Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Salamis


 I loved exploring Salamis - arriving in the early morning mist before the sun had broken through, we had it to ourselves. Strewn around its ancient stones were carpets of wild flowers adding to the enchantment of this magical sleeping city
The outer buttressed walls, with the sea just visible beyond, gives some idea of the scale of this city from antiquity.
Salamis was one of the most opulent cities in Cyprus during the classical period with a history dating back to the 11th century BC.  Due to Salamis' strategic location beside the sea it became an important commerical port at the end of the 8th century BC and was particularly important for exporting copper
In connection with sea transportation we saw these remains of an ancient 4th century BC Greek merchant ship. First discovered on the seabed in 1965 and now housed in a special room at the castle in Kyrenia.
The Gymnasium was built during the first century BC and is where young Greek men gathered for physical workouts and cultural training. Each year one person from the town was elected to financially support the gymnasium and provide the athletes with olive oil used to rub into their bodies before the games.

Located near to the Gymnasium is the Frigidarium - a cold water bathing room where slaves provided the althletes with massages before they went into the Gymnasium. After their workout they would then visit the Tepidarium - medium hot water bath followed by the caldarium - hot water bath.
Replicas of classical statuary discovered at Salamis stand around the site 
St Barnabas and St.Paul visited Salamis establishing a church a few miles away. 
After surviving eathquakes and pirate raids the city was abandoned in the c7th AD when the population moved to what is now Famagusta
For thousands of years Salamis was completely covered in sand which helped to protect the remains until excavation work began in the mid c20th There is still a very large area awaiting further excavation work again lying hidden beneath sand and Pine trees.
Salamis cannot be compared to other well known sites such as Pompeii and Ephesus, but it is a lovely place to visit and a privilege to be able to enjoy it on your own.
Although the city was originally founded by the Greeks much of it was destroyed during several earthquakes, and most of what is visible today was built by the Romans
The amphitheatre is unusal in as much as it is free standing. Most Roman theatres tended to be built into hillsides.   
The latrines were a social gathering place for Roman men - the large area of latrines at Salamis had 44 seats with fresh water flowing constantly through the deep channels removing waste out into the sea.



















The remaining marble columns and flooring reveal just how palatial Salamis must have been









 Lovely detail in these two Roman marble solomonic corinthian columns sculptured and carved in opposing directions

The old Roman road continues ever onwards to yet even more hidden treasures awaiting discovery

40 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary, What a delight exploring such fascinating ruins, especially when the unexcavated sections add an air of mystery about what is still left to be found. The boat is fascinating in its construction, and in how it survived over 2000 years underwater!
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - one of my granddaughters is an archaeologist, and suspect that she would be in her element given the chance to excavate here.
      We too were really surprised at the condition of this ancient craft.

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  2. Dear Rosemary, your travel blogumentaries are always a welcome delight! Beautiful!

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    1. Dear Linda - what a lovely descriptive word 'blogumentaries' I am so pleased that you enjoyed it

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  3. Your descriptions and photographs of this ancient city make me feel I have visited too.
    The plants and wildflowers soften the old stones, but have been kept tidy enough so as not to overtake the ruins. As usual, your photos have such clarity.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences of these wonderful places.

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    1. Thank you Betty - I am pleased that you felt as if you had visited along with me.

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  4. Wonderful photos, what a beautiful place. Reminds me of some of the ancient Turkish cities.

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    1. Cyprus is very close to Turkey, in fact you can see Turkey's coastline when looking out to sea

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  5. Beautiful post about the antiquity. So much still underground, that will take ages to dig out.

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    1. It must be an archaeologists dream

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  6. Fascinating as your posts always are! I didn't know what to expect from the title of this post, I knew it would be interesting and this certainly was!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Amy and felt sufficiently intrigued by the title of the post to visit - thank you

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  7. Spring flowers always look spectacular set against an ancient stone or two.

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    1. Being freshly covered by spring flowers made it look lovely

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  8. What a beautiful place...lovely pictures!!
    Have a great week Rosemary, always so nice visiting your blog.
    Love from Titti

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    1. Thank you Titti - hope your week goes well too for you

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  9. Not a place I'm familiar with but looks interesting and always nice when you explore ruins without the tourist crowds.

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    1. It is not one of the greatest sites from antiquity but who knows what else may still lie hidden awaiting discovery!

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  10. All is fascinating as well as beautiful, and it is intriguing to read how civilised they were in ancient times. The Frigidarium, the Tepidarium and the Caldarium made me smile - such great words! The pair of beautiful marble columns would be welcome in my garden any day :)

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    1. I am always surprised at the sophistication and the splendour in which they lived

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  11. Amazing what ones finds when the top cover is removed.
    Very interesting Rosemary.

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    1. Glad you found it interesting Margaret

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  12. This part of the world has so much to see. I'd never heard of Salamis but it must have been palatial indeed.

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    1. I had never heard of it either Jessica until I read about the area once we had booked the trip

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  13. Fabulous shots, Rosemary. Salamis was pretty much my first experience of visiting a classical site outside the UK and it remains etched into my memory, though I went in September and it was considerably more arid than your visit. I particularly remember the curious arch (if that's what it is) in your third shot and finding the remains of the old harbour/quay under the sea. A good bar nearby, too, I think, where the Efes Pilsner was ice-cold. Famous battle at Salamis, of course. Anyway, you've given everyone a treat with your photos - as usual - and commentary!

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    1. I am pleased that this post reminded you of your own visit Mike - I had imagined that after their boiling hot summers these areas would look very parched.
      My understanding is that the arch is a supporting buttress arch to the city walls, but I might be wrong.

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  14. A fabulous site that I actually never heard of . I was struck by the practicality of the toilets used by the and how everything seemed so well organized , and love the gorgeous tiles.

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    1. They were very sophisticated, weren't they?

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  15. These photos are really wonderful.. as usually your photos are.

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    1. Salamis is a wonderful place to visit

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  16. That must have been so magical walking around this ancient city. It reminds me of Pompeii without the crowds and surrounded by nature. It always amazes me how developed civilization was so long ago. Sarah x

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    1. Having this place to wander alone made it of great appeal to us.

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  17. It amazes me how well it is preserved.

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    1. I love these sites from antiquity and would love to know just what else is hidden beneath the trees and sand

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  18. Thank you for introducing such an interesting great ancient civilization. I like the colors of Salamis including the yellow wild flowers which I think looks like the colors of my favorite part of Cotswalds. I really enjoyed Offa's Dyke, too.

    Yoko

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    1. Thank you Yoko - yes, you are right again the colours do resemble the Cotswolds, perhaps that is why I liked it so much.

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  19. This is an incredible peek into an ancient civilization - thank you, Rosemary. I love imagining the people of the time and the way it must have been.

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    1. Salamis is firmly lodged in my memory forever Yvette.

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