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Destinations Europe Cyprus Kourion


The ruined city of Kourion was founded by the ancient inhabitants of Argos and passed through Hellenistic, Roman, and early Christian phases. It is a sizeable site with a wealth of archaeological treasures including prolific villas, baths, a necropolis, fountain house, and temples.

Constructed in the 2nd century AD, the amphitheatre is one of the site’s most important and well-restored structures. It seats 3000 spectators and is still used for music and theatre, including the International Festival of Greek Drama.

Nearby, the House of the Gladiators, dating from the 3rd Century, is a luxurious residence with two porticoes, a central courtyard and bath complex. It derives its name from its mosaic depictions of gladiatorial combat. The House of Eustolios takes its name from an inscription that cites Eustolio as the property’s builder. It was originally built as a private home and later converted to a public bath, featuring elaborate mosaics in three porticoes.

The greatest concentration of mosaics in Kourion is at the House of Achilles – an open courtyard with rooms on two sides. The structure dates to the 4th century and is located near the entrance to the city, leading to speculation about its function. The house was named after a mosaic of the Greek hero found there.

The sanctuary of Hylates to the west of Kourion was used for the worship of the Cypriot equivalent of Apollo. Constructed on an ancient sanctuary dating to the 7th century BC, it was one of the island’s most important religious centres. The site includes palaestra (area used for exercise), stoa (colonnaded porticus), treasury, baths, courtyard, and temple. Early Christian temples include the Episcopal Basilica, built in the early 5th century in the ruins of Roman constructions. It features a small chapel with several columns and a fragment of mosaics depicting the archangels.

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