Set high on a cliff top overlooking Cyprus’ south coast, the ancient city-kingdom of Kourion was once one of the island’s most prominent cities, with its roots dating back to as early as 1200 B.C. Although the ancient city was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in the 4th century AD, the site was later used as a Christian settlement, before being abandoned in the 7th century. Today, the extensive Roman and Byzantine ruins discovered at the Kourion archaeological site continue to impress, making it one of Cyprus’ most visited historic attractions.
The still-ongoing excavations have unveiled a startling array of Roman ruins including a Forum, a series of public baths, an elegant Nymphaeum and the stately House of Achilles and House of the Gladiators. Most remarkable is the Greek Roman amphitheater, which is now fully restored and even hosts occasional classical concerts and Shakespearean plays. Other fascinating discoveries include the Villa of Eustolios, with its exquisite mosaic floors that date back to the 5th century AD; an early Christian Basilica dating from the same period and the nearby ruins of a Roman stadium.