Friday, June 13, 2014

Idalion Archaeological Site

The Idalion Archaeological Site is located in Dali Village, about 25 km from the city of Nicosia, within the Nicosia district of Cyprus.

Idalion is considered one of the oldest city-states in Cyprus.  It's believed that Greeks founded Idalion around 1220 BC.  In 450 BC, Idalion was occupied by Phoenicians, and the city eventually declined under the King of Kition's rule.

This ancient city is divided into three sections: Ambeleri (the west acropolis), Moutti tou Arvili (the east acropolis), and the lower city area.  Fourteen temples dedicated to Aphrodite, Apollo, and Athena have been discovered in Idalion, including a great temple located on the top of the eastern acropolis, yet the temple ruins have not been preserved.

According to the information provided at the site's museum, "The ancient city, situated at Ampileri, Moutti tou Arvili, Petrera, and Agios Georgios localities, used be the capital of the ancient kingdom of Idalion.  It is situated 25 km southeast of Lefkosia (Nicosia) on the banks of Gialias, the second largest river of Cyprus.  The ancient site of Idalion is one of the few archaeological sites that has been left undisturbed and, therefore, ideal for archaeological investigation.  The excavated architectural remains, unearthed from the mid-19th century until today, have led the numerous excavators of the site to express their own opinions regarding the topography of the ancient city.  Everyone agrees that the capital of the ancient kingdom included two acropolises and the lower city, the area where the inhabitants lived.  The administration center was located on the west acropolis on Ampileri Hill and it included the Palace and the Temple of Athena.  The east acropolis on Moutti tou Arvili Hill functioned as a sacred center and included the Temples of Apollo, Aphrodite, and other gods.  The lower city was...fortified with a strong wall that started from the acropolises.  The cemeteries extended around the exterior perimeter of the wall, towards the plain.  The new American Mission, excavating since 1992 has brought the following new evidence to light: A temple in the central area of Moutti tou Arvili Hill, suggested to be dedicated to Adonis." 

Excavations at Idalion's palatial complex on Ampileri Hill continued from 1991 through 2012.  According to the excavations, these ancient ruins date back to the Classical and Early Hellenistic periods, as well as the Cypro-Archaic period.

The Phoenician Archive is considered the most important excavation discovery from the Idalion Archaeological Site.  It includes 733 inscriptions, which were mostly written in black ink on pottery sherds, marble, and unworked stones.  While most of the inscriptions are in fragments, there are some complete inscriptions.

Artifacts from the Idalion Archaeological Site are located at the Idalion Museum (also known as the Local Museum of Ancient Idalion), as well as the Cyprus Archaeological Museum in Nicosia.

The Idalion Museum has two exhibition halls, and visitors are able to watch a short film about the ancient city of Idalion.

According to the museum's brochure, "The Local Museum of Idalion was founded in 2007 with the aim to promote the rich finds of the region of Idalion and later to function as a visitors' center for the archaeological site in which it is located.  The archaeological site of Idalion is one of the most important sites in Cyprus, with rich finds now adorning the most famous museums in the world.  The ancient city was founded, according to tradition, by the Achaean hero of the Trojan war, Chalcanor, descendant of Teucer, the founder of Salamis....  The exhibits of the museum represent all the chronological phases of the history of Idalion and come from both the old and the more recent excavations of the area of the ancient city and from both settlements and cemeteries.  In the first exhibition hall the visitor is provided with information on the history of the site and its excavation, as well as photographs with the most important finds now housed in museums abroad....  In the second gallery, inscriptions which witness the conquest of the kingdom are exhibited, as well as part of the archive of the Phoenician administration of the city, funerary monuments, pottery types and objects of daily use of all periods....portray the important role of the economy of Idalion to the cultural development of the area, which constitutes today the focus of many studies and admiration worldwide."

The Idalion Archaeological Site and Idalion Museum are enjoyable for both local residents and tourist to explore, especially those desiring to view more of Cyprus' archaeological history.

Site: Idalion Archaeological Site and Idalion Museum. 

Category: Archaeological Site and Museum. 

Location: Dali Village, about 25 km from the city of Nicosia, within the Nicosia district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 22444818. 

Operating Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM on Monday to Friday. Closed on Saturday and Sunday. 

Entrance Fee: €2,50. 

Date of Visit: 2011.

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