Sunday, December 07, 2003

Cyprus – Limassol region

After the beautiful surprise of the Troodos Mountains in the centre of the Cypriot side of Cyprus (more on that complicated subject later), it was time for a drive westwards, towards Paphos (Πάφος), via Lemesos (Λεμεσός). 

Our first stop? The Kolossi Castle (Κάστρο του Κολοσσιού)! Built in the early 12th century by the Franks, it was occupied by the Knights Hospitaliers as well as the Templars. All in all, a very proper crusader castle! We wandered around a bit and explored its halls. Funny, though, how seeing crusader fortresses is becoming part of our normal existence in this part of the world?

From there, we went to the Kourion (Κούριο) archaeological site. Now, technically, this belongs to the Paphos region, but if you look at a map, you'd be forgiven to think it belongs in the Limassol region (as I originally did). So, let's just say, for the sake of this post, that it's in the Limassol area, ok?

Anyhow, Kourion are these amazing ruins, sitting high on a promontory with views of the sea, and this spot has seen some sort of civilization for the last 7000 thousand years. How's that for antiquity? With such a long history, this site has seen basically every major power in the area. Too numerous to list. But such a rich history means not just beautiful natural views... 

... but an impressive amphitheatre from the 2nd century BCE. You can imagine my habibi, being a playwright, was ecstatic. And the place is still used for cultural events! Can you imagine?  

... a Christian basilica from the 5th century! True, little is left of it. But just enough. 

... the Complex of Eustolios, from around the 4th century, a huge bathing complex with rooms and mosaics.

... and the temple of Apollo, from about 800 BCE (!!!). Can you imagine a pilgrimage to this sanctuary on this island? 

The site is rather big. So it's no wonder I also ended up with this photo of I don't know what. It's so complicated! So many cultures over such an unimaginable period of time!

We had to reach Paphos for the night. But we had time for one final stop, to marvel at the views of the sea below, on the road to Paphos...

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