Thursday, May 21, 2009

Limassol archaeology

Welcome to Amathus, an ancient city-kingdom of Cyprus dating from the 9th century BC - one of the "must see" points on Aphrodite's cultural compass.  At this site lies the ruins of a temple of Aphrodite, the ancient agora (or market), remains of a port and the ruins of a Byzantine basilica.  Amathus was destroyed by Richard the Lionheart around 1191.  Behind me (above) lies the remains of domestic houses and old roads (Clancy - this is where I found your pottery shards).  One of Amathus's best features was that we could actually explore the entire site, clambering over old walls, sitting on stone steps and adventuring though semi-covered passageways, a freedom I've found quite rare at sites such as these (all though I do admit, being fenced off is better for the conservation of these places). 

Below, the remains of the market place with its wide streets:

A stone mosaic set into the floor of the baths:

Climbing for 15 minutes to the top of the hill reveals this jewel, the remains of Aphrodite's temple (there is no signage directing you up here - it was quite by chance we met a groundsperson telling us where to go):

and this, an almost complete urn (?), massive in size, keeping watch over the harbour.  No idea how this managed to survive all these centuries...

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