I have already mentioned that I was born in Cyprus, and it was places from my early childhood that I wanted Shanhong to see; hence, we booked a full day trip to Kourion and Kolossi. Even the journey there was special as we passed both Aphrodite’s Rock (the legend which has given Cyprus its Chinese name) and Happy Valley, a recreational ground where we would go and kick a ball around!
Aphrodite’s rock, or Petra tou Romiou is a sea-stack located off the main road from Paphos. According to legend, this rock is the site of the birth of the goddess Aphrodite, who appeared from the white foam in the water. A local myth is that anyone swimming around the rock will be blessed with eternal beauty.
Our first ‘proper’ stop for the day was at Kourion. Whilst occupation of this area has been traced to 5000 BC, the Kingdom of Kourion was established around 1000BC and reached the climax of its influence in the Roman period. In the later 4th Century, Kourion was hit by five strong earthquakes within a period of eighty years and suffered near total destruction. The majority of the remains that have been excavated can be traced to the Roman and Byzantine periods and consist of the main theatre, the sanctuary of Apollo Hylates (including baths) and a number of residences. The theatre in particular is very well preserved, has great acoustics and is still used today as a venue for the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama.
Our next stop was Kolossi Castle, a former Crusader stronghold which held strategic importance in the middle ages, as it contained facilities for the production of sugar, one of Cyprus’ main exports of the time. The present castle was built in 1454 by the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.
After Kolossi, it was a short drive to some of the pretty villages, including Omodos, where we stopped for lunch, a visit to the church, and a walk around the village.
So – there you have it – a great day out!
All the best, Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xxx