Ancient city by the sea, tiny church, and a cult.

Kourion Travel Blog

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I find

I find my way to the highway. Don’t ask me how!!! I was headed in the direction of Lemesos (lemesol). My fist stop was the archeological site of Kourion but, along the highway I took a couple of shots with the camera just in the air, I promise! Lemesos has some amazing churches and a large new one currently under construction.


I turn off onto several smaller roads and start the ascent. I know that I’ve arrived as there is a towering limestone cliff with an amazing erosion pattern. The edges of the cliffs are jagged and worn. You are still able to see the arches of many dwellings that had been there. There were two that were still intact. From the cliffs, I could see across some farmland that bordered the Mediterranean Sea.


Even though this was very dramatic, my day of drama had only begun!!!



I pull up to the gate and pay my 1 euro 70 and park my car.


The city has passed through different phases from a Hellenistic, Roman, and Christian periods.


I can see many arched structures covering ruins being worked on. The first section I went to was the larges of the covered structures, the baths. They were apart of the house of Eustolios and was built in the late 4th century AD. It had many creative mosaic designs.


From there, down the hill to the Roman theatre, built at the end of the 2nd century BC. It has a fantastic view of the sea and the magnificent cliffs along the coast. Originally it held and audience of 3000 people.


The “Earthquake House” was next on the path.

Given the name, it is amazing that you can still see partial walls, there’s much more than rubble here! It was constructed in the 1st or 2nd century AD and remodeled in the mid 4th century AD and was destroyed by a disastrous earthquake in 365 AD. A picture of life in Kourion at the moment of it’s destruction was imprinted in the ruins of this house.


Next, I went to the biggest and most dramatic, here, the Basilica and Bishop’s Palace. With the best view of the coast, this triple aisle building was built in the 5th century AD on the site of a former Pagan temple, which was destroyed by the Arabs. There are many columns in various conditions that add that extra drama with the cliffs and the sea in the background…….just awe inspiring. What a glorious place to have spent your life.


While I was there …..I could see someone paragliding over the cliffs. It looked fantastic! Then someone took off on a hangglider. This is a perfect place for such activities!!!


The nymphaem, an imposing complex of stone fountains, stood where the aquaduct brought water into the city.

The nymphs were seen as minor divinities, the protector of springs and water.


The public baths were next and are in remarkable condition. You can really make out the technology used to make this possible. The original phase built between 50 BC and 100 AD was the typical cold, warm, and hot chambers. Later, between 100 AD and 365 AD, they created one simple and two apsidal rectangular steam baths with a complete hypocaust working system. You can still see areas of decorative marble wall and floors where they would have luxuriated.


The remains of the last phase of building (200 AD to 365 AD) show the remains of four dressing rooms that opened onto a rectangular hall where there are still some of the geometric designs of the mosaics are preserved.  During the early Christian period (end of the 4th century AD) the rooms were replaced with bread ovens and workshops. The large hall was converted into private houses.


This leads to the agora (market), which is very small in Kourion.


There is a luxurious private house, next on the path, constructed in the second half of the 3rd century AD. It has mosaics of gladiators in the atrium and three galleries.


The final site I visited in Kourion was the house of Achilles. It has some interesting and quite different mosaic designs but other than that, it’s still under a great deal of work.


I took a few final shots as I hiked through the hills back to the car.


It was time to go.

There are more things to see, today.


Just down the road from Kourion was a little basilica. It is very tiny but, so cute! Inside are a beautiful altar and some icons on the walls.


Back in the car, I drove higher on the mountain, past a Roman stadium to the Sanctuary of Apollo Hydates. Apollo was worshiped as God of the surrounding woodland and the protector of the pre-Christian city. It was consecrated in the 8th century B.C.


The first phase of the temple is dated to Emperor Augustus. The temple was reconstructed during the reign of Emperor Trajan in ( 98 - 117 A.D.)


The cult of Apollo is attested architecturally only to the 7th or 8th century and doesn't constitute part of the settlement in any period.

Theis segregation of the settlement from the sanctuary can only be linked with the Sanctuary of Apollo Maleates at Epidarus, the most ancient and important sanctuary of Apollo in the Argolid. There is evidence in the finds of the slope of Agia Anna particularly of the known " Temple Boys"  The base of one of these bears the earliest inscription referring to the name of the God Apollo (5th - 4th century B.C.)

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On the way....driving through Lima…
On the way....driving through Lim…
photo by: tj1777