Amathus was one of the most ancient royal cities of Cyprus. Its ancient cult of Aphrodite was the most important, after Paphos, in Cyprus, her homeland, though the ruins of Amathus are less well-preserved than neighboring Kourion.

The pre-history of Amathus mixes myth and archaeology. Though there was no Bronze Age city on the site, archaeology has detected human activity that is evident from the earliest Iron Age, c. 1100 BC. The city's legendary founder was Cinyras, linked with the birth of Adonis, who called the city after his mother Amathous. According to a version of the Ariadne legend noted by Plutarch, Theseus abandoned Ariadne at Amathousa, where she died giving birth to her child and was buried in a sacred tomb. According to Plutarch's source, Amathousians called the sacred grove where her shrine was situated the Wood of Aphrodite Ariadne. More purely Hellenic myth would have Amathus settled instead by one of the sons of Heracles, thus accounting for the fact that he was worshiped there.

Amathus was built on the coastal cliffs with a natural harbor and flourished at an early date, soon requiring several cemeteries. Greeks from Euboea left their pottery at Amathus from the 10th century BC. During the post-Phoenician era of the 8th century BC, a palace was erected and a port was also constructed, which served the trade with the Greeks and the Levantines. A special burial ground for infants, a tophet served the culture of the Phoenicians. For the Hellenes, high on the cliff a temple was built, which became a worship site devoted to Aphrodite, in her particular local presence as Aphrodite Amathusia along with a bearded male Aphrodite called Aphroditos. The excavators discovered the final stage of the Temple of Aphrodite, also known as Aphrodisias, which dates approximately to the 1st century BC. According to the legend, it was where festive Adonia took place, in which athletes competed in hunting wild boars during sport competitions; they also competed in dancing and singing, all to the honour of Adonis.

The earliest remains hitherto found on the site are tombs of the early Iron Age period of Graeco-Phoenician influences (1000-600 BC). Amathus is identified with Kartihadasti (Phoenician 'New-Town') in the Cypriote tribute-list of Esarhaddon of Assyria (668 BC). It certainly maintained strong Phoenician sympathies, for it was its refusal to join the philhellene league of Onesilos of Salamis which provoked the revolt of Cyprus from Achaemenid Persia in 500-494 BC, when Amathus was besieged unsuccessfully and avenged itself by the capture and execution of Onesilos.

Amathus was a rich and densely populated kingdom with a flourishing agriculture and mines situated very close to the northeast Kalavasos. In the Roman era it became the capital of one of the four administrative regions of Cyprus. Later, in the 4th century AD, Amasus became the see of a Christian bishop and continued to flourish until the Byzantine period. In the late 6th century, Ayios Ioannis Eleimonas (Saint John the Charitable), protector of the Knights of St. John, was born in Amathus. Sometime in the first half of the 7th century Anastasius Sinaita, the famous prolific monk of the Saint Catherine's Monastery, was also born there. It is thought that he left Cyprus after the 649 Arab conquest of the island, setting out for the Holy Land, eventually becoming a monk on Sinai.

Amathus still flourished and produced a distinguished patriarch of Alexandria, St. John the Merciful, as late as 606-616, and a ruined Byzantine church marks the site; but it declined and was already almost deserted when Richard Plantagenet won Cyprus by a victory there over Isaac Comnenus in 1191. The tombs were plundered and the stones from the beautiful edifices were brought to Limassol to be used for new constructions. Much later, in 1869, a great number of blocks of stone from Amathus were used for the construction of the Suez Canal.

The city had vanished, except fragments of wall and of a great stone cistern on the acropolis. A similar vessel was transported to the Musée du Louvre in 1867, a limestone dim, used for storing the must from the grapes, which dates to the 6th century BC. It is 1.85 m high and weighs 14 tons. It was made from a single stone and has four curved handles bearing the head of a bull.

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Address

B1, Limassol, Cyprus
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Details

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

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

ofir liba (11 months ago)
Luxury hotel. Perfect for family. Clean, few pools, good breakfast, great service everywhere. Don't know if it's value for money because it is an expensive hotel. One big comment - In the picture is the main pool at 7:30 am. The pool is empty but all seats are occupied. Same problem also on the beach. The hotel let people take many towels early in the morning so they reserved seats even in different pools. The hotel must do something to stop this ridiculous behavior/game ( for example - don't let one person take more than one towel before 10 am)
Gaspar Zimmerman (11 months ago)
Amathus Beach Resort exceeded expectations! Breathtaking views, impeccable service, and luxurious amenities. The beach is pristine, and the pool is a haven of relaxation. A culinary delight with diverse dining options. An unforgettable escape of pure indulgence.
Pritesh Chudasama (12 months ago)
Can’t wait for our 3rd visit… The hotel is beautiful. The interiors, the lobby, the restaurants, the views, and the grounds are lush and well-maintained. But, it’s the staff at this hotel that make it what it is. I mostly stay in 5-star hotels/resorts with the family, and this is certainly one of our favourites. In our experience, every member of staff will go out of their way to ensure you have a great stay and leave their property happy. From the friendly housekeeping team to the management, they will do everything in their power to ensure you are happy. My wife has an allergy, and the F&B team would ensure she was extremely well looked after. We never had the buffet (apart from breakfast), but the a la carte dining options are good. If you want a change, there are three different restaurants, and you have their sister hotel next door. Naturally, some areas can be improved, like with any hotel, especially one that’s been around for so long, but they are seasoned at looking after their guests, which goes a long way. We are looking forward to our next stay with you – thank you again for everything.
Lana Gharaibeh (12 months ago)
It is a very welcoming hotel with a highly trained, friendly and qualified staff. The access for all hotel facilities is so easy.. the pools are sooo clean, 2.8m with life guards. for a family, it was much better than the "all inclusive" resort hotels ,not crowded, food is served well, night bands are all week nights. Room service is fast, i got my room cleaned twice a day. It reminded me of old 5-star hotels with a modern look and service. I checked in at 10am and took my rooms within 10 minutes. Will sure repeat the experience. Thank you Amathus hotel for the hospitality
Danielle Engelman (14 months ago)
Wow there are truly not enough words to express how lovely and professional the staff at the Amathus Beach Hotel are. From the second we arrived (with two young children) we were treated with such warmth, care, and a level of service you truly don't see often these days. You can really feel that everyone there gives their heart and soul to all their guests. The kind of place where at 10pm you realize you forgot dish soap to wash your children's bottles and the hotel delivers dish soap in a glass cup and new sponges in their packaging to your room. We came in April and so the kids club was open, was really nice that kids under 12 get to eat free. The kids' club was truly a child's dream everything from a bouncing gymboree, to arts and crafts and cooking activities, loads of toys in great condition. I stayed with my kids at the kids' club (they're a bit younger) but I could immediately see that the staff running it were very intuitive and in the future I'd definitely leave my kids for a bit so I could relax at the pool :). Food was great, pool and gym and in general facilities were great. Honestly just a 5-star experience and our family cannot wait to come back again. The private kids' beach, pool, and playground were a parents dream. We truly felt like we had no responsibility entertaining our kids-- the hotel did it all! They even had kid magic and music shows. I had a personal medical incident at the hotel and the staff immediately rushed to help us out and even took care of transportation to urgent care -- they were genuinely concerned and checked up on us. We cannot wait to be back hopefully in the near future!
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