Salamis

Some 1.5 hour drive from the Pine Grove Villa. Shaded beneath a forest of acacias, the ancient city of Salamis dozes under the Levantine sun. Excavations at Cyprus' most important archaeological site have yet to gather steam and much of the city still lies undiscovered beneath the sand dunes.

For anyone interested in antiquity, Salamis a treasure-trove of Roman and Byzantine remains; where visitors can explore crumbling basilicas, royal tombs and wander along classical colonnades which have stood undisturbed for centuries. Once you've had your cultural fill there's a lovely beach on the Karpraz nearby where it's possible to camp for the night.

Salamis Bay is the unexpected highlight of many people's trip to Cyprus and you'll need a whole afternoon to really do it justice. From the car park it's a 15-minute walk to the ruins, so bring a decent pair of walking shoes and a bottle of water. One and a half millennia of neglect means the whole area is unprotected from the elements and the site is much as it was when Arab raiders last ravaged it.

Many of the obvious artefacts have been looted or damaged, but what remains is impressive and the fine Roman amphitheatre occasionally hosts the odd musical or theatrical performance.

As the sun sets it's easy to imagine Salamis as it was thousands of years ago, and as night falls you get the eerie feeling that you're surrounded by spirits from the city's turbulent past returning in search of long-forgotten friends.

Salamis The History

Salamis was founded by the Trojan hero Teucer having been exiled from Greece by his father King Telamon. The fledgling settlement quickly grew to become the greatest Cypriot city-kingdom and a key player in the complicated wars of the Hellenic period. In the 5 th century BC Salamis' most famous native-son Evagoras united the 10 Cypriot city-states in a federation that fought the Persian Empire to a standstill.

The Romans established Salamis as the capital of Cyprus and it remained the main commercial centre through the early Christian and Byzantine era. However, the city was to suffer a melancholy fate, with a combination of seismic activity and Arab piracy bringing it to its knees. Later the harbour began to silt up and Salamis was abandoned. This is just another reason why Northern Cyprus is the perfect holiday destination.

Where to go and what to do.