Limassol is well-known for the archaeological sites surrounding the modern city. What makes Limassol such a great destination for the history buff is that all these locations are within easy reach. Forget about long day trips and expensive rental cars because Kourion is almost on your doorstep if you are staying in Limassol, just a few miles to the west.
So what is Kourion?
Also known as Curium, this is one of the most recognisable archaeological sites in the country. It’s a combination of both Roman and Byzantium influences. If you are a lover of ancient history, this is the place to visit!
History of Kourion
Archaeologists believe that this site has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic times while the first people to arrive in the area did so as far back as 4,500 BC. The ruins you see today are from a much later period, though. The actual urban centre that sat on the site was constructed around the thirteenth century BC by the Argives.
What makes Kourion such a prominent location, though?
Its strategic position meant that it had played a huge part in regional conflicts over the millennia. One of the better-known conflicts was the Cypriot uprising against the Persian Empire around 500 BC. It was then a strategic location when Alexander the Great fought and beat the Persians in around 332 BC. And this was when it was still inhabited.
So What is There to See?
The ancient theatre is the picture you always see in the brochures. In a remarkable feat of ancient preservation, this 3,500-seat stadium is in almost perfect condition. The current theatre dates back 2,000 years, with many believing it to be even older. The theatre is still used today, for special concerts and cultural events
Nevertheless, that’s just part of the attraction. There is so much more to see on the site. Check out the Roman market that dates from the third century, and the public paths. There’s even a nymphaeum. You can imagine what it must have been like to live here all those years ago.
To reinforce the sense of a living city, a range of ancient buildings on the site have survived the ravages of time. The House of Achilles was thought to be a type of welcoming centre for distinguished visitors to the city while the House of the Gladiators is another building to see. Both have amazing mosaic floors.
Finally, make sure that you pay a visit to the Eustolios complex. This private residence and bathing compound is probably the best example of what it was like to live here in ancient times.
How to Get There
This wonderful day trip is sure to leave a mark on you during your visit to Cyprus. Thankfully, it is an easy destination to reach. Situated just 13 km west of Limassol, it is easily reachable by public transport.
A taxi shouldn’t cost much more than ten to fifteen Euros, depending on the season and the taxi company you’re utilising. Bear in mind that you can also rent a car while in Cyprus, which will also serve for getting around the rest of the island.
Finally, you could consider renting a bicycle and following the coastline for a little while. The great sea road will take you along the picturesque coast before you detour into the idyllic Cypriot countryside.
Have you been to Kourion before? Or do you intend visiting at some stage? Either way, I’d love to hear more, so why not leave me a comment at the foot of the page?