The archaeological area of Kition consists of two sites: Kathari and Pampoula. Various finds came to light between the 18th and the 19th century, during excavation work conducted by foreign travelers and tomb looters. One such find is the famous Assyrian stele of king Sargon II, now in Berlin. A plaster cast of the stele is exhibited in the Larnaka Museum.
The earliest phases of human habitation and religious worship in Kition, are found at the site of Kathari. Five consecutive temples and workshops for the smelting of copper, have already been excavated and are dated from the end of the 13th to the end of the 11th century B.C. This corresponds to the Late Bronze Age and the Geometric period, during which the city of Kition flourished and was inhabited by Mycenean Achaeans. Following their destruction, a magnificent temple identified as that of Astarte, was erected in their place by the Phoenicians, sometime around 850 B.C. The temple was used until the beginning of the 3rd century B.C., when it was also destroyed.
The excavations at the site of Pampoula, have shown that the area was continuously inhabited from the end of the Geometric to the Hellenistic period. The first architectural remains dated to the 9th century B.C., consist of a temple and various other buildings. During the Archaic and Classical period, the temple was extended to include many rooms, open courts with stoas and shrines, offering hearths and industrial installations for the smelting of copper. The variety of finds indicates that a number of deities was worshipped at Kition, the most significant being the Phoenician deities Astarte (equivalent of Aphrodite), Melkart (equivalent of Heracles), and Esmoun (equivalent of Asclepius), as well as the Egyptian deities Hathor, Bes and Horus.
During the Classical period, large-scale construction work was commissioned in the city of Kition, such as monumental public buildings which formed part of an ambitious public works project. Part of this project was also the draining of the marshland in the quarter of Pampoula, the creation of a sanitary system, and the construction of two harbours, one for commercial purposes and one for military use. Only the military one has been excavated so far. The ramps used to tow the ships into the harbor for repair or for safe keeping, still exist.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).