Choirokoitia: an UNESCO WHS Review


Choirokoitia (Khirokitia) is an archaeological site on Cyprus dating from the Neolithic aceramic age. On Cyprus this age started somewhere around 8,200 B.C. Choirokoitia was inhabited until around 6,000 B.C. It is one of the most important and best preserved prehistoric sites in the eastern Mediterranean area and has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1998.

Review of Choirokoitia

Read more about how we rated Choirokoitia and other sites at our UNESCO World Heritage Site Review. Also read our other article about archaeology on Cyprus if this interest you.

Beauty: 2.5

There is not much to see at the site. The archaeological remains are not more than some restored foundations. So what beauty this site has comes from its location and the surrounding area. The site lies on top of a hill which gives good views as far as the distant sea.


Uniqueness: 5

The site dates back to the 7th millennia B.C. and is therefore more than 9,000 years old. It is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the eastern Mediterranean. The site still provides key insights into the spreading of civilization in the Mediterranean world. There is nothing else like this with similar scale and preservation on Cyprus. Other sites from the period are Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, Aleppo in Syria and Jericho in Palestine.

Experience: 3

The site isn’t developed for tourism. Nonetheless a couple of efforts have been made to facilitate the general public to understand the site. At the bottom of the hill a couple of the houses have been reconstructed to give an idea of the original look of the site. There are bilingual signs along the route in Greek and English. They explain the site, the functions of the different buildings, the people and the environment they were living in at the time. As stated earlier, there isn’t much to see. The foundations of some 20 houses have been excavated, that’s all there is to see.



Some parts of the site are wheelchair accessible mainly the reconstructed village below. From here you can see the site on the hill but you can’t get up close.

Value for money:

The entrance fee is €2.50; the visit will keep you occupied for 30-60 minutes. This gives you good value for money.

Location: 3.5

The site lies just off the exit off the main highway between Limassol, Larnaca and Nicosia. This makes the site easily accessible by car. Buses are infrequent especially out of season. The site is within daytrip distance of those staying in or around the above-mentioned cities. It’s a bit far away when staying in Paphos or Aya Napa and very difficult to get to if staying in the northern part of the island.

Overall rating: 3.5

This site is not the best looking archaeological site on Cyprus. But it provides a unique insight into the dawn of civilization. More could be done to help visitors to engage with the site and understand its importance. The location and accessibility of the site is okay, but access by public transport could be improved. All this leads to an overall rating of 3.5. This site is not for everyone, but when you’re interested in the history of mankind, be sure to visit.

Should you visit Choirokoitia?

Three things you must definitely eat on Cyprus

Cyprus is a place where different cultures have left their mark. This is also visible when it comes to food. The three main influences are Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern, but don’t expect straight copies. Cyprus has its own defined style of food, dishes and combinations which deserve your attention. Food is available in many different price classes on Cyprus. Luckily you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy local specialities on offer.

Meze (Mezedes)

If you decide to try this dish, make sure you come with an empty stomach. Meze is a 15-30 dish meal, the exact courses differ per restaurant. Other than Spanish Tapas or other meze around the Mediterranean, Cypriot meze isn’t ordered by the individual dishes, but comes as a set. The main idea is that you eat a wide variety of small dishes. There is a certain logic behind the sequence of the dishes. The meal usually begins with some olives, tahini, humus, taramosalata and tzatziki. This comes served with bread and a mixed salad. Depending on the sort of meze, vegetarian, grilled meats like kebabs, lamb chops and chicken. Dessert will be pieces of fresh fruit or glyka, a local sweet.



Souvlaki is grilled meat on a skewer. In different variations, this dish goes back millennia. There have been archaeological finds of BBQ sets specifically for skewers dating as far back as 1700BCE. When you order souvlaki on Cyprus, you can either get a large pita filled with the grilled meat or the meat still on the skewers served on a plate. All grilled meat comes with pieces of lemon and usually some tomatoes, cucumber and tzatziki. Most of the souvlakis are made of lamb or pork meat but other variants – even fish – are also available.
If you’re in Nicosia (Lefkosia), go to Piatsa Gourounaki, the place is always buzzing with people. It’s not so much a place for a fancy diner, but a perfect spot for a quick bite to eat. The portions are big, the standard of the food is high, the price is relatively cheap and the staff is friendly.


Most places on Cyprus are close to the sea, so it’s well worth to try some of the local fish dishes. Popular dishes include calamari’s, cuddle fish, octopus and sea bass. Fish can be found in many different dishes, as a side dish in the mezedes, a sword fish souvlaki, octopus stiffado or fried calamari’s. A popular place to get fish is Ocean Basket, this South African chain has a couple of restaurants on the island.

If you’re hungry for more on Cyprus, also read our articles about its great archaeological heritage, some general tips and Choirokoitia.

Food on Cyprus

Cyprus: the perfect getaway

We just love weekend trips: It is an easy way to escape reality and pack many new destinations and adventures to your life. One of our all-time favourite weekend trips was our trip to Cyprus in the beginning of the year: we had the whole island for ourselves, the weather was great, as was the food, there is a lot to explore and it is really affordable. Read here all about the perfect getaway to Cyprus.

What to do on Cyprus?


