Around 600 BC, the city-states of Cyprus were split between those that leant towards the east and the Phoenicians, and those that were more Greek supporting. During the great wars between the Greeks and the Persians, the city-states of Cyprus were politically divided. The Phoenicians supported the Persians, and this resulted in battles between the island's kingdoms.
Battles on land and sea were waged, and in 500 BC a pro-Persian city, Marion, not only besieged Soli, but kept an eye on it by establishing a settlement on a nearby hill. This settlement was Vouni.
In 449 BC, however, the Persians were defeated by the Greeks, and the pro-Persian inhabitants of Vouni were replaced by Solians. In 391 BC, Evagoras seized the kingdom of Salamis, and attempted to extend his control to the entire island. Soli and some other cities had to ask for help from the Persians to fight against Evagoras. With the help of the Persians, Soli regained its political power.
In 380 BC, the palace which had been a continuous threat to Soli, was mysteriously destroyed by fire, and the inhabitants evacuated. Hence the history of Vouni lasts only 120 years.
In the beginning, the palace was little more than a military settlement, but after 449 BC, when Greek rule was established, the ruler of Marion was replaced by a pro-Greek prince, and Vouni became a royal palace. Excavations have shown that there were four different construction periods. The first construction was in 500BC when the core of the palace was built. It consisted of state apartments, large store rooms and bathrooms. During the Persian period, between 500 and 450BC, some minor changes were made. During the Greek rule between 450-390 BC, there were major alterations, and a second storey with mud brick walls was added. Further minor alterations were made between 390 and 380 BC.
The palace complex you see today is made up of three terraces. The highest point has the Athena shrine. Very little remains of this.
The middle terrace has the palace and religious buildings. The palace is believed to have had 137 rooms. There is a fountain in the middle of the courtyard, which is surrounded on three sides by rooms. The water needs of the palace were fulfilled by storing rain water in numerous cisterns which dot the site.
The large standing stone stele standing by the cistern in the courtyard was designed to hold a windlass, and is believed to have been brought here from elsewhere. This stone has become the symbol of Vouni. There are also food storage rooms where amphorae were found. Most of the rooms on the eastern side are used for storage, but baths were also found on this side. These baths are some of the earliest examples of fully equipped Roman baths.
The lower terrace faces the sea, and contains houses with stone bases and mud brick upper storeys which housed most of the residents. The excavations in the 1920s unearthed a baked clay cup, blackened by the fire which destroyed the palace. In addition, gold and silver bracelets, silver bowls, and hundreds of coins bearing the stamps of Marion, Kiton, Lapithos and Paphos were discovered.
From the palace, you can see the small island of Petra Tou Limnidi. This is one of the oldest places in Cyprus to be inhabited, and was excavated at the same time as Vouni. Archaeologists found items going back to the Neolithic age, consisting of bone needles, stone utensils, farming tools , and sculptures.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.