The third largest island in the heart of the pristine Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus, is full of rich history, splendors that dazzle the eye and incredible attractions making it one of the world’s most prominent tourist attractions. With its easy access form all corners of the earth; there is no reason to skip out on this alluring island paradise.
Cyprus has a culture rich with Western Europe. Greek mythology calls the island the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty. It’s location being close to the shores of Africa and Asia it is riddled with touches of the East. Its rich, cultural tones, which creep throughout the island, are an excellent place to start your journey, immersing yourself in an ambience soaked in fascinating history.
The city of Limassol is the second largest city of Cyprus, which flourishes with ancient ruins and modern wonders. One of the first places to greet tourists like a stone monolith looming on the horizon is Kolossi Castle. The castle was said to be the marriage place of Richard the Lion Heart to Berengaria of Navarro after the returning form the Crusades. It was destroyed during the 15th century but was rebuilt on a smaller scale then left to ruin and eventually the British restored the castle in 1933.
Within the city limits of Limassol lies the ancient city of Kourion. Containing some of the most masterful ruins on Cyprus, this ancient city should not be overlooked. The ruins contain a Greco-Roman theatre, which is a breath-taking sight to behold. Other key attractions in Kourion are the House of Gladiators, the House of Achilles and several well-preserved mosaics. Another place of interest is the Cyprus Medieval Museum that is housed in the Limassol Castle. If able to do so, a whole day could easily be spent exploring what the past has to offer.
Nicosia, the capital of the island, is filled with museums and districts delivering information about the history, art, literature and culture have laid the foundation for the island’s colorful culture. Among them is the famous Byzantine Museum that contains historical artifacts ranging between the 9th and 18th centuries. Laiki Yitonia is an area filled with pedestrians that boasts restaurants, art galleries, and shopping. The architecture of this area pays homage to a forgotten era in the history of Cyprus.
In the capital city lie the ruins of the Kingdom of Idalion. The Ancient city is still in the process of being excavated but here this is the location with roots deep in mythological lore. This is the place where her jealous husband, through use of a wild boar, killed Aphrodite’s lover, Adonis. The ancient city can be seen on the outskirts of the village, Dhali.
Among the historical sights, Cyprus is also known for its glorious festivals that occur though out the year. In June, Kataklysmos, the Festival of the Flood, takes place in Limassol. On the Sunday after Pentecost and the Monday of the Holy Spirit, people gather on the near sea to douse each other in water from the sea in honor of Aphrodite and Adonis. Singing and dance contests last thought out the festival spreading jubilation to all who attend.
In late August and early September, tourists flock in great hordes to take part in the Limassol Wine Festival. It rivals the festivals held by the ancient Greeks honoring Dionysus, the God of Wine and Aphrodite. At this festival, the locals serve up mouth-watering dishes, a vast medley of wines and a heart-warming environment with local theatre, music and dancing. This festival is the perfect time to visit Cyprus and save money while doing it (the festival is free of charge).
Although it is hidden deep in the realm of the gorgeous blue Mediterranean, Cyprus offers quite the travel destination. With is fair climate year round, there isn’t a poor time to visit and get lost in culture far different from your own.
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