Unlike Mouttagiaka, where we walked last time, Agios Tychonas is a real entertainment and tourist mecca.
On the coastline, 5 km long, famous beaches, hotels, restaurants and bars are concentrated.
But, Agios Tychonas is not only the coastline, it also has stunning views from the hill where the ancient polis was located, it is delicious food in the taverns of the old village, unusual residential complexes and houses full of weed. It is extremely interesting to explore this area. Here, ancient and new architecture, history and modernity, recreation and entertainment, luxury and devastation, nature and infrastructure are perfectly combined.
From an administrative point of view, Agios Tychonas is a κοινοτικό συμβούλιο (communal council), an administrative unit that is one level below the municipality.
Like Mouttagiaka, as well as many other municipalities and councils, it is divided into two unequal parts: the 'historical core' behind the highway, famous for cottage villages on the outskirts, and the tourist zone, which starts from the cultural center Aphrodite Amathusia in the west and goes to the Amara hotel.
Aphrodite Amathusia Cultural Center
Today we'll start our walk around the tourist zone. But first, a little theory.
The name Agios Tychonas literally translates as Saint Tychon and refers to the famous Saint Tychon of Amathus, who lived in the city of Amathus (we will tell you more about this city later) at the end of the 4th - first half of the 5th century A.D. Byzantine basilica in honor of St. Tychon, where his relics used to be placed, is located northeast of the ruins of the ancient city.
In addition to Tychon, Amathus during the late antiquity was famous for another native - John the Merciful, who held the chair of the Alexandrian patriarch at the beginning of the 7th century. John the Merciful, by the way, is considered the patron saint of Limassol.
Agios Tychonas has a rich history, as here the ruins of the ancient city-kingdom of Amathus are located.
We usually call this place Amathus in English, although locals prefer Amathunta.
This diversity is because of the Ancient Greek word formation, when one word can sound quite differently in the nominative and oblique cases. In our case, Amathus was the nominative case (and now we use it in English), Amathunta was the accusative case (and later became the nominative case in Modern Greek), hence the difference comes from.
The ancient inhabitants of Cyprus believed that the city of Amathus was named after the mother of Cinyras, the legendary first king of Cyprus and the first priest of Aphrodite. According to the second version, the name comes from the name of the son of Hercules Amathus, whom legends also considered the founder of the city.
According to another myth, the winner of the minotaur Theseus, fleeing from Crete and with the princess Ariadne, by the will of the waves came to Cyprus.
Ariadne by that time was already pregnant, but then the irreparable happened.
Theseus, being driven by a storm upon the isle of Cyprus, and having aboard with him Ariadne, big with child, and extremely discomposed with the rolling of the sea, set her on shore, and left her there alone, to return himself and help the ship, when, on a sudden, a violent mud carried him again out to sea. That the women of the island received Ariadne very kindly, and did all they could to console and alleviate her distress at being left behind. That they counterfeited kind letters, and delivered them to her, as sent from Theseus, and, when she fell in labor, were diligent in performing to her every needful service; but that she died before she could be delivered, and was honorably interred. That soon after Theseus returned, and was greatly afflicted for her loss, and at his departure left a sum of money among the people of the island, ordering them to do sacrifice to Ariadne; and caused two little images to be made and dedicated to her, one of silver and the other of brass. Moreover, that on the second day of Gorpiæus, which is sacred to Ariadne, they have this ceremony among their sacrifices, to have a youth lie down and with his voice and gesture represent the pains of a woman in travail; and that the Amathusians call the grove in which they show her tomb, the grove of Venus Ariadne. (Plutarch's Lives / Life of Theseus). Plutarch speaks too complimentary about Theseus, since another version of the myth claims that he deliberately abandoned the pregnant Ariadne in Cyprus.
In ancient times, Ariadne and Aphrodite were perceived as one person. Aphrodite, despite her reputation as an ever-loving and windy person, was actually a rather formidable goddess, punishing those who did not worship her. Therefore, Aphrodite was also called the "armed goddess". She was also the patroness of babies, fertility and the sea from which she was born.
It is known that in Amathus, the couvade rite (imitation of childbirth by a man) was widespread.
Thus, the man either tried to help his wife be quickly delivered, or all this had exclusively ritual purposes and was an ancient sacred rite.
For the first time, the place where the polis of Amathus was subsequently built was inhabited by the pre-Greek population of Cyprus in the 11th century BC. During its long history, the city was in the possession of the Phoenicians (IX century BC), Assyrians (VIII century BC), Egyptians (mid-VI century BC), Persians (second half of VI - end of IV century BC).
During the uprising of the Greek population of the west of Asia Minor against the Persians at the beginning of the 5th century BC, Amathus remained loyal to the Persian regime, which forced Onesilus, the king of Salamis and commander of the Cypriot rebels, to besiege the city in order to force the inhabitants to go over to the side of the rebels. During the decisive battle between the Greeks and the Persians, Onesilus died, and the Amathusians beheaded him.
As for Onesilus, the Amathusians cut off his head and brought it to Amathus, where they hung it above their gates, because he had besieged their city. When this head became hollow, a swarm of bees entered it and filled it with their honeycomb. In consequence of this the Amathusians, who had inquired concerning the matter, received an oracle which stated that they should take the head down and bury it, and offer yearly sacrifice to Onesilus as to a hero. If they did this, things would go better for them. This the Amathusians did, and have done to this day. (Herodotus, History 5.114-115).
