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One of the most important aspects of the History of Akrotiri was brought to light by the archaeological digs that took place in the area. In fact, Akrotiri and more specifically the location “Aetokremmos” was the first region of Cyprus to be inhabited by humans.  

According to the records of the Centre of Environmental Education and Information of Akrotiri, during the pre-Neolithic period, approximately 1200 years ago, “Aetokremmos” provided shelter for the hunters and food collectors who used to feed on dwarf hippos and elephants, as well as on other animals. After all, this is also confirmed by the archaeological dig which took place in 1989 and which revealed, apart from human bones, bones of 500 dwarf hippos, three dwarf elephants, a deer, a wild pig and other animals. What is more, tools and jewellery dated back to the same time period were also found, while it is worth noting that “Aetokremmos”, according to the aforementioned source, is the only area of Cyprus whose residents are somehow linked to dwarf hippos and elephants.  

The data presented by the Centre of Environmental Education and Information of Akrotiri regarding the hippos which lived in Akrotiri at that time are of particular interest. It seems that a great number of hippos inhabited the village due to the conditions of the island, since its altimeter was no more than 75 cm and they could therefore live out of the water, in the low vegetation of the area. The colony of the hippos in Akrotiri was probably the last one to have lived on our island since no bones of a subsequent time period were discovered. The extinction of the last colony of hippos is linked to the arrival of the first residents in the area since the latter fed on the hippos’ meat and used their skin to make clothes and their bones to make tools. 

The excavations in the area showed that it continued to be inhabited in the years to follow. In fact, archaeological sites dated back to different time periods such as the Hellenistic, the roman, the byzantine and the early Christian ones have been discovered in various parts of the area. One of the most important archaeological sites is that of “Lamna”, which is dated back to the Hellenistic period, whilst the findings of the south coasts of Akrotiri which are related to the 1500 carved tombs of both the roman and the Hellenistic period, are of great archaeological importance. Additionally, a more recent excavation brought to light an important worshipping construction of the early-byzantine period.   

Finally, it must be mentioned that apart from archaeological sites the village also hosts places of worship and other monuments of a posterior era. Some examples include the Monastery of Agios Nicolaos of “Gaton” (cats) which is dated back to the early-byzantine period, as well as the churches of Agios Demetrianos and of Panagia Galakrotrofousa which were built in the 12th century. 

Akrotiri Community Council Archive

Great Cyprus Encyclopaedia, vol. 1, Philokypros Publications, Nicosia 1987

Centre of Environmental Education and Information of Akrotiri Website:

 December 2020 
Community Council of Akrotiri
Timiou Stavrou 24
4640, Akrotiri Limassol
Tel: 25952361
Fax: 25953332
E-mail: [email protected]
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