Since I was a child I loved history and it was one of my favourite subjects in school. Naturally, I am more familiar with the history of my region’s which is the Middle East and East Mediterranean. And of course, I am more familiar with the history of Cyprus the Greek civilisation in general.
Unfortunately, Cyprus although is a popular destination, it is mainly visited because of the many well-known and beautiful beaches and the host weather. But there are so many others things to see and do on this beautiful island.
So, today I will be introducing the top 5 historical attractions on the island of Cyprus.
Choirokoitia is a Neolithic settlement dating back to the seventh millennia BC. It is one of the oldest settlements showing advanced civilisation and complex architectural facilities. For this reason, it is an important site for archaeologists and history lovers to discover and understand the evolution of humanity and civilisation in the Eastern Mediterranean area.
2. Archaeological Park of Paphos
Like Choirokoitia, Paphos is part of UNESCO World heritage. It perhaps consists of the most important archaeological sites in Cyprus. Paphos was the birthplace of Aphrodite and the centre of her cult. Inside the park, monuments are dating back to the fourth century BC and even to medieval times. Tourists can explore the ruins of Greek and Roman villas, the agora, an amphitheatre, a medieval basilica, and the necropolis “Tombs of the Kings.”
The most impressive attractions at the Archaeological park are the beautiful mosaics in the villas of Dionysus, Aion, Theseus, and Orpheus. They are some of the world’s best-preserved mosaics, showing mythological figures or other lifestyle scenes such as hunting and geometric decorations.
Also, the necropolis Tombs of the Kings feature Doric columns or frescoed walls. It is an incredible place to explore and discover the island’s culture and even art evolution.
The beautiful ruins of Kourion are in Episkopi, a town in the Limassol district. Similarly, with most of Cyprus’s ancient cities, Kourion has gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea. Today, most of the ruins decorating the area of Kourion date back to the Roman empire era.
Like other ancient cities, Kourion has an amphitheatre, an agora, a temple, Roman baths, a necropolis, a stadium, and a basilica. Visitors can also explore the houses of Achilles and the gladiators with beautiful mosaics. Unfortunately, many sites were entirely ruined by five major earthquakes in the past. Later, the theatre was reconstructed, and today visitors can enjoy concerts, festivals, and dramas.
4. Kolossi Castle
Kolossi castle was, in fact, a stronghold of the crusaders at the village with the same name in the district of Limassol. Because of Cyprus’ location, Kolossi played a large role during the crusaders’ expeditions. As an essential port and resources city, Kolossi contained facilities for the production of sugarcane, which at that time, it was the main exporting product of the island.
An interesting fact is, the Kolossi area is known for its sweet wine Commandaria which is the oldest wine label in the world. During Richard Leonhart’s wedding at Kolossi, he declared Commandaria “the wine of kings, and the king of wines.”
5. The city walls of Nicosia
The Francs first initiated the city’s fortification, yet the Venetians built the existing walls that adorn the capital. The walls of Nicosia are some of the best-preserved city walls in Europe. From above, the walls are shaped like a star and within them lays the old town of Nicosia.
The fortified walls have large gates leading to the other cities of the island. Today, the best preserved gate is the Famagusta Gate. The Venetians constructed it, and it led travellers from Nicosia to Famagusta and vice versa. The gate was renovated and currently functions as a cultural centre.
Thanks for reading and have a lovely day:)
If you wish to know more about Cyprus check out my eBook Top 7 Cyprus: travel like a local