The legacy of a prosperous ancient kingdom along with its inevitable decay is worthy of world admiration.

The Ancient Idalion is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Cyprus. In fact, many of its rich finds are exhibited in some of the most famous museums in the world. The Local Archaeological Museum of Ancient Idalion was founded in 2007 with the aim to promote the rich finds of the region of Idalion and later to function as a visitors’ centre for the archaeological site. Idalion is believed to have been founded by the Greeks around 1220 B.C. The worship of Apollo Amyclae reveals that the Greeks came from Laconia.  

This ancient city is divided into three sections: the west acropolis named “Ambeleri”, the east acropolis named “Moutti tou Arvili”, and the lower city area. The initial inhabitants had settled on the western acropolis whereas the city later expanded to the north and to the east, reaching around 10 thousand inhabitants by 500 B.C. A sanctuary dedicated to Aphrodite was located at the eastern acropolis. The establishment of the Kingdom of Idalion which was first mentioned in Assyrian written sources of the 7th century B.C., point to the climax of the economic and cultural floruit which eventually declined around 450 B.C. when its capital was besieged and captured by the Phoenician kings of Kition. 

The famous “Idalion Tablet”, a bronze tablet engraved with a script in the Cypriot syllabary, was unearthed in the western acropolis. The tablet testifies the events of the siege and submission of Idalion. It records that during the reign of Staskypros, the city was besieged by the Phoenician kings of Kition with the help of the Persian Medes. King Staskypros and the “city” made an agreement with the physician Onasilos and his brother: the physicians would provide health services for the causalities and they will be rewarded with money or land. The engraved agreement was placed in the temple of Athena, the main goddess of the city, suggesting that such agreements and oaths were inviolable. The tablet was discovered around 1850, then owned by the French duke de Luyn until it was bequeathed by the National Library of Paris in 1862. 

Important is the fact that the agreement was not only made between the physician and the crowned head, but citizens participated too. This shows that the king was democratic in governing even in times of emergency. The joint decision by the king and citizens designates the nature of the city, apparently influenced by the Athenian city models. Like the rest of the island, after the Phoenician’s defeat, the city of Idalion lost its prestige when it became part of the vast Ptolemaic Kingdom. Nonetheless, it remained a sculptural centre with a unique character that dominated many areas of the island.

The exhibits of the local museum represent all the chronological phases of the history of Idalion and come from old and more recent excavations conducted in the area of the ancient city and of the cemeteries. In the first exhibition hall, the visitor is provided with information on the history of the site and its excavation, as well as photographs with the most important finds exhibited in museums abroad. Carefully exhibited in the same hall are the Proto-Aeolic capitals which adorned the funerary monuments and the palace, and two examples of high quality coroplastic and glyptic art. In the second hall, exhibited are inscriptions about the conquest of the kingdom, a part of the archives of the Phoenician administration, funerary monuments, pottery types and objects for daily use of all periods, all accompanied with explanatory texts that outline the importance of each period. There are also imported pottery from Attica and typical examples of clay and stone statuary on display. A special part of the exhibition is dedicated to material such as photographs, storage jars and other small objects of high artistic value that portray the important role of the economic development in Idalion to the cultural development of the area. Today the finds in Idalion have been the focus of many studies and the ancient city is admired worldwide.

You can visit the archaeological site between Monday-Friday from 8:30-16:00.



You can visit the archaeological site between Monday-Friday from 8:30-16:00.