Towards the end of our stay in Cyprus, we became a little more adventurous and decided to drive up into the Turkish-controlled north to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Salamis.
As you are probably aware, the Turkish army invaded northern Cyprus in 1974 and have controlled the region ever since. The occupation is considered illegal and the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” has never been given international recognition. However, the history and events leading up to the occupation are complicated and well beyond the scope of this photoblog! Needless to say, it’s not straightforward.
Fortunately, in more recent years, tensions have eased somewhat and now it is relatively simple to cross through the demilitarised zone into the Turkish region – a simple matter of showing your passport at a civilian-controlled checkpoint (and buying Turkish car insurance!). Keen on encouraging tourism, a lot of places even accept Euros.
Salamis was an ancient Greek city, dating back to the Bronze Age, and was once the capital of Cyprus. Over the ages, it has been occupied by the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, and Romans. Excavation of Salamis began in 1952 and continued up until 1974 (i.e. the Turkish invasion). It is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe and the site is huge with much still to be properly excavated. Most of the present ruins date to the Roman period.
This shot is of the restored Roman theatre which dates back to the reign of Augustus (27BC-14AD). The original theatre would have comprised 50 rows with a total capacity of around 15,000 spectators, but it was destroyed by an earthquake in the 4th century.