Inhabited since Neolithic times, Cyprus was captured by Alexander the Great, featured in the Trojan War, and hosted civilizations from the Mycenaeans to the Assyrians. That wealth of history is evident in the country’s abundance of ruins and ancient landmarks. From Paphos to Salamis, here are five of Cyprus’ top archaeological sites.
Cyprus’ ancient capital for more than a millennium, Paphos today features a huge array of world-class ruins—so much so that the city is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Venture to the Paphos Archaeological Site to see strikingly preserved mosaics in the House of Dionysos, visit the subterranean Tombs of the Kings (the city’s ancient necropolis), and head to the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, founded in the 12th century BC.
Located west of Limassol along Cyprus’ coast and part of the Paphos UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kourion is one of the country’s top archaeological landmarks. Once an ancient city-state, the site today consists of a strikingly well-preserved amphitheater, ancient tombs, the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, bathhouses, and numerous other monuments.
Just a few miles from Famagusta, Salamis was founded by the Greeks in the 11th century BC and is one of Cyprus’ most significant ancient cities. Today, the sprawling archaeological site includes baths, an amphitheater, a gymnasium, several ancient basilicas, and a range of other remains.
Discover what life was like in the seventh century BC when you venture to the Neolithic-era settlement of Choirokoitia, the earliest permanent human settlement found on Cyprus. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Choirokoitia is known for its complex architectural system and cylindrical dwellings, five of which have been recreated for the benefit of modern visitors.
Associated with the legend of Theseus and Ariadne, Amathus was another prominent, ancient city-state on Cyprus. Today, the archaeological site includes an agora, public baths, colossal stone vessels, and more. The site was also linked with the worship of Aphrodite, and a temple dedicated to the goddess of love and beauty stands at the site.