THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF CYPRUS
September 2017

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE ITINERARY

  • st-lazarus-church-larnaca-cyp17
  • nicosia-view
  • kourion-mosaic-cyp17

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF CYPRUS

Late summer is a good time to visit Cyprus and the tour has been designed to introduce and explore this fascinating past as well as opportunities to discover the vibrant contemporary society that awaits travellers to the island today.

After two days exploring the area around Larnaca the tour heads west to coastal Limassol and Paphos both home to spectacular Greek, Roman, medieval and Ottoman sites, museums and monuments. We leave the coast and head inland to the forested Troodos Mountains where picturesque villages and architecture awaits.
The tour ends in the capital Nicosia where we spend six nights. While here there are day trips to Northern Cyprus visiting Salamis, Famagusta, Kyrenia and three days to exploring sites, monuments and museums in Nicosia itself.

YOUR TOUR LEADER: Helen Nicholson is an experienced, well-regarded study tour leader and had led more than thirty tours to Europe and Asia, including Alumni’s Egypt, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia tours. She holds archaeology degrees from the University of Sydney and has delivered numerous lectures, courses and study days for adult, museum and professional audiences. Helen spent several years working at the Powerhouse Museum and has been a casual lecturer and tutor at the University of Sydney since 1995. She has worked on archaeological sites in Greece, Italy, Jordan and Uzbekistan as well as the University of Sydney’s excavations at Paphos in Cyprus. Helen now works as an archaeological consultant in Sydney.

DETAILED ITINERARY

SUN 24 SEPT     ARRIVE LARNACA

On arrival at Larnaca Airport transfer and check into hotel. After time to freshen up we take a late afternoon stroll in the environs of our hotel and enjoy a welcome drink and meze. (Meals in flight)

MON 25 SEPT     LARNACA

Today we explore Larnaca which has been settled since the Late Bronze Age. The modern city is built on top of the ancient city of Kition and we begin our day with a visit to this archaeological site and the Larnaka Archaeological Museum. We consider the city’s Byzantine past with a visit to the 10th century Church of Agios Lazaros and the later Ottoman period on the island with visits to Larnaca Castle and Hala Sultan Tekke. There is also a visit to the privately owned Pierides Museum. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner. (B,D)

TUE 26 SEPT     LARNACA

Today we visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed site of Khirokitia. In the foothills of the Troodos Mountains this Neolithic site provides evidence for the settlement of the island towards the end of the 7th millennium BCE. Reconstructed huts at the site help us imagine what life was like for the earliest inhabitants of Cyprus. We also visit the site of Kalavassos-Tenta that also provides tantalising evidence of the first communities to settle on Cyprus. Before returning to Larnaca we spend time in the picturesque village of Lefkara famous for its lace. (B)

WED 27 SEPT     LARNACA – LIMASSOL

Today we drive to Limassol exploring sites on the island’s southern coast en route. Amathous, founded in the early first millennium BCE was once an important port in Mediterranean trade. Limassol Castle and the Cyprus Medieval Museum tell of the Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian and Ottoman history of the island. It is built on top of a chapel where Richard the Lionheart is said to have married Berengaria. (B,D)

THU 28 SEPT     LIMASSOL

The extensive site of ancient Kourion commands imposing views of the southern coast of Cyprus. Although people had lived in the area since Neolithic times it was in the first millennium BCE as a result of the assistance they gave the invading Persians in 494 BCE that its importance soared.
Buildings excavated at the site include a theatre, early Christian basilica and the remains of Roman villas where many of the stunning mosaic floors remain. Kourion’s Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates was a sacred area from the 8th century BCE although what is visible on the site today is largely from the Roman period. We also visit Kolossi Castle today. (B)

FRI 29 SEPT     LIMASSOL – PAPHOS

After checking out of our hotel we visit the beach at Petra tou Romiou, the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. A local tradition holds that if you swim around the rock you will find true love. With water temperatures in the low 20s at this time of year the opportunity is there for those who want to take the plunge at this beach. We then continue to Paphos our base for the next four nights. There is a visit to the Paphos Archaeology Museum this afternoon. (B,D)

