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

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vladislav Danilov (2 months ago)
An excellent hotel, the second best in Limasol after the neighbouring "Four Seasons" (with which it now forms the same group). To my mind, it has everything one could possibly require while on vacation in Cyprus. The staff is courteous and helpful, with this generally not being feigned but rather very sincere. The cuisine is very good and diverse, the cooks having proved on several occasions to be capable of preparing an out-of-menu meal exactly according to my requests. One drawback, though, which in my case proved "fatal" - the omnipresent kids! The hotel provides some kind of incentive for those traveling with kids, so, although I had been warned about the issue beforehand, their number was just way beyond my expectations. And kids, you know, behave like the ones, i.e. they cry, shout and run. Don't get me wrong: to cry, shout and run is, as James T. Kirk would say, "a normal function" of a child, and not many of us were too different when we were small. However, if you, like myself, value quietness, then this hotel is probably not for you. Still, I don't have the heart to deduct a single point. On a Cyprus scale - a solid five-star hotel!
Joe Turner (5 months ago)
Superb hotel. We had a wonderful stay. Loved all the food and drink. Great service
Dieter Morre (5 months ago)
Excellent 5* hotel. First and foremost the service is first class. The staff is very welcoming, friendly, attentive and always helpful. A special thank you to Odysseia, guest relations, for her help in making our stay even better. The facilities are excellent, clean and tailored to both adult only guests as well as families with children. The rooms are very nice, comfortable and modern. The beds and pillows are especially comfortable. The breakfast buffet is one if not the best ever. Well presented with a choice to cater foe every taste. The outdoor space is well maintained and there is always a place to be found on the grass or the beach for a sunbed. The lounge card offers a very large choice of excellent prepared cocktails. The designer cocktails are a must to be tried. The spa offers also a variety of treatments to spoil oneself. This is really a good place to enjoy a luxury break from everyday routine.
Юрий Алеев (6 months ago)
Very beautiful landscape of hotel’s territory. Trees and flowers, roads for walking, benches and sunbeds for resting. Live music in the restaurant and good lights in the water in the evening. Excellent place for relax. I hope these guys will do it more better, because people love it.
Nenad Obradovic (8 months ago)
If you go with your children to Cyprus Amathus is probably the nicest hotel for you. The hotel has nice rooms. Food is very good, there is indeed a great choice. The staff is very friendly and available 24h. The cleaner is on an enviable level. Generally, very good hotel. I recommend..
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