Wednesday, May 12, 2010
There is nothing so boring as other people's holiday snaps. But once in a while, its nice to be able to vicariously visit (or re-visit) places of interest. This was a nice place I visited last winter in Cyprus....interesting particularly because it is pretty much off the beaten track.
Kourion is a Roman city on the south coast of Cyprus. It is situated way up on the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, which means a bit of a trek to get fresh water. The cliff seems to have a tendency to break away during the frequent earthquakes, nibbling the city away. It was abandoned along with the rest of the Latin Roman Empire because...well...the harbour filled up, and its economic role was replaced by Famagusta on the East, and Paphos on the West, Limasol and Larnika just down the road from here, and Kyrenia on the North. This place, Kourion, became a religious centre, the temple to Apollo was here. Thats it, down below. And when it shook one last time in the earthquake, the people just decided to say to heck with this, and went back to Rome.
Random ruins above, and the wall on the right is to prevent tourists from slipping over the edge.
Above is a fine hypocaust. The little pillars would have had a floor laid over top of them, and they would have built a little fire to warm the floor. Sort of central heating. I note that unlike other hypocausts I have seen, there does not seem to be a lot of soot staining the bricks. Perhaps that is because there is not a lot of need for central heating in Cyprus? Just a guess.
Above is the cross street. All Roman cities have a main east-west street, and north south street. This is the crossroads. The cross street here was actually pretty steep, and it was in steps, like Halifax or St John Newfoundland, or come to think of it, most of Malta. I don't think they had a lot of wheeled traffic here. Not because it was too small...this place is just as big as Pompii, and you can see the cart ruts in Pompii. No, this seems to be pretty much a walking town.
A visit to the theatre is always nice. That wooden part in back is where the stage used to be...it seems to have found a stable location at the foot of the cliff. There are still plenty of foundations under the wooden part that people are standing on over in back there. They put on rock concerts now...and its all electrified and there are big mounts for speakers. What an awesome place to have a concert!
This place has some of the nicest mosaics! Standard shapes, mostly, like the interwoven links above, the labyrinths below, and the inscriptions. These mosaics are designed to have a couple of inches of water on top of them. This makes the colours really pop!
Above is a nice bath. One would need a bath after lugging all that water all the way up here!
Hope you enjoyed them.