SAT 30 SEPT     PAPHOS

A short distance from Paphos is the site of Palaipaphos or Old Paphos in the modern village of Kouklia. In the 4th century BCE the king moved his capital to Nea or New Paphos on the coast. The site still retained its importance as the most important cult centre of Aphrodite in the Mediterranean until the spread of Christianity. A 13th century Manor House on the site houses a small museum. The University of Edinburgh’s Archaeological Project at nearby Lemba has uncovered a Chalcolithic village here we consider what life might have been like in the reconstructed huts. The impressive necropolis of Paphos or Tombs of the Kings that date from the Hellenistic and Roman period are also visited. Cut into the rock some tombs echo Hellenistic architecture found at Alexandria, Delos and Pergamum. Before returning to the hotel we visit the early Byzantine site of Agios Georgios at Pelegia where the remains of three 6th century basilicas have been excavated. (B)

SUN 01 OCT     PAPHOS

This morning we walk to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage listed Archaeological Park of Nea Paphos where there is evidence of people living there from prehistoric times until more recent centuries. That said the most visible remains are those from the Roman period. Outstanding mosaics have been revealed as a result of excavations and it is these that we examine today.
Before leaving the site we explore the Frankish Fortress, or Saranta Kolones, that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1222. Paphos Fort just outside the Archaeological Park sits on top of earlier forts built to protect the harbour. The Ottomans built what stands today in the late 16th century on an earlier fort destroyed by the Venetians. (B)

MON 02 OCT     PAPHOS

This morning we stroll up to the Paphos theatre where archaeologists from the University of Sydney have been excavating since 1995. A theatre was first built into the slope of Fabrika Hill around 300 BCE and although changed over the years it continued to be the site of theatre and entertainment until the late 4th century CE. Around the time performances ceased a church, Agia Kyriaki, and Bishops Palace was built a few hundred metres away. We visit these remains where a 12th century church still conducts services today. The afternoon is at leisure. (B)

TUE 03 OCT     PAPHOS – TROODOS MOUNTAINS

We leave the coast this morning and travel inland to the Troodos Mountains where charming villages are found in the island’s forested centre. The area is known for its many painted churches, ten of which are UNESCO World Heritage listed. The churches visited range from the 11th century Agios Nikolaos near Kakopetria to the early 16th century Church of the Transfiguration of the Savoir at Palaichori. During out time in the Troodos Mountains we see Byzantine and post Byzantine paintings that span centuries. Maybe we can even spot a wild moufflon as we drive through the forest. (B,D)

WED 04 OCT     TROODOS MOUNTAINS – NICOSIA

After exploring the villages and churches in the Troodos Mountains this morning we continue to the capital Nicosia where we spend the next six nights. Before we check into the hotel in Nicosia there is a visit the Cyprus Museum where archaeological finds from throughout the island are displayed. (B,D)

THU 05 OCT     NICOSIA

The 1570 siege of Nicosia saw what lay outside its walls razed. Our exploration of south Nicosia today is inside the walls of this divided city. We take a bird’s eye view of Nicosia from the Shacolas Observatory and consider more recent history at the Leventis Municipal Museum.
Our walking tour today includes visits to churches, the Archbishops Palace, House of the Dragoman, Byzantine Art Museum, the Paphos and Famagusta Gates and the new Centre for Visual Arts and Crafts. (B)

FRI 06 OCT     NICOSIA

Today we explore north Nicosia on foot. After clearing formalities at the Ledra checkpoint we walk to the Kyrenia Gate and visit the nearby ethnographic collections at Mevlevi Tekke. We visit the caravanserai Buyuk Han and the covered markets and two buildings previously churches, the 14th century Church of St Catherine now the Haydarpasa Mosque, the Bedistan and 12th century Church of St George and the Gothic cathedral Church of St Sophia. (B,L)

SAT 07 OCT     NICOSIA

Over the next two days we take day trips to northern Cyprus, that involves clearing customs and immigration on both days. Our first visit is the archaeological site of Salamis and the nearby Royal tombs from the 1st millennium BCE. We then continue to Famagusta that rose in importance in the late 13th century. Here we consider Famagusta’s impressive Gothic and Islamic architecture and fortifications. Time permitting, we also visit the Monastery of St Barnabas. (B,L)

SUN 08 OCT     NICOSIA

Above the city of the Kyrenia is the picturesque village of Bellapais and the remains of the enchanting Gothic Bellapais Abbey that dates to the time of the Crusades. Laurence Durrell’s book Bitter Lemons tells of his time spent in this village. There is also the option of climbing up to St Hilarion Castle, the walk is not for the feint hearted but the Castle is said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We lunch in the charming city of Kyrenia and visit Kyrenia Castle and its Shipwreck Museum. (B,L,D)

