Soli is the name of one of Cyprus’s oldest kingdoms. The city is