. Sources in the 18th century maintain that the castle was built by the Turks in 1625 A.D., despite the fact that there was a Turkish garrison stationed there since 1570 A.D. Until 1948, during the British colonial years, the English used the castle as a prison and for the execution of convicts.
Salt Lake & Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque
18. LARNACA SALT LAKE & HALA SULTAN TEKKE MOSQUE (Larnaca District)
Upon arriving at Larnaca International Airport, the first site of interest you will encounter is the Salt Lake of Larnaca. A magnificent nature place. The total surface area of the Larnaca Salt Lake is 2.2 Km² and it is considered one of the most important wetlands in Cyprus with an array of plants, birds and wildlife. It has a history as a natural habitat of sea life that can be traced as far back as 3 to 5 million years ago. Indeed, fossil life of this age can be found in the surrounding hills. During the prehistoric age the Salt Lake was a gulf. From 17th century B.C. onwards it was a natural port for the prehistoric town next to Hala Sultan Tekke, but was then abandoned by the inhabitants during the 11th century B.C. The natural port became destroyed roughly the same time as when the gulf was closed, and the central Salt Lake was thus formed. Excavations in the region reveal that this could have been one of the first natural ports that facilitated trade between Cyprus and the great civilizations of the area at the time when international seafaring exchanges was just commencing. One of the more important and costly exports of this prehistoric town and of the neighbouring town of Kition that was booming, was porphyry-red dies, made from the juices of murex-shells. These shells were abundant in the gulf and until now in the Larnaca bay, where you can see the water in the salt lake often having a reddish colour. As can be deduced by the lake’s name, salt was another valuable prehistoric product of the lake which was greatly exploited throughout the centuries until recently. Many historians dating back from Before Christ, reported on the great quality of the salt here and the large income it gave from exports.Hala Sultan Tekke: Dated around the 18th century, it is built over a tomb which according to tradition belongs to Umm Haram, foster-mother of the Prophet Mohammed.
Amathous Archaeological Site
19. AMATHOUS ANCIENT CITY (Limassol District)
Situated near the vicinity of Agios Tychon, the ruins of one of the biggest ancient kingdoms of the island lay here: Amathus, which was also a royal city. It derived its name from Amathusa, the mother of King Kinyras from Paphos. According to folktale, the city of Amathus was home to one of the sons of Heracles, who incidentally, was worshipped there. According to another folktale, the attractive daughter of Minos, Ariadne, fled from the labyrinth in Crete with Thesus, and was later abandoned in Amathus. It is said that she died there while giving birth and was buried in a sacred tomb. Undisputed historical evidence shows that the area was populated at least 3,000 years ago.
Cyprus  Villages
20. CYPRUS VILLAGES
Its beautifully unique natural environment is complemented by its traditional villages and architecture which lend it a special character and are always welcoming of visitors in the traditional warm and hospitable Cypriot way. Such an environment imbues a peaceful harmony between humans and nature, something which can be felt as soon as you have arrived in Cyprus and is one of the reasons visitors come here.
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