The Ancient Amathus ruins are one of Cyprus’s proudest examples of a long history. Once a royal town, these are the well-preserved remains of an ancient city. Research has shown that the Ancient Amathus site has shown signs of habitation from around 1000 BC. As a leisurely day trip from Limassol, this is one of the most popular destinations just outside the city.
Transport links are aplenty so getting to the site is relatively easy. And once you arrive at the attraction, there is so much history that little else in Cyprus can match the wonder of Ancient Amathus.
The History of Ancient Amathus
Amathus is the name given to the archaeological site and the name of the city that once proudly stood there. However, much of what this ancient city was is shrouded in mystery. Nobody knows for sure when the place was first settled, but what scholars do know is that it has been inhabited since at least 1050 BC.
The Eteo-Cyprians are thought to have been the first to settle here, but many civilisations called the ancient city home over the years. As is symbolic of Cyprus’s mixed heritage, the Greeks, the Persians, and the Phoenicians have all come here, as the island has changed hands countless times over the millennia.
So when was this city abandoned?
Ancient Amathus was eventually abandoned in the late seventh century, but the ruins were never cleared. Today, these are some of the most amazingly preserved ruins in Europe. The site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Cult of Love
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love. During the first couple of centuries after the death of Christ, worship of individual gods of the Pantheon was common. Cyprus was no exception. You can see examples of this in the ruins today.
One of the biggest sites to see is the Roman temple of Aphrodite. The temple dates from the first century AD, and it has an acropolis. Across the rest of the site, you will find tombs, an agora, and public baths. The oldest building still standing on the site is the Palace of Amathus, which was originally built in the eighth century BC.
This is a place to visit for everyone, from history buffs to those just looking to take some amazing photographs. It’s one of the few major archaeological sites that isn’t busy with tourists. As such, it is incredibly easy to enjoy a trip to Ancient Amathus and marvel at the amazing historical site.
The Modern Face of Ancient Amathus
So what has happened to Ancient Amathus in recent times?
In short, the ruins disappeared until the nineteenth century, at which time the fragments of walls were re-discovered, and archaeologists excavated a large stone cistern. You can still find the vessel in the Louvre in Paris today. Other excavations have seen prizes sent around the world, including to other museums in Cyprus and Britain.
Today, almost the entire ancient city has been excavated, with the port, walls, basilica, and market all there to be seen and admired. It is almost as if the whole ancient city has come to life all over again!
How Do You Get to Amathus?
Ancient Amathus is open throughout the year, with slightly reduced opening hours during the winter months.
The actual ruins are closer to Limassol than you think, at a mere six miles outside the city to the east. You can hail a taxi and get there for around 10 Euros. Prices may be higher during the summer months, but for a day trip, this is an affordable price.
Alternatively, why not hire bicycles and make your way there by following the coastal path? With Amathus so close to Limassol, you have a lot of options on offer!
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