The region round the bay of Salamis is one of the most favoured in the whole island and Salamis city became the capital of Cyprus as far back as 1100 BC. The city shared the destiny of the rest of the island during the successive occupations by the various dominant powers of the Near East, viz. the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, and Romans. The ancient site covers an area of one square mile extending along the sea shore. There is still a large area awaiting excavation and this is forested with mimosa, pine, and eucalyptus trees. The finding of some gold coins bearing the name of Evagoras, 411 to 374 BC, is the first genuine evidence of the city's importance.

A severe earthquake destroyed the city in 76 AD after which the Gymnasium with its colonnaded Palaestra was built by Trajan and Hadrian. This is the most monumental part of the site but columns differ in size because after the second great earthquake of 331 AD. the Christians set up new columns which they dragged from the Roman theatre. The theatre with 50 rows of seats is a spectacular sight. All around the buildings that have been excavated are many niches which contained marble statues, and those that can be seen are headless. When Christianity was adopted as a state religion all these nude statues were to them an abhorrence and were thrown into drains or were broken up. In fact, any indications of Roman pagan religion such as mosaic pictures were effaced or destroyed.

The Romans had an obsession about baths, and in the Great Hall buildings one can make out the Sudatorium (hot baths), the Caldarium (steam bath) and Frigidarium. Before the Christian period, i.e. before 400 AD, it was quite a colourful city; the marble columns were covered with coloured stucco, coloured statues, and numerous polychrome mosaics of which only a few are left. It was during the Christian period that walls with rectangular towers at regular intervals were built, but all that one can see of these today are mounds of sand dunes. The late Roman period after 400 AD up to about 1100 AD is known as the Byzantine epoch when the first great Christian churches, called basilicas, were built. The visitor should see the churches of St Epiphanos and Campanopetra for they are the largest ancient churches in Cyprus.

About 674 AD Arab invasions brought about the destruction of the entire city and the inhabitants fled north to build the medieval town of Famagusta (Magusa). There must have been a great change in the climate as the city was overwhelmed with sand, and only the tops of the columns peeped above.

Coins of the Middle Ages, Lusignan period, were found around the basilicas, from which one can conclude that squatters lived in the ruins probably up to c. 1300. For the next 600 years the ancient site was looted and regarded as a quarry for building. During the Venetian occupation of Famagusta many columns and pieces of sculpture were dragged from the site. This constant looting was not halted until I952 when organised excavations by the Department of Antiquities began.

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Salamis, Famagusta, Cyprus
See all sites in Famagusta

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Founded: 1100 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Cyprus

More Information

www.whatson-northcyprus.com

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

GInspector Savarona (20 months ago)
One of the biggest and famous hotel in Famagusta. very nice place with tasty foods, good animations. Casino is not so big and cool but location and beach is wonderful.
Brooke Bayley (20 months ago)
I visited in the low season, so none of the local attractions were open, and there was a lot of renovation work taking place on nearby properties. It is a superb development overall, manging to cope with numerous coach tour parties successfully. Both break fast and evening meal are buffet style, but there is a wide variety of choice to suit most tastes. The only rarity seems to be meat. Chicken portions, or stews, and some fish dishes prevail, with plenty of salad and healthy options to back it up. Anyone anticipating a steak will be disappointed. They do have alternative dining however. On the ground floor of block 3, they have a full-blown buffet style Chinese restaurant. The grounds contain excellent swimming pools, but the other facilities on the beach are closed until the sun shines.
Paul Lawson (20 months ago)
This hotel has a very good atmosphere and is well place on a bus route and close to the beach, private pools, pleasant and informative staff. We came with a tour group. On arrival you would think you were entering King Arthur's Castle. Paul and Susan Lawson from East Yorkshire (UK)
Jessica Day Kottmann (21 months ago)
Swimming pool downstairs for guests. A wide variety of international food at the buffet. Loved the baklava! Our room ladies decorated our bed, so sweet. We enjoyed our stay.
lawrence shaw (21 months ago)
Room was nice enough and we had a good view, but the food........ same stuff the 3 nights we stayed and it was cold every time. They had no idea what a Vegan was so if you are then don't go here! The only hot thing my girlfriend could eat was beans........ and they were cold!
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