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LEDRAI or Ledroi, Ledra, Ledron (Leukosia) Cyprus.

Remains of this ancient town extend S of the Venetian walls of Nicosia as far as Haghioi, Omologitai. The necropolis extends W and S. In the light of recent discoveries, the earlier identification of Ledrai with Leondari Vouno, some 6 km SW of Nicosia, should now be dismissed.

Practically nothing is known of the origin of this town except that it succeeded a Late Bronze Age settlement which has been discovered on the S boundary of Nicosia and especially on either side of the Venetian fortifications. Here were found quantities of Mycenaean pottery. The necropolis of this period was at Haghia Paraskevi, which also yielded Mycenaean material. From present-day archaeological evidence it is clear that Ledrai itself was in existence from the Geometric period down to Early Christian times, when it became a bishopric. The area, however, has been inhabited since Neolithic times and owed its prosperity to the river Pediaios and to the fertile land of the surrounding plain.

Very little is known of the history. On the prism of Esarhaddon (673-672 B.C.) we find the name Unasagusu, king of Ledir, identified as Onasagoras (?), king of Ledrai. The recent study of graffiti in the Temple of Achoris at Karnak has revealed the presence in Egypt, at the beginning of the 4th c. B.C., of several Cypriotes from Ledrai. The ethnic Ledrios appears also on a sherd from Kafizin, a hill near Nicosia, of the end of the 3d c. B.C. We hear no more about the site until A.D. 52, when St. Mark took refuge there on his way from Salamis to Limenia. The next reference is in the 4th c. when Triphyllios was its bishop.

From inscriptions we learn of the worship of Aphrodite at Ledrai but nothing is known of the site of the sanctuary. A sanctuary, possibly dedicated to Apollo, has been located at the locality Haghios Georgios on a hill at the back of the modern Civil Servants Club. The town site is unexplored but many casual finds have been recorded.


I. K. Peristianes, Γενικὴ Ἱστορία τῆς νήσου Κύπρου (1910); George Hill, “Two Toponymic Puzzles,” Journal of the Warburg Institute 2.4 (1939) 379-81; Olivier Masson, Les Inscriptions Chypriotes Syllabiques (1961).

R. C. Lipsius & M. Bonnet, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha II2, p. 301, para. 25; A. Papageorghiou, Ἅγιος Αὐξίβιος (1969) 18, para. 7.


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