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Vouni Palace in North Cyprus

This 137 room palace was built on a hilltop by the Phoenician pro-Persian king of the neighbouring city Marion to watch over the pro-Greek city of Soli, following an unsuccessful revolt of the latter against the Persians in 498 BC. It was the headquarters of a garrison and consisted of state apartments, large storerooms and bathrooms. In 449 BC when the Persians were defeated and the Greek rule was established, the ruler of Marion was replaced by a pro-Greek prince and alterations were made and a second storey with walls made from mud bricks was added. The pro-Persian and pro-Greek histories of this royal residence lasted for some 70 years and after it was destroyed by the inhabitants of Soli in a fire in 380 BC it was never rebuilt. The entrance of the original palace of the first period was in the south-west. Here a porch led to the state apartments: a main room and inner hall and on the two sides a series of connecting rooms.

This section of the palace is thought to have had an official function. From here a broad stairway of seven steps led to columned court surrounded with rooms on three sides. Water to almost all the main rooms was supplied from the underground cisterns cut into the living rock of the mountain, where the winter rain was collected.

The stone stele designed to hold a windlass over the cistern in this central courtyard has an unfinished Figure at its centreand is thought to have been brought from somewhere else. Some of storerooms contain holes in which the amphorae were sunk.

At the top of the hill on which the palace was built and towards the south are the remains of a temple built for Athena in the third quarter of the 5th century BC. This sanctuary consisted of two successive courtyards and a sacred enclosure. Here traces of the holes in which the statues were secured have survived.

See all Palace of Vouni Photos.


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