Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ruins of Cyprus

Being in the Middle East, Cyprus has a lot of history from prehistoric times to now. Some of the ruins we have seen so far have dated back to 7000 BC. Most ruins, however, are from the classical and medieval periods.

The first ruins that we went to were the oldest ruins. When we arrived we convinced the guard that we were students and he should let us in for free. We accomplished this by rapid fire English and flashing student cards and I think he didn't understand us that much and just waived us through. Walking through the path into the first area, they had reconstructed huts that showed how they would have looked in the ancient times. These were the oldest ruins we've seen so far, dating back to 7000 BC.

From there we walked up a very steep hill to look at the other ruins. What was interesting about these people is that they practiced animal husbandry and farming so long ago. Another interesting fact is that they buried their dead in the floors of their huts. These huts were not abandoned even with the dead in there.

The next ruins we visited were Kurion. Kurion was once a Classical period establishment and was composed of houses, roman pools/baths, an old Greek style amphitheatre, mosaics, pillars, and various rooms. It was rebuilt again in 400 AD by early Christian people. The remodel consisted of the addition of a basilica, and some other various rearrangements. The ruins were on top of a huge mesa that overlooked the Mediterranean and had some incredible views.

The latest ruin we visited was the castle of Kolossi. The castle was built in the 15th century under the rein of Kind Richard the Lionhearted for the Crusades. An interesting note is that this castle is where King Richard married the Queen of England.

The castle consisted of four floors with access to the roof. Each floor was divided into two large rooms with windows and fireplaces and then one spiral staircase connecting the floors. On the roof, there were battlements with slits so archers could fire on attacking Arabs. There was also a drawbridge going to the second floor of the castle so that they could close off the building from attackers. Around the castle there were ruins of a church, an aqueduct, stables, and various other buildings.

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