The ancient site of Choirokoitia dates back to the 6th millennium BC. It lies in the domain of the village from which it takes its name in the Larnaka (Larnaca) district on the west bank of the Maroni River overlooking the south coast, 6 kilometres from the sea. Included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list since 1988, Choirokoitia is one of the best preserved settlements of this period in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean. The settlement’s only entrance – a stairway integrated within a stone massif that lay against the exterior face of the settlement’s enclosure wall, can be traced for more than 180 metres. Perfectly functional as an entrance and exit, this stairway provided a solution to the problem posed by the fact that the settlement stood 2 metres higher than the surrounding area. Protected by this wall, the houses were crowded together, separated only by narrow strips of land that were used as passage ways and for the disposal of rubbish. Each house consisted of a compound of several buildings with a circular ground plan, grouped around an open space, a kind of small inner courtyard. The dead were buried in pits inside the housing units. No cult place was found in the village, the population of which is estimated at some 300 inhabitants.
This civilization suddenly vanished and no explanation has been found for its disappearance. Choirokitia, like the other Aceramic sites on the island, was abandoned in the 4th millennium BC.
Close to the site are five ‘model’ dwellings. These were constructed in the Neolithic style, using the same methods and materials and furnished with copies of objects found in inside the house during excavations so as to give a better impression of the village as it was in antiquity. The area around the dwellings has been planted with plants and trees cultivated or growing in Cyprus since Neolithic times.
Note: People using wheelchairs can visit the area of the reconstructed huts.
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