Amathus Archaeological Site
Located just 6 miles east of Limassol, Amathus is one of the oldest and most important royal cities in Cyprus. Amathus is a mix of myth and archaeology. Evidence suggest that human activity exist since the Iron Age, around 1100 BC. This ancient city was founded by Cinyras. He is linked with the birth of Adonis, who named this city after his mother Amathous. This site is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
This city is quite large with beautiful archaeological treasures buried for centuries. You might need up to two hours to go through the ruins.
This ancient city was ruled by several famous conquerors, such as: Persians, Ptolemies, Romans and Byzantines. The Arabs took control during the 7th century, where they eventually destroyed and abandoned it. Strong walls surrounding the city were built during both the Archaic and Hellenistic periods due to possible Arab threats.
It is also believed that in this city Theseus left the heavily pregnant Ariadne to be looked after following the Minotaur battle. You can also find the ruins from Temple of Aphrodite in this magnificent city, along with tombs that date back to the beginning of Iron Age period, Graeco-Phoenician. During the post-Phoenician era in 8th century BC, a palace and a port was built to accommodate trading with the Greeks and the Levantines. For the Hellenes, a temple was built very high on top of a cliff, which then became a worship place for Aphrodite. Excavators found the final stage of the Temple of Aphrodite, known as Aphrodisias, which date back to 1st century BC. This site was also where festive Adonia took place- athletes competed in hunting wild boars during sport tournaments, along with singing and dancing competitions, all to honour Adonis. Amathus’ political importance ended during Roman times, but the temples of Adonis and Aphrodite remained famous.
The kingdom of Amathus was rich and heavily populated during pre-historic era up until the Byzantine period, with flourishing agriculture and mining located very close to Kalavasos in the northeast.