Kourion, also known as Curium, is an impressive archaeological site near Limassol in Cyprus containing mostly Ancient Roman and Byzantine ruins.
In fact, it is believed that the site of Kourion was first inhabited during Neolithic times, with the earliest evidence dating back to 4,500-3,900 BC, but that the town itself was founded in the 13th century BC by the Argives.
Over the centuries, Kourion has played important roles in many regional conflicts. During the Cypriot uprising against Persia in the 5th century BC, its king – Stasanor – betrayed his country, lending his support and troops to the Persians. However, Kourion later supported Alexander the Great’s fight against the Persians in the 4th century BC.
Kourion continued to be inhabited throughout the Roman and Byzantine periods, with the establishment of buildings, monuments and other structures from these times still visible today. Perhaps the most memorable site to be seen today at Kourion is its ancient theatre. Still intact and able to seat up to 3,500 spectators, the theatre at Kourion dates back to the second or third century AD, although there would have been a theatre here from the second century BC.
The theatre is not the only thing to see at Kourion. The site includes the remains of a 3rd century AD Roman market which includes some public baths and a Nymphaeum.
Several additional ancient buildings remain, including part of the 4th century AD House of Achilles – thought to have been a reception centre – with its mosaic floors and the third century AD House of the Gladiators, so named because some of its mosaics depict gladiatorial battles. The complex of Eustolios is another fascinating site, this having been an affluent 4th to 5th century private residence in Kourion and including a bathing complex.
Kourion also possesses evidence of early Christianity, both at the complex of Eustolios and by way of its early Christian basilica, a 5th century AD church at the site. Other sites of Kourion include the remains of a stadium and the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates. However, it is worth noting that these latter two sites are slightly separate from the rest of the archaeological park.
There is a small visitors centre where you can see a scale model of the whole site, which will help orientate your visit.
Getting to Kourion
Kourion is located 19km west of Lemesos on the road towards Pafos. The easiest way to travel there is to drive. There are other interesting attractions nearby such as Kolossi Castle.