Kourion Archaeological Site

So what do you think of this amazing place!!  We just loved our visit to the ancient city of Kourion.  It definitely does make for a fabulous day out and there was no better time to visit this archaeological site than when Kate arrived for a week.

As we approached the gate to gain access to the site we passed on the right hand side what appeared to be caves when in fact they were ancient tombs….

One of the main attractions of the ruins of Kourion is, without doubt, the large and very impressive amphitheatre from the 2nd century BC.  Although it was originally built as a theatre, it is believed that at some point in time it was used mostly for gladiator games.  In the centre photograph above it shows the entrance to the lower ground where it is believed that animals were kept before being lead into the arena.

Of course this is not all the original amphitheatre and what is seen now is an imposing curved auditorium that includes additions and renovations made during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and which seats some 3000 spectators. The stage currently only preserves its foundations, but it originally rose to the full length of the auditorium.

Today the amphitheatre is a venue for cultural events that include music and theatrical performances during the summer months.  Perhaps there will be a performance on when you visit Cyprus this summer.

 

Kourion was an important city kingdom. It  consisted of many monuments, many of which date from the Roman period. Although the amphitheatre is the most impressive of them all the city also had a forum, the Nymphaeum, Public Baths, Fountain House, the House of the Gladiators and the House of Achilles.

The total destruction of the village of Kourion and the death of more than 500 people was the result of a massive earthquake that shook Cyprus during the 4th century AD. Kourion suffered from numerous devastating earthquakes between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, until a severe seismic event, believed to have occurred at approximately AD 365, had led to its permanent destruction.  Cyprus is still subjected to minor earthquakes which have no adverse effect on the population but of course the building method these days is very different to that in the time of the Kingdom of Kourion.

And of course the view from this once magnificent city was spectacular.

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Interested??  Find out more about Kourion!!

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It’s Carnival Time!!! Hoorah!!

The Bunting was hanging right down the Coral Bay Strip when we went to dinner last night – WHY I asked, what’s happening I asked Stavros, only to be told it was Carnival Time in Cyprus, and the festivities all related to the Greek Orthodox Easter.

After some research on my faithful laptop it seems that because of Easter falling on April 8, 2018 it is the earliest Orthodox Easter for the last eight years, a date which won’t be equalled again until 2029. Which means in Cyprus we’re about to hit one of the most decadent fortnights of the year… Count back the 40 days of Lent, allow another 14 or so for the upcoming festive period, and – fanfare please – it’s Carnival time!

Shops have been full with thousands of fancy dress costumes, more than I have ever seen in the UK for Hallowe’en, with every costume and mask imaginable.  It seems that Cyprus takes its Carnivals very seriously.

It seems that Limassol is the true home of the Cyprus Carnival; even as far back as the 70s, local revelries were described as “two whole weeks during which the people of Limassol do little else other than party every single day, drinking, dancing and staying up all night. There’s lots of fun, practical jokes, and some love-making: the three elements which the people of Limassol live and breathe during the days of the Carnival.”

These days, little has changed there is 14 days of parades, parties, dances, competitions, exhibitions and serenades enticing thousands to the town. 

Having never been to one of the carnivals it was the ideal opportunity especially when Kate (Phill’s lovely daughter) was visiting and it was right on our doorstep in Coral Bay to get out there amongst the crowds to support all the local businesses that were taking part.  The Coral Bay Strip was closed for the day and the music from the many speakers strategically placed down the strip made for an amazing carnival atmosphere.  

Lots of photographs were being taken by families and friends of the amazing floats that had been created and the atmosphere was buzzing.  It seemed that everyone was participating on one way or another.  Kate and I really enjoyed seeing the kids all dressed up and dancing.

This took my back to my childhood where there was the Carnival in Ayrshire where they had the floats going through the town and they crowned the carnival queen and everyone knew everyone in the community. 

What an amazing day with streamers and spray foam and string!! Who knows we could be on the float next year – keep an eye out !!

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Could it be Scotland?

I could have closed my eyes and been transported back to the west coast of Scotland on one of its few sunny summer days, I couldn’t believe the view, the greenery and the mountains it was like being home in Scotland, but instead it was Cyprus!!  I think it took me back to my camping days (long time ago) in Skye

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Our drive took us to the Asprokremos Reservoir near Kouklia.  We had been talking about going for a drive there for a few weeks so that we could see how much water was in the reservoir.   We also wanted to compare the reservoir from our previous visit in December 2016 to see if the water levels were higher ALAS not.

We have seen a few dams on our travels around the island in the last year but didn’t realise that there were actually 108 dams and reservoirs in Cyprus and we have only ever stopped at two!!   Asprokremos and Mavrokolympos near Coral Bay.

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February 2018 – Water Levels Lower 

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December 2016 

After taking photographs of the reservoir we headed towards the Troodos Mountains through Choletria and then to Nata.

As we headed towards Nata we couldn’t believe how green it was who could believe that we were in Cyprus and also that Cyprus could ever be so green but of course we do get some rain in the cooler seasons and everything starts to grow again, the fields turn green as the grass grows and all around looks beautiful, buds on the trees and flowers opening up and most importantly the grass is green instead of the burnt out dried landscape that we tend to see in the summer months when the temperatures soar.  Nonetheless the weather in the cooler season is still lovely with temperatures reaching an average of 18 degrees most days and Phill is living proof that it is warm as he lives in shorts daily from morning until night 7 days a week.

Our drive through Anarita and down to Timi was very interesting – passing goats, sheep and goat herders on the narrow roads.  We even crossed a bridge where the river flowed under it towards the reservoir.  At this time of year when the snow is on the Troodos Mountains there is quite a lot of water running down the hills from Mount Olympus.

