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Exploring Ancient Cyprus   by Seb Jay

The Eastern Mediterranean is a hotbed of human history. From Troy and her famous citizens to the vast Roman Empire that conquered the region with such panache, many thousands of years of human drama have unfolded in this small corner of the world.

The island of Cyprus is no exception. Great temples, ancient cities and magnificent residences merge to provide a collage of life on Cyprus that stretches back more than 10,000 years.

At Choirokoitia, near present-day Larnaca, a village of stone dwellings stands as evidence of the beginnings of life on Cyprus. Archaeologists have dated activity at Choirokoitia to 7500BC. The Neolithic Cypriots who inhabited the village would have spent their days farming the surrounding lands and hunting with tools fashioned from stone.

A visit to Choirokoitia really is a humbling experience...and one that is unforgettable. 

The Ancient Greeks and Romans
Fast forward a few thousand years and we find ourselves admiring the legacies of the ancient Greeks who came to Cyprus. The ancient city-kingdoms of Amathus and Kourion, both now sprawling archaeological sites near the Limassol coastline, offer us a glimpse into a world dominated by lust, war and veneration of the Gods.

By the early years of Christianity the Romans arrived on the shores of Cyprus. In typical Roman style the Empire set about embellishing the older Grecian structures, placing their own architectural stamp-mark on Cyprus. Amphitheatres like the magnificent example at Kourion and the smaller but still very impressive Paphos Odeon near Paphos, are Roman creations that are 'must see' attractions on a tour of ancient Cyprus.

No trip around the ancient Roman Empire in Cyprus though is complete without a visit to the Paphos Mosaics. Situated in Kato Paphos, close to the modern-day harbour in the town, are three Roman villas sporting some of the finest examples of Roman floor mosaics in the entire Eastern Mediterranean. 

The mosaics at the House of Dionysus show Dionysus - the Greek God of Wine - with Ikarios, the King of Athens. The House of Aion, which was the second Roman villa to have been uncovered on the site, depicts the birth of Dionysus. The third and arguably most impressive villa on the site describes Theseus and his mythological battle with the Minotaur in the Labyrinth.

Most of the ancient archaeological sites are signposted from the main highways in Cyprus, so are easy to find. An entry fee is normally charged at each site, but is equivalent to no more than 1 or 2 euros / dollars per adult. 

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About the Author - Seb Jay is a freelance writer specializing in the origination of web content for http://www.your-carhire.com

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