Ancient Cyprus - Choirokoitia Tour
Duration: Half Day
Steeped in history and mythology, the beautiful Mediterranean island of Cyprus boasts a wealth of archeological treasures, many of which date back thousands of years. This tour will introduce you to the ancient village of Choirokoitia, one of the world's most important Neolithic settlements. Step back 9,000 years in time during your holiday in Cyprus as you explore circular stone houses and tombs dating back to 7,000 BC, whilst learning about the inhabitants of this ancient farming community. Exploring one of the earliest human settlements in Cyprus is a fascinating experience not to be missed.
Located about 20 miles (32km) from Larnaca, atop a hill in the valley of the Maroni River, the ancient settlement of Choirokoitia (also known as Khirokitia) provides a fascinating insight into Neolithic culture. Occupied from the 7th to the 4th millennium BC, the village is one of the most important and best preserved prehistoric sites in the eastern Mediterranean. It was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1998.
Excavations dating back to the early 1930s have brought to light one of the earliest Neolithic cultures in the world and the beginnings of civilisation in Cyprus, divulging a wealth of information about the village inhabitants and their daily lives. The origin of the Neolithic Cypriots is not known for certain, but it is possible that the Neolithic villages on the island were a result of colonization from the Middle East.
The beehive-shaped stone houses were believed to belong to primitive farmers, who spent their days farming wheat and barley in the surrounding lands in addition to herding cattle and hunting with stone tools. Women were engaged in spindling, weaving cloths and making pottery, which was beautifully decorated. Flint blades, implements, pottery and many other archaeological findings from Choirokoitia are displayed in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia.
Visitors can explore the circular stone dwellings and numerous tombs that lie within the settlement's thick fortified stone wall. Although much of the site lies in ruins, four of the houses have been reconstructed from local mud and stone to show visitors how these early farmers lived.
The huts are not very high, signifying that the Neolithic Cypriots were short and sturdy. On average, the men were about 1.6m tall and the women were about 1.5m tall. Life expectancy was very short, the average age of death being around 34 years, and there was a high infant mortality rate. It was customary to bury the dead under the floors of the houses of the living relatives, keeping them close in death as in life.
A visit to this unique open-air museum is an ideal way to immerse yourself in Cyprus’ ancient history and rich cultural heritage.
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