MON 09 OCT     NICOSIA – LARNACA

After breakfast transfer to the airport for onward flights. (B, Meals in flight)

GENERAL INFORMATION AND SPECIAL BOOKING CONDITIONS

TOUR PRICE:
Land Only per person, twin-share $6,820.00
Single Supplement $1,495.00

LAND ONLY TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
• Twin-share accommodation in comfortable hotels with private facilities
• Transfers, touring and entry fees as indicated in the itinerary
• Transport in comfortable air conditioned coaches
• Breakfast daily and other meals as indicated in the itinerary
• Service of a Tour Leader throughout the itinerary
• Service of English speaking guides through the itinerary
• All applicable tipping and gratuities for group arrangements
• Alumni Travel tour booklet and wallet

LAND ONLY TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
• Return international air travel from Australia to Larnaca
• Applicable passenger airport taxes
• Meals not listed in itinerary
• Beverages with meals
• Airport to hotel transfers if not travelling on suggested flights
• Visa requirements of the tour member
• Travel Insurance
• Items of personal nature (telephone, laundry, etc)

AIRFARES:
Please contact Tony at Alumni Travel (tony@alumnitravel.com.au) for the best fares available at the time of booking. Airfares are subject to change up until final payment has been received. Once the ticket is issued, airline cancellation and amendment conditions will apply. If you have additional travel in mind and require an earlier departure there may be a supplement payable.

I’m Interested…How Do I Book?
Fill in the online Booking Form, read and agree with our Terms & Conditions, select your payment option for your deposit of $450.00 per person to Alumni Travel and Submit. Upon receipt of your Booking Form and deposit, you will receive a confirmation of your place in writing.

DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT:
The deposit is accepted as a first installment of the tour cost and will be fully refunded if the arrangements can not be confirmed or the tour is cancelled by Alumni Travel. Final payment for the tour needs to be received at least 60 days prior to tour departure. An invoice will be sent to you about a fortnight before the final payment becomes due.

CANCELLATION AND REFUNDS:
Any cancellation from the tour needs to be done in writing. The cancellation date will be taken from the day your written cancellation is received by Alumni Travel. Because of the tour cancellation charges imposed by our various suppliers, the following cancellation charges apply, per person:

Over 60 days $50.00 – Administration Fee
59 – 40 days 25% of tour cost
39 – 10 days 50% of tour cost
Within 10 days 100% of tour cost

If a difference occurs between these cancellation conditions and those imposed by our suppliers, then the conditions of the supplier shall apply.

There is no refund before or after travel has commenced or for any unused portion of the tour, either in regard to the standard group arrangements or separate independent arrangements.

CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS:
Any payments by credit card will be subject to the following non-refundable Merchant Administration Fees:
1.5% = Visa / Mastercard
3% = American Express

TRAVEL INSURANCE:
It is now standard policy with our company that all our international travellers have some type of international travel insurance, so that you are covered for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. A comprehensive Insurance brochure is available from Alumni Travel. The insurance brochure contains the terms and conditions under which insurance cover will be offered to you.

ADDITIONAL TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS:
If you would like Alumni Travel to assist you with any additional arrangements pre or post tour, please contact our office for assistance at time of booking. All arrangements need to be finalised at least 30 days prior to your departure.

AMENDMENTS:
An administration fee of $30.00 per amendment will be charged for any changes made to any reservation within 30 days prior to your departure. Any additional charges imposed by our suppliers will also be payable.

PASSPORT AND VISAS:
It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure that they possess the necessary travel documentation for the tour, such as a valid passport and any required visas. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the end of your journey and have two clear pages for each country to be visited in your journey.

FORCED CANCELLATION:
In the event that passenger numbers do not reach the minimum number of tour participants (approximately 10, excluding the tour leader) required for the tour, it may be necessary to either surcharge or cancel the tour. If such an event does occur, you will be notified at least 60 days prior to the tour departure.

TOUR PRICES:
This tour price has been calculated on the basis of exchange rates and tariffs as at 03 November 2016 and is subject to change up until final payment has been received. At the time of final invoicing (approximately two months prior to the tour departure date), Alumni Travel reserves the right to re-cost the tour based on actual exchange rates. This could mean an increase or decrease to the above listed prices. Should you decide to cancel your arrangements on the basis of a change in the tour price, normal cancellation charges will apply.

Ready to take the journey of a lifetime?