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What an amazing view!!

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Street Art

A few years ago, street art in Cyprus was considered little more than vandalism, frowned upon by most and totally disregarded by many.  Whilst the majority still hesitate to accept the practice, there is no denying that street art is a far bigger deal on the island in recent years especially leading to the Culture year of 2017, with festivals encouraging talented young artists to jazz up public spaces and buildings in need of a colourful revamp, while many derelict and abandoned spaces, parking lots, and empty walls around Paphos have come to life with all sorts of brilliant designs.

With this in mind we took to the streets of Paphos Old Town to find more of the art work mentioned above.   Absolutely amazing display of various colourful paintings on empty walls and car parking spaces.

Car Parking

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A few talents joined forces to create this impressive graffiti in the Makarios Avenue parking lot in Paphos –  as part of the Paphos Street Art Square Festival to add colour to the streets of the seaside town.

The art work below is shown on one of the electricity boxes.  Isn’t it amazing?  We found this one at the start of our walk into the narrow streets of the old town.

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Phill and I probably haven’t found them all yet….do you think you can find some more for us?…..

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Just Loving it, Christmas Day 2017 and 21 Degrees

An amazing morning to wake up to.  Not only was it Christmas day but the previous days coptic storm was gone and the skies were clear!!  There was a stillness in the air, everything was quiet and calm and most importantly clear blue skies and a blazing sun shone down as we sat on the terrace drinking coffee.  We could also hear the waves lapping the shores of Coral Bay which just showed us how quiet it was.  What a difference from yesterday!!

A walk down to the beach is what is needed on Christmas day so off we went.  Temperatures were rising as the morning progressed and we started to feel the sun beating down on us around a staggering 21 degrees.  What’s not to like !!

Coral Bay Beach

We passed Coral Bay Beach and onto Corralia Beach where as with lots of Cypriot beaches there was those who had come to the beach for the family ritual of a Christmas Dip in the Mediterranean and those mad enough to do so for fun.  It has to be done they say!! and it couldn’t have been a better day for it.  Christmas Day 2017 and 21 degrees.

Corralia Beach in Coral Bay

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Super Yacht “A” Arrives in Coral Bay

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen in the online-news that the Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko was sailing around Cyprus coastline in his luxury super sailing yacht named  “A”.  I was so desperate to see it but I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Well this morning we woke up to the yacht being docked in Coral Bay.  Quickly getting dressed and grabbing the camera and phone Phill and I jumped in the car and shot off to Coral Bay Beach and Corralia Beach to take photographs of this magnificent vessel.

At 468ft in length (length of 1 ½ football pitches), with ship masts nearing 300ft high(taller than Big Ben), ‘Sailing Yacht A’ is the world’s biggest sailing ship.  Cruise speed is 18mph, with a top speed of 24mph. The hull is made of steel, with a teak-finish deck. The ship is said to have cost the Russian Billionaire £360 million to build.

Interesting things about this sailing yacht:-

  1. Her three masts tower up to 328 feet (100 metres) above the water level, with a crow’s nest at 60 meters, there are 24 shell doors in the hull
  2. It took 4 years to build
  3. A helicopter pad can be found on one of the eight decks
  4. The length of the ship is 468ft –  the length of 13 London Buses.  It incorporates carbon fibre to keep the super vessel’s weight down
  5. She has 8 decks and features a 1 ft thick glass underwater observation area, located in the keel
  6. She accommodates 20 guests and a crew of 54
  7. Her decks are connected by several elevators and sailing yacht A will carry a submarine. Her total sail area will be more than 40.000 sq.ft, or more than 3,700m2.
  8. Bomb proof glass and 40 security cameras

The boats below sailing out from Coral Bay Beach are heading to the super yacht where the boats are docked within the actual yacht.  How amazing is that !! It can hold a submarine and 4 vehicles/boats!!

And even better the weather is still amazing here in Coral Bay – temperatures in the region of 24 degrees today and lots of people on the beach, sunbathing or taking a stroll and why not with these spectacular views today.

All Photographs by Fionna Morley

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Could it be a Coptic Storm

I think we could be experiencing our first Coptic Storm of the season although from reading the calendar detailing Coptic Storms in Cyprus we seem to be a bit early as it isn’t due until 26th November and yesterday saw the start of this one which was the 13th November – the calendar, I’ve been told is accurate to 2/3 days so not sure about this one.  Perhaps I could be wrong…..it’s not unheard of you know!! 

Anyway yesterday saw a very still sunny morning where not even a blade of grass or flower moved  in the morning sun turn into the windiest day every 2 seconds later – from leaving the chair outside to getting upstairs there was a gale and the garden furniture blew over with a very loud bang and the chair cushions ended up floating in the pool.  I quickly ran downstairs to drag the cushions out of the pool before they got a chance to sink and then moved all the furniture into a corner to avoid being blown back towards the pool.

Although the umbrellas weren’t up 2 of them are in shreds in some places where the wind has been so bad.  Lilo’s, balls and a few other inflatable items blew from one side of the garden into the pool and then out the other side.  I was amazed at the sheer strength of the wind.

Today there is no wind and the only evidence now is the number of leaves that have been blown of trees and bushes which have gathered in corners and in pools.  However, there is a haze over the sun today and the visibility is really poor.  Can’t see the sea from the balcony.  Take a look at the difference below:-

Believe it or not it is still sunny although the sky doesn’t look blue – all strange.

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 1.50.42 PMNow if I am right we are on Coptic Storm El Micness – maybe someone else can tell me if I’m right on this one or did we just go through a windy day and we aren’t on the 2nd day of a Coptic Storm – who knows!!

If you want to find out more about the Coptic Storms in Cyprus why not read my blog from earlier this year.

 

 

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