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:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.