To read all about Cyprus’ archaeological highlights, read this article. But Cyprus has more to offer: its impressive nature is a welcome alternation from all the archaeological sites. The inland hills offer great trials for day(s) of hiking, you might want to visit one of the many monasteries, hiding in the hills. Do not miss the Avakas Gorge and enjoy a romantic sun set at the beach, e.g at the Sea Caves or Petra tou Romiou (Rock of Aphrodite). Also, you can ski in the idyllic Troodos mountain range in the West of Cyprus from January until the end of March.

Where to go on Cyprus?

Cyprus’ capital Nicosia is an impressive city, being one of the last divided cities in the world today. Ledra Street offers a crossing between the Turkish and Greek part. Especially in the Greek Cypriot part, you can find nice museums (e.g. the first archaeological Museum of Lefkosia), churches and restaurants. In the Turkish part, the churches are converted to Mosques and the feeling of the city is totally different. Time seems to have stopped in the 70s there.

Next to Nicosia, also Paphos, Larnaca and Limassol offer nice cultural sights. Most tourists arrive at the airport of Larnaca. Here, you can find the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque, surrounded by palm trees and flamingo’s and the Chruch of Saint Lazarus, built over the reputed tomb of Lazarus. 

Tips for the perfect getaway

Büyük Han
Büyük Han, Nicosia

We really recommend you rent a car. This is very affordable (€15-30 per day) and you will be able to explore the island efficiently. Just watch out: you have to drive on the left side and the speed limit on the high way is not always obeyed. We spend one night in Nicosia and two in Paphos, which was perfect to check out above mentioned sights. Not convinced yet? Read our blog about the food on Cyprus, and we are sure that you will plan your trip soon…!

Why you should go to Cyprus

Archaeology on Cyprus

Where some people see palaces, cities and temples, others see piles of rocks. Archeology might not be something for everybody. However, it is hard to visit Cyprus and ignore its impressive archaeological sites completely. This article sketches some historical context that might help you to visualize Roman live that took place thousands of years ago under the same sun, with the same ocean view.

Cyprus has an ancient history and a huge range of archaeological sites covering all the eras of human settlement on the island.



Among the most ancient is the Choirokoitia site. Dating back some 7.000 years, this prehistoric site would be the hardest to visualize since it’s most removed from our frame of reference. Luckily there are some reconstructed buildings to help the imagination along.
The buildings were established by the Cypriot Aceramic Neolithic people, the first inhabitants of the island who came to the island around the 7th millennium BC, more than 9.000 years ago. There are a couple of signs along the path to help explain what is known about these people and the world they lived in. The site is just of the highway running from Nicosia to Limassol and easy to access. Also read our review of the Choirokoitia UNESCO World Heritage site.

Limassol (Amathus)


Limassol has two ancient sites on opposite ends of the city. At the eastern end of the city lies the smaller site of ancient Amathus. This location is probably more appreciated by archaeology lovers. The place is relatively small but offers some visual appealing parts e.g. a couple of erected columns in the back. Here you also find a water basin, some streets with water plumbing still visible and intact. Wherever you go you’ll see pieces of pottery and roof tiles laying around and you can try to puzzle a pot back together. The site lays along the coastal road into the city and is easily accessible.

Limassol (Kourion)


At the western end of Limassol, past the old crusader castle of Kolossi, you’ll find Kourion. The most photogenic archaeological site of Cyprus. Positioned on top of a cliff, the site has some stunning views across the sea with pillars and amphitheatres in the background. Kourion has numerous in situ mosaics of great quality. The ancient amphitheatre gives you a magnificent view of the sea and the nearby lowlands.

When you come upon the main concentration of ruins and the lonely pillar, you stand at the edge of a cliff looking out across the sea and towards some nearby cliffs. Together with the occasional palm tree, it’s easy for anybody to dream away here. Whether its’ back to ancient times or just of Mediterranean life in general. There is some information available at the site, but most is left to the imagination.


Paphos Mosaic
villa of Dionysus, Paphos

In Paphos archaeology and 21st Century life are much more intertwined than in Limassol where the sites are outside of the town. Here everything lies within walking distance from its old city centre and harbour. The medieval castle overlooking the harbour is built with the stones from the next door ancient ruins of Paphos. The archaeological park lies just behind the harbour along the coast. The park is stretched out and has a couple of interesting points. The main attraction is the villa of Dionysus, partly restored to cover the stunning mosaics inside. It gives a rare insight into upper-class Roman living. Every floor is covered in mosaics and the subjects range from Mythology and hunting scenes to simple geometric shapes. Other noteworthy sights are the amphitheatre, ancient catacombs and the ruins of another crusader castle destroyed by an earthquake.

Tombs of Kings

Tombs of Kings, Paphos

More catacombs are to be found along the town together with the ruins of an ancient basilica. Most of these sites are linked to early Christianity, dating all the way back to Petrus spreading the word in the first century AC.
At the northern edge of town lie the tombs of the Kings. These are not really tombs of kings, but of wealthy citizens. If you ever wanted to feel like Lara Croft or Indiana Jones, this is the place to visit, especially early in the morning when you’re all alone. Walking around looking for the different tombs to discover since there is no real guidance available. Some tombs are not more than holes in the ground, while others are like underground temples. The site lies along the coast and is covered by seaside shrubbery, just out in the water lies a ship, run aground some time ago, all things combined give this place a very special vibe.

Archaeology on Cyprus