Today, a small amphitheater on the seashore is named after Onesilus.
Theater named after King Onesilus
During the military campaign of Alexander the Great, Androcles, King Amathus, assisted Macedonians during the siege of Tyre (Cypriot ships blocked the northern harbor of Tyre). After Alexander's death, Cyprus became part of the Kingdom of the Ptolemies, who ruled the island from Egypt. From Egypt, the cults of Isis and Serapis infiltrated the island.
At that time Amathus, like the rest of Cyprus, was famous for its copper mining. In 77 AD, when Cyprus was already part of the Roman Empire, the city suffered a devastating earthquake. However, Amathus was able to recover by 100 AD and even rebuild a new temple in honor of Aphrodite. Its ruins can now be seen at the top of the hill.
The restored giant bowl that stood at the entrance to the Temple of Aphrodite
Games were held at the temple in honor of Adonis, the lover of Aphrodite.
The main competition was when the participants tried to catch a wild boar (as a boar that killed Adonis). In the 5th century, the temple of Aphrodite was converted into a Christian church. At the end of the 7th century, the city was damaged by Arab raids and was abandoned. So when in 1191 the ships of Richard the Lionheart washed up on its shore, the ancient city was already a sad example of decline and devastation. The center of life moved to the north, where the inhabitants founded a village in honor of St. Tychon. However, there were not very many inhabitants here: from 72 people in 1882 to 345 in 1992. The leap took place in 1990-2000. By the 2011 census, the population had increased 10 times, that is, up to 3 455 people.
Today, the entire territory of the ancient city of Amathus, which starts east of the Theama club (formerly Dolce club) and ends at the church of St. Barbara, is a protected historical space where any construction activity is prohibited.
Agios Tychonas today
Exploring Agios Tychonas, for more convenience, you can choose three ways along which our journey will go. The first way is the path along the sea. The second one is Amathountos Avenue. The third is the road along the highway, a kind of backyard of the tourist area with pretty unusual and elegant houses.
We will go from west to east and first use the second way - the Amathountos Avenue, at times deviating from the main route to inspect the neighborhoods along the highway. And back we will walk along the path along the sea.
Let's start from the Aphrodite Amathusia cultural center, as already mentioned, on the eastern border of the commune of Agios Tychonas. Where the La Isla restaurant is located today, there used to be a simpler cafe (you can see it in the photo below), from which a pier protruded into the sea.
The beach here is called Castella, which is reminiscent of the residential complex across the road.
There are several interesting modern high-rises in Agios Tychonas, and this variety begins with the 11-storey The Address Tower (or simply The Address).
The area of Agios Tychonas (however, like many urban areas in Cyprus) successfully combines private houses, low-rise residential buildings and high-rises with lush vegetation worthy of some kind of greenhouse or botanical garden.
For such views, Cyprus has acquired a reputation for paradise on earth.
Blooming oleanders hide a common wasteland.
An abandoned house not far from the sea in one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. The owners are either the real romantics who refuse to demolish their home or sell the land under it, or simply broke all ties with their homeland.
Opposite there is a private seafront house, neat and beautiful.
There are relatively many private buildings near the sea. Hotel Poseidonia opens a series of famous hotels in Agios Tychonas.
And opposite it is the popular restaurant Do Wine & Dine, which operates in an equally remarkable building called Limassol Pearl. Previously popular IT parties took place here on Wednesdays.
Here we turn off the main avenue and go deep into the bowels of Agios Tychonas. Let's stop for a while to have a look at the Caravel hotel.
Opposite the hotel is the iHome residential complex built by DTA in the style of futuristic architecture.
A high-rise 180 ° Limassol Residence is being actively built on the site to the west of them.
In fact, this place was originally a quiet cottage village, which seemed to be forcibly mixtered with high-rises. Yes, landscapes cause dissonance, but this is inevitable for a developing city.
Such views make one wonder what will happen to Limassol in 10-15 years, when these and many other bold projects are completed. Will it turn out to be a Cypriot Dubai or Doha? Or will the city retain its local flavor, and high-rise buildings will continue to alternate here with small private cottages?
We return to the main avenue and walk past such an abandoned restaurant. From the gate, the place was pretty atmospheric.
Further, we see such an office complex in the process of construction.
From casual passers-by, he inadvertently hid a very nice apartment building.
And this is a residential complex for cats
If we return to the avenue and walk a little to the east, we will see another high-rise under construction - Dream Tower. The frame of the building is still only half completed, but the work is in full swing.
Further on the first and second lines are residential buildings of varying degrees of preservation. There are completely shabby, there are those that are newer.
Inland, closer to the highway, another small cottage area lurks.
Take a look at his Shiseido Building in Tokyo, for example. Bofill, by the way, works quite a lot in Russia.
No, this is not in Cyprus (source)
High-rise buildings alternate with such houses and shops.
Then the famous Four Seasons hotel stands on our way.
By the way, if you look at the official website of Four Seasons, the famous Canadian hotel chain, you will not be able to find a hotel in Limassol there. But why?
To be continued...
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