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
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.
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.
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.
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.