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Ancient ruins at Mare Monte site

23 April 2013

Construction work next to the Mare Monte Hotel in Alsancak has unearthed archaeological remains.

This area has now been sealed off by the Department of Antiquities and all work stopped.

It is thought that the ruins are linked to the ancient kingdom of Lambousa; the area will be declared protected.

Lambousa, where Lapithos (Lapta) gets its name, translates as ‘the shining one’ and was once a prosperous area, and is thought to have been founded in the eight century BC by Phoenician traders. Parts of the area still remain today and can be reached by walking westwards along the coast from Mare Monte Beach.

During the Roman era, the area became a prosperous port for the town of Lapta, but after continual Arab raids it became abandoned by the thirteenth century.

There are Roman era fish tanks, which are large rectangular pools that have been constructed by cutting into the rock. The remains of the Roman harbour wall can also be seen, with two churches.

Early in the twentieth century, a number of silver and gold objects from the Byzantine period were also discovered in the region and these have become known collectively as the Lambousa Treasure. It is thought that the objects date from between 627 and 630, and may have been buried in order to protect them from raids carried out by the Arabs. However, these finds were sent off and split between various museums, including the Medieval Museum in Limassol, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the British Museum in London.

The  silver spoons with animal motifs shown in the main photograph are part of the Lambousa Treasure and are on display at the British Museum, London.

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