Kalavasos Tenta refers to a beautiful historic hill.

Tenta hill is on the west side of Vasilikos valley, only 2.50 kilometres far from Kalavasos village. According to tradition, the name Tenta was given because St Helen set up a tent at that location in 327 A.D., on her return from Jerusalem where she had brought pieces of the Holy Cross to the island. The word Tenta in Greek Cypriot dialect means tent.

The hill is located strategically as it offers a panoramic view of the valley. The river of Vasilikos is nearby and easy to access. In addition, resources like gypsum, limestone quarry and red ochre are available, and a natural fortification is formed. Under these circumstances, a pre-historic settlement was favourable.

At the top of the hill, remains of a settlement that dates back to Pre-Ceramic Neolithic Period (7500 B.C. – 5200 B.C.) were unearthed. A characteristic of this settlement is the outer stone wall that surrounded the settlement, possibly serving as a defence wall. The structures were either curvilinear or circular with domed or flat roofs. The varying size of the excavated structures suggests that they were dwellings, storages, or outbuildings. Generally, the settlement was quite densely built up, consisting of a complex of approximately 40-45 buildings.

Important is the Structure 11 because it has a red ochre wall painting of a human figure with raised hands. This is one of the oldest samples of wall paintings found in Cyprus. The surviving structures stand to 1,5 meters in height with piers that lead to upper floors. In the settlement, 18 burials have also been excavated. The estimated population number does not exceed the 150 inhabitants. It is believed that the settlement was abandoned by the end of the 6th millennium but re-inhabited during the Ceramic Neolithic Period (4500 B.C.).

 

The site is currently open to visitors. The opening hours for the period between the 16th of September – 15th of April are 8:30-16:00, Monday-Friday. For the period of 16th of April – 15th of September, the opening hours are 09:30 - 17:00, Monday-Friday. The site is closed during weekends and public holidays. The entrance fee is 2,50€ and reduced fee is available for groups and for re-visitors. Unfortunately, the site is non wheelchair accessible.