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The ruins of a small inland town, due E of the village of Kythrea, have been identified with those of Chytroi. The town consisted of two parts, the acropolis and the lower town. The acropolis situated on a hill now called Katsourkas lies N of the town. The lower town extends to the S around the ruined Church of Haghios Demetrianos. No traces of a city wall are visible. A large necropolis extends S and SE. A Geometric necropolis to the SW of Kythrea may also belong to early Chytroi.

The town was traditionally founded by Chytros, son of Aledros, the son of Akamas. The historical town succeeded a Late Bronze Age settlement. We also know that the area around the nearby Kephalovryse, the principal spring in the island, was inhabited since Neolithic times. Even Salamis was supplied with water from this spring by an aqueduct, the remains of which still exist for part of its 56 km course.

Little is known of the history of the site. The name appears on the prism of Esarhaddon (673-672 B.C., if the identification were beyond dispute. The prism mentions Pilagura, king of Kitrusi, identified as Pylagoras or Philagoras, king of Chytroi. Its name appears for the first time in one of Lysias' speeches in the early 4th c. B.C. After this the town is frequently mentioned by many ancient writers and is also mentioned in the list of the theodorokoi from Delphi (early 2d c. B.C.). In Early Christian times it became a bishopric and flourished down to Early Byzantine times, but was finally abandoned after it was sacked by the Arabs in A.D. 912.

Very little is known of its monuments. Inscriptions indicate that there were a gymnasium in the 2d c. B.C. and shrines to Artemis, Hermes, and Herakles but the location remains unknown. The site is still unexcavated but many casual finds have been recorded, including an over-life-size bronze statue of Septimius Severus, now in the Cyprus Museum.

On the summit of a hill called Skali, due NW of the town, are the remains of a sanctuary identified from inscriptions as that of Aphrodite Paphia. This sanctuary was summarily excavated in 1876, uncovering partially one of two rectangular temples and again in 1883. There is nothing to be seen at present, the site being badly eroded; however, fragments of sculpture are still scattered about. This sanctuary dates from archaic to Graeco-Roman times. Another sanctuary may have stood on the acropolis.

The Sanctuary of Apollo Agyates at Voni, ca. 3.2 km south of Chytroi, should be associated with this town. Excavated in 1883, it yielded a large quantity of sculpture dating from archaic to Hellenistic times. This sanctuary consisted of two courts, one inner and one outer, enclosed by walls. The inner court was probably that for burnt offerings and communicated with the outer court in which votive statues were erected. Of this sanctuary nothing survives above the surface of the ground.

The finds are in the Cyprus Museum.


Luigi Palma di Cesnola, Cyprus, its Ancient Cities, Tombs and Temples (1877); M. Ohnefalsch-Richter, Kypros, the Bible and Homer (1893); I. K. Peristianes, Γενική Ἱστορία τῆς νήσου Κύπρου (1910); K. Nicolaou, Γεωμετρικοὶ Τάφοι Κυθραίας, Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus (1965) 30-73MPI; I. K. Nicolaou, “Tombe Familiale de l'époque Hellénistique à Chytroi, Chypre,” BCH 92 (1968) 76-84I.


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