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Soli in North Cyprus

The origins of Soli are traced back to an Assyrian (700 BC) tribute list where it is referred to as Si-il-lu. It is also known that in 580 BC, King Philokypros moved his capital from Aepia to Si-il-lu on the advice of his mentor Solon, and renamed the town after the Athenian philosopher. In 498 BC along with most of the other city kingdoms of Cyprus, Soli also rose against its Persian masters and at the end of the war it was captured.

Soli became a prosperous city during the Roman period. However, by the 4th century its harbour was already silted up and the copper mines were closed. It was destroyed by Arab raids in the 7th century. On the acropolis, which occupied the top of the hill high above the theatre, there was a royal palace similar to the one of Vouni, thought to date from a slightly later period.

In addition to silver and gold jewellery of the Hellenistic period, excavations have brought to light a marble statue of Aphrodite from the 1st century BC and a frieze representing the war of the Amazons from the 2nd century BC (Cyprus Museum - Greek sector).

In the 7th century, it was razed to the ground. The church which was built on the ruins of the original one in the 12th century was smaller in size and occupied the eastern section. The Roman theatre of Soli occupies the site of the original Greek theatre on the northern slope of a hill overlooking the sea below. The present theatre dates from the end of the 2nd century AD. It has a capacity of some 4,000 spectators.

See all Soli Photos.


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