Hylates was the Cypriot name for the god Apollo. He was one of the chief gods on the island, the god of the woods.

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Tempelcomplex van Apollo Hylates
Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates

The sanctuary of Apollo Hylates

In the south of Cyprus a holy place was created especially for the god Apollo or Hylates. It stands on the road to Paphos, 2.5 kilometres to the west of the town of Episkopi and not far from the famous archaeological complex at Kourion. This was once one of the most important religious centres in Cyprus. Apollo was worshipped here from the 8th century BC and the site kept its significance until the 4th century AD. In the course of time a number of buildings were added, and most of the ones to be seen now date from the 1st century AD. That was a period in which many older buildings were restored and, judging by the many remains still to be seen here, the work was obviously done well.

Tempelcomplex van Apollo Hylates
Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates

The site originally consisted of a temple, of which traces are still visible in the foundations of the present temple; a round monument which was probably used for specific rituals; and an altar. During the Roman period the complex was extended with various new buildings used among other things for accommodating visitors and as places where images could be placed for offerings. During excavations a well was found on the site in which there were many terracotta images and pots dating from the 5th century BC up to the Roman era.

A long street runs from north to south, leading to the Temple of Apollo Hylates. This temple was built during the Late Classical or Early Hellenic period. In the 1st century AD the temple was rebuilt by a different architect. On the eastern side of the outermost walls of the complex places have been found which it is thought were intended for athletic games. Here also the remains of baths have been found.

Heiligdom van Apollo Hylates
Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates
Heiligdom van Apollo Hylates
Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates
Vorig artikelKourion, impressive archaeological complex in Cyprus
Volgend artikelPollenanalyse – onderzoek naar stuifmeel
Harrie Wolters is algemeen directeur van het Hunebedcentrum.

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