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ΚΟURION - THE SANCTUARY OF APOLLO HYLATES

HISTORY OF THE SANCTUARY

The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates is recorded in the historical sources about Cyprus as one of the most important Sanctuaries on the island. Strabo wrote about a cap past the Kourion from where those who touched the Sacred Altar of Apollo were flung into the sea. Many inscribed testimonies, which have been found on the spot and in the city, confirm the historical sources.

The finds from the archaeological inquiry lead mainly to a Roman sanctuary and testify that there were in the area more ancient constructions incorporated in Roman edifices or demolished in the same period when the Sanctuary was intensively undergoing a restoration, southern the boundaries of the Roman temple.

The Romans revived a flourishing cult in the area since the Archaic times indeed. This cultis likely to have been practised even earlier in the Bronze Age, as it is shown by several shells belonging to the red burnished ceramic of the Early Bronze Age, which have been found adjacent to the circular altar but also according to the relevant legends about its heroes and inspirers.

A cult, which is testified on an architectural level only in the 7th or 8th century and which does not in any case constitute properly part of a settlement of any period.

This autonomy of the Sanctuary in relation to the settlement cannot but be linked with the same Sanctuary of Apollo Maleata at Epidaurus, the most ancient and important Sanctuary of Apollon in Argolis. The finds of the known "Temple boys" on the side of Ayia Anna show typically this cultic coherence. The most ancient inscription, which the name of god Apollo (5th / 4th century B.C.) is recorded on, is retrieved at the foot of one of them.

The name Hylates given to Apollo is recorded from the Hellenistic times and it certainly describes the prevailing nature of the cult of Apollo, which was performed until then, combining the primary characteristics of its eastern origin but also its subsequent western development in the Theology of the Hellenic twelve gods mainly as a healing god.

THE MONUMENTS OF THE SANCTUARY

ARCHAIC PERIOD (8th  - 7th B.C.)

Since this period fragments of the Archaic precinct and the Archaic circular altar are noticeable.

HELLENISTIC PERIOD 

In the late 4th and 3rd century, the first attempt to apply an architectural style with an influence from the Classic and Hellenistic Architecture has been observed as in Amathus. The eastern building of the Hellenistic Porticoes (stoa) was erected then (4th / 3rd B.C.) and behind it a house, the East Complex.

ROMAN PERIOD

The biggest constructive activity of the Sanctuary was observed in the first and second century with the erection of the Temple (small four-column porticoes temple with a cella and a vestibule with depictions. It is consolidated on a scaled groundwork. The non-fluted calcareous columns have brought the columns of a nabataean style known also as Cypro-Corinthian), the Circled Monument, which is interpreted as a place of tree worship, the Sacred Street, the south-eastern construction (exercise ground = palaestra), the north-western construction and in the second phase under the reign of Trajan, the Baths and the South Porticoes.  

 

 

The Sanctuary was destroyed by a big earthquake after the mid 4thcentury .A.D. and was abandoned.


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