kami

Can't live without travels! Wherever she goes she always looks for alternative spots or street art. A huge fan of Central Europe and off the beaten path places and a living proof that you can balance full time job and extensive travel!

The ancient city of Kourion

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It’s weird, I’ve been to so many places already but I haven’t visited any major ancient place (these in Rome or Plovdiv, even if they were really awesome, still didn’t feel all that great since they were in the middle of the city). But I’ve always heard that Cyprus is great when it comes to the ancient history so I was pretty excited already when I was researching what I can see there. It turned out close from Limassol (that was easy to get to from Larnaca, where I was staying) there is a great ancient complex of old Kourion. I’ve decided that’s where I’m gonna head to!

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Getting from Larnaca to Limassol was extremely easy. There were cheap and frequent intercity buses and within one hour I was already in the other city. However getting to the ancient Kourion was slightly more complicated. There was a city bus going there but every person I asked told me the different number of the bus, the different time and the different place of the departure. When I finally found the right bus station (on the driveway of the local hospital, go figure!) and saw the bus with the number that was twice in all the suggestions I’ve heard before I tried to ask the driver if he was going to the Kourion. He was this typical Mediterranean macho type, with his chest hair seen through his unbuttoned shirt and with the cigarette in his mouth. He couldn’t speak much English but what we managed to communicate was that actually he is not going to Kourion but he can as well go there this time. I thought I didn’t understand something but he insisted for me and my friends to get it and off we went.

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The bus ride first lead through the suburbs of Limassol that was mostly under construction thanks to European Union funds. Eventually we arrived to the small park with the tiny church in it and nothing else to be seen around. The driver stopped the bus and showed us it’s the end of this journey. When I asked him when the archeological site is he just waved in one direction, closed the bus door and the bus departed. We were left there, in the middle of nowhere, with not much idea where to go… Fortunately the first path we took was the correct one, soon we found ourselves on the road that reminded me so much of the road that lead to Uplistsikhe in Georgia. And then, around the corner was the entrance to the ancient complex.

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What I knew about the ancient Kourion before the visit? I read only about the Greco-Roman theater with the amazing view to the Mediterranean coast. I was really surprised and happy that there is so much more to see in that complex! The ancient city was founded around 14th century BC but its best times were during the Roman Empire. After the massive earthquake in the year 365 the city has lagged and never returned to its previous condition, eventually in the 7th century it was abandoned by its citizens…

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These days the ancient Kourion is a fairly big area full of ruins(well, duh!) from these old times. Besides the theater that is still in a pretty good condition, there are also parts of old houses, Roman baths, the stadium and the basilica. At the very end there is also the House of Gladiators with extremely interesting mosaics.

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I expected to spend maybe one hour there but it actually took me 3 hours to walk around, explore every single piece of ruins and admire the wonderful view. I’ve never expected to enjoy the ancient site so very much. It was really interesting to see in the real life all these ancient styles that I’ve learned about in school. My mind was full of images how the life back in ancient time must have looked like there, of pictures how people spent each day there, how different it was from what we are used to right now. There were gladiators, nymphs, wenches… it all seemed like a fairytale to me! I know I could have easily spent even more time there but the time to catch the last bus from Limassol to Larnaca was slowly approaching… (and the journey back to the city was a similar adventure, we had to walk to the nearby village as the next bus was supposed to leave Kourion in 2 hours… but these few days in Cyprus has taught me not to believe any schedules)

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Thanks to this visit my new interest in ancient sites was born and I truly hope I’ll have a chance to visit more of these complexes soon. I’ve never expected them to be that very fascinating! If you want to see more pics from Kourion visit my gallery from Cyprus.

Have you visit any ancient sites? Do they fascinate you too?


During my visit in Cyprus I stayed in Larnaca and it was a perfect base to explore the country. You can book your accommodation in Larnaca here!


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19 Mar '13

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