Not far from Episkopi in the south of Cyprus lies Kourion, site of an impressive archaeological complex which no visitor to Cyprus should miss. Not far away is another famous archaeological area, the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates. Most of the remains at Kourion date from the Roman period, the high point in its history. However, the origins of Kourion lie far earlier, as far back as the 12th century BC, although nothing remains from that time. The sights to be seen here offer an attractive mix of Roman and early Christian structures. Highlights are the theatre and the foundations of an early Christian basilica.

Map Google Maps
Het theater van Kourion
The theatre at Kourion

Roman Era

Kourion lies on a cliff directly on the sea and the seating was built facing the sea, offering the public a spectacular view. Where gladiatorial games once attracted the public, concerts are now held in the summer. Other impressive remains from the Roman period are the many mosaics to be found in some of the villas. At one of the highest points in Kourion is a house containing the Achilles mosaic and in another house nearby is a mosaic showing a gladiatorial conflict.

Kourion
Kourion

Het Romeinse theater van Kourion
The Roman theatre at Kourion

Early Christian Era

More mosaics can be found in the house of Eustolios, and what makes these remarkable is that they demonstrate the transition from the Roman to the Christian periods. The mosaics are full of Christian symbols. The zeal of the Christians in trying to convert the heathens can also be seen in the foundations of the early Christian basilicas which can be admired here. The foundations show that the basilica must have been a very large and imposing building and its stones must have contributed to the propaganda for the Christian faith. Standing just outside the town are a Roman theatre and the remains of a temple in honour of Apollo.

Kerk van Kourion
Remains of the early Christian church, sometimes called the Kourion Cathedral. There are three churches In the area around Kourion but this is the largest and one of the most important Christian buildings ever built in Cyprus. The church is built on an earlier Roman structure and can be dated to the 5th century. The church was destroyed by the Arabs in 654 AD and then rebuilt in the 7th century before being abandoned in the 8th century. The ruins indicate it was once a three-aisled basilica with a baptistery and bishop’s house. It is considered to be one of the most important early Christian monuments in Cyprus.
Kourion’s location on the coast is idyllic.

Text Harrie Wolters

Translation Alun Harvey

Vorig artikelIn het spoor van … de directeur
Volgend artikelApollo Hylates, a holy place in Cyprus
Harrie Wolters is algemeen directeur van het Hunebedcentrum.

LAAT EEN REACTIE ACHTER

Vul alstublieft uw commentaar in!
Vul hier uw naam in

Deze site gebruikt Akismet om spam te verminderen. Bekijk hoe je reactie-gegevens worden verwerkt.