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
I. K. Peristianes, Γενική Ἱστορία τῆς νήσου Κύπρου
K. Nicolaou, Γεωμετρικοὶ Τάφοι Κυθραίας
, Report of the
Department of Antiquities, Cyprus
I. K. Nicolaou, “Tombe Familiale de l'époque Hellénistique à Chytroi, Chypre,” BCH
92 (1968) 76-84I