The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylati in Kourion

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According to the Greek mythology, God Apollo was the God of light, of divination and music. Apollo symbolized the man's beauty and was considered the most handsome of the Gods, bringing admiration and respect. Among the monuments that were built in his name, was the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylati, located in the area of Kourion, southwest of the village of Episkopi.

Apollo, bearing the name Hylatis, was worshiped as the protector of the forest. It seems that the cult towards him began in the 8th century, when Kourion was one of the most important kingdoms of the time. Thus, the site of the monument was one of the most important religious centers of ancient Cyprus.

The Sanctuary covered a fairly large area, with 3 sections (southeast, southwest and northeast), which led to an intermediate road, referred to as "Sacred Street". The entrance to the temple could be done by 2 gates, of Kourion and Paphos, whereas the Sanctuary was located inside a great entourage. In the same complex, remains of a circular monument – believed to be used for dances and processions –, Roman baths, as well as a central courtyard, where the athletes used to practice, were discovered.

The end of the 4th century marked the decline and eventually the abandonment of the Sanctuary, which was attributed to the devastating earthquakes that had hit the island at that time, but also to the prevalence of the religion of Christianity. Nevertheless, the Sanctuary, until today, is creating feelings of admiration and is considered an important archaeological monument of Cyprus.

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