Saturday 12th May
We both slept well & thought we should get out early to visit Kourion, an ancient abandoned Roman town set in hills above a fine small plain. Mistake one was that nothing was open before about 8.30. We had walked round all the cafes but none would serve us as they were setting up for the day. Eventually we managed to get orange juices across the road & we set off to find the local bus depot after a couple of false starts as street signs were very thin on the ground.
At the bus station we were told to take a No 16 bus out & were given a timetable but had no idea where to get off. After 35 minutes through the suburbs and some odd loops we were nearly the last on the bus but a young guy told us to get off outside a big closed café. From there we climbed up behind it on a road at the edge of a big limestone cliff & saw the site.
This was quite large but very well preserved & researched in comparison with the one we saw in Salamis. It had been occupied before the Romans but they developed quite a large city with fine baths, houses, an agora & a large basilica, held until attacked by the Arabs in the mid 700s AD.
We walked around the site for nearly 3 hours & eventually retired to the café below for iced cappuccinos.
After we caught another bus which took us to Kolossi Castle a medieval Keep built in the late 1100s AD & passed to the Templars & Hospitallers when they were driven out of Acre in the Holy Land in the late 1200s. It is an excellent example of the architecture, beautifully restored & with a sugar mill attached as the local land is fertile & is well known for wine as well. The castle had been rebuilt a few times after extensive earthquake damage over the centuries.
One of the odd anomalies about the area is that a large part of the rea of the peninsula was ceded to the UK when Cyprus became independent in the mid 1960s, in perpetuity & is under British Army control although we didn't see any evidence of this. Luckily for us the weather was great in the mid 20s with a great sea breeze although there was quite a cloud build up.
Leaving the castle we caught another local bus back to our room for a well earned rest.