Apollo Hylates

A Majestic Piece of Cyprus History

If you're ever in the lovely city of Limassol on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, be sure to visit the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates. This ancient site is steeped in history and is one of the most majestic pieces of Cyprus culture that you'll ever see. Dedicated to the god Apollo, this sanctuary was an important place for religious ceremonies and gatherings. Come explore its fascinating ruins today!

The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates in Limassol: A Majestic Piece of Cyprus History

After Kourion I headed over to the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates in Limassol. I have always felt that this is one of the best-preserved Greek monuments in all of Cyprus, along with Curium and Ancient Salamis. Considering that this location was used to worship Apollo as early as the 8th Century BC and the buildings and expansions carried on during the next 12 centuries, it is in fantastic condition. I have to wonder how many structures in the world are still standing after more than 2,000 years and of those are there many with this much significance?

It is like stepping back in time, and the extreme feeling of sanctity is still intact, exactly as it must have been under the same sky and those few tiny billows of clouds looking down 20 centuries earlier. The wall was built to surround the sanctuary, and it could be entered from the Kourion Gate and the Pafos Gate. During the Roman Period, the addition of the North and South buildings was believed to be used for accommodating visitors. Many of the monuments and structures standing today were from the first century when the site was completely changed into a different architectural style. Over the course of the early centuries, many restorations took place, and each was designed to improve the highly revered place of worship for the god of the Woodland.

Ruins of the Temple of Apollo Hylates against a cloud-dappled sky in Cyprus, emblematic of Hellenistic and Roman historical periods.
Where history meets spirituality: The Temple of Apollo Hylates stands as a testament to the cultural heritage of Cyprus

Wondering How

Each time I witness one of the sites of the Greek Period I find myself wondering exactly how they managed to place so many large stones precisely and how they crafted the detail on the columns. Some of the craftsmanship they possessed more than 2,000 years ago is not an easy task to replicate with today’s technology. You simply can’t create great buildings and structures without a tremendous amount of painstaking effort and organization. As amazing as it seems today I can’t imagine how glorious it must have appeared when it was newly built. The people would gather for their rituals in the state-of-the-art temple designed and completed by the best of the best of that era.

Sometimes Hearing Voices Can be a Good Thing

The pillars that have still stood despite the weather and the periodic moving and shifting of the ground beneath them are nothing short of astonishing. Modern-day buildings often last less than a century, and they start to come apart at the foundation, but these walls in Limassol are built to last forever.

As I walked the path throughout the site, it is if I expected to look over my shoulder and see citizens, long passed, following along behind me to gather for their ceremonial worship. With the gentle gasp of each small breeze, because it was such a hot day, I could almost hear the whispers of the thousands of voices who had been here before me. It was history and the sanctimony of this very spot that brought about those peculiar sentiments and not the sun beating down upon me with full force. The heat of the day was soon forgotten in this glorious space on our great island.

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