Worship complex of Hellenistic era unearthed on hotel building site in Paphos

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NICOSIA, July 23 Xinhua) -- Archaeological excavation on a site where preparatory work was under way to build a hotel in a tourist area near Paphos has led to the discovery of what is believed to have been a "worship complex" of the Hellenistic era, a statement by the Antiquities Department said on Tuesday.

The excavation site is near the coastline of Yeroskipou, a suburb close to Paphos, a coastal city in southwestern Cyprus with a continuous history since the Homeric era.

Work on the building of the hotel has stopped to give time to the Antiquities Department to complete its examination of the site and preserve the findings.

"With the completion of this phase of the excavation it has become quite clear...that the remains found are the foundation of a large worship complex of the Hellenistic period, which was unfortunately demolished systematically in the past," the statement said.

However, it said that the floor plan leads to the conclusion that the complex was made up of a Hellenic style temple surrounded by columns, a yard, living quarters, a cistern and gardens.

Remains of earth pipes lead to the conclusion that it was used to carry a large quantity of water for the gardens in the vicinity of the temple, according to the statement.

The existence of the gardens is possibly connected to the name of the area itself (Ierokipia) and the suburb of Yeroskipou, which both mean Holy Gardens.

The statement said that it was too early to give an explanation of the findings, but it added that the form of the ground floor is compatible with a Hellenic type temple erected during the Ptolemaic dynasty.

The Ptolemaic era started with Ptolemy I Soter's accession after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, and ended with the death of Cleopatra and the Roman conquest in 30 BC.

A statement by the Ministry of Transport, which is in charge of the Antiquities Department, said that it has been agreed with the owners of the site to keep both the archaeological site and the hotel side by side.

To this purpose, the owners have accepted to draw their building plans in close association with the Antiquities Department so as to keep the integrity of the archaeological site. Enditem

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