There’s still time to follow Ariadne’s mythic thread winding back through Limassol’s long and fascinating past. A temporary exhibition, “Amathous of Cyprus, a city most ancient” at Limassol Archaeological Museum is due to close on 7th July 2017. Cultural explorers and the interested visitor, alike, may even wish to pick up the thread of Athenian legend, themselves.
Just a short distance from the Londa Beach Hotel, the fabled temples of Aphrodite and Adonis may be reimagined among the excavated remains of Amathous, which is also linked to the legend of Ariadne. In Athenian myth, Amathous is where Ariadne fell in love at first sight with Theseus, who had come to slay the Minotaur. Ariadne helped Theseus in his quest by giving him a sword and a ball of thread, so that he could find his way out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth.
Of course, there is no such difficulty for Londa guests to find their way to and around the nearby site, which has free access to explore among the pillars, pediments and pottery shards of Limassol’s own eternal city.
Fascinating story of the public and private life of its citizens
It was in 2014, that the Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Communications and Works, in collaboration with the French School at Athens announced the completion of a 40 year archaeological investigation into the ancient, inner harbour city of Amathous. The area is located amongst sandy dunes – the Greek name for “sand” being ammos, which was adopted for the ancient kingdom. While the origins are unclear, Amathous is known to have been inhabited since at least 1050BC.
The exhibition, which opened last October, covers the region’s long history along four different “Ariadne threads” of its own for visitors to follow. The history of Amathous is retold right up to the first centuries of the Christian period through the fascinating story of the public and private life of its citizens, their evolving rituals and customs, and commercial and cultural exchanges.
Amathous is believed to have been founded during the Iron Age by the Eteocypriots, which means “true” or “original Cypriot”. Over time, the region came to be populated in turn by the Greeks, Phoenicians, Persians, Ptolemies and the Romans. Although Amathous appears to have been abandoned in the late seventh century, it was from the medieval period that the inhabitants began to refer to Amathous as “Palia Lemesos”.
Drawing visitors from every corner of the globe
Today, modern Limassol, which is 10km east of the ancient city can still be referred to as Lemesos, and of course, is now drawing visitors from every corner of the globe. The total number of tourists in Cyprus in 2016 was 3.18 million, according to the Government of Cyprus Statistical Service, of which, an average of 13 per cent of visitors stayed in Limassol throughout the course of the year.
Of course, not every visitor will spend every moment of the day exploring the archaeology of Southern Cyprus. But for those who come to the island seeking to retrace the ancient footsteps of the Greek gods, there is an abundance of cultural delights to explore.
International Museum Day could be just the ticket to begin your journey back in time. The Cyprus Theatre Museum and the Patticheio Municipal Museum’s Historic Archive Centre of Studies of Limassol are organising “A morning walk at the museums” on Sunday 21st May 2017 from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon. Entry is free of charge but your place on the tour needs to be reserved in advance.
On the terrace of Londa’s Caprice Restaurant, relaxing at the end of your day’s journey back through Limassol’s timeline.. your eye once again wanders out across the Mediterranean skyline, tracing Ariadne’s shiny thread, half-glimpsing shadowy shapes…