Sunday, March 23, 2014

Maa-Palaeokastro Archaeological Site

The Maa-Palaeokastro Archaeological Site (also known as Maa-Palaiokastro Settlement) and the Mycenaean Colonization Museum (also known as the Maa-Palaeokastro Museum) are both situated at the same site.  The archaeological site and museum are located on a small peninsula near Coral Bay, which is within the Paphos district of Cyprus.

This archaeological site is once where the first Mycenaean Greeks (also referred to as Achaeans or Ageans) settled in Cyprus.  According to history, these inhabitants migrated from mainland Greece around 1200 BC.

It is determined that Hellenism, which is defined as the spread of Greek culture, throughout the island of Cyprus originated in the Maa-Palaeokastro settlement.  Even today, Cypriots have a close connection to the Greek culture, including the main language of Cyprus, which is Greek.

According to a sign at the museum, "The settlement at Maa-Palaeokastro was established as a fortified outpost on a naturally protected site on the west coast of the island....  Apart from its formidable fortifications, Maa-Palaeokastro has not yielded any precious finds.  Yet it is significant because it is closely connected with that period of history which is marked by the Aegean colonization of Cyprus."

The excavated ruins of the Maa-Palaeokastro Archaeological Site consists of small houses and public buildings, as well as fortification walls.  There are two main ancient fortification walls.  While one wall was built along the sea edge, the other wall was built along the land to protect the settlement.  The ancient ruins of several small houses and public building have architectural features that reflect the Greek influence that was previously unknown to Cyprus.

According to another sign at the museum, "During the first habitation phase buildings at Maa-Palaeokastro were large and well-built, with plastered floors and walls.  Some rooms had a built hearth in the center of a megaron (hall), a characteristic of Aegean architecture....  The clay bath tub, very characteristic of Mycenaean Greece and Crete at that time, indicates a clear Aegean influence."

The settlement was initially destroyed by fire, but it was quickly rebuilt by the inhabitants.  However, history indicates that the Maa-Palaeokastro site was eventually abandoned around 1150 BC.

Today, the Maa-Palaeokastro Archaeological Site includes the previously mentioned settlement ruins, as well as the Mycenaean Colonization Museum.

The Mycenaean Colonization Museum is actually very small museum that consists of only one room.  The museum depicts the colonization of Cyprus by the Mycenaean Greeks, as well as the cultural significance of this archeological site.  However, the Cypriot Department of Antiquities announced that this museum is currently closed for restoration work, as of January 2014.

The Maa-Palaeokastro Archaeological Site is a delightful site for both locals and tourists to explore, even if the Mycenaean Colonization Museum is currently closed.  It's a picturesque area, especially since the intriguing ancient ruins are situated on lovely little peninsula.

Site: Maa-Palaeokastro Archaeological Site and Mycenaean Colonization Museum. 

Category: Archaeological Site and Museum. 

Location: Near Coral Bay, within the Paphos district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM on Monday to Sunday. 

Entrance Fee: €2,50. 

Date of Visit: 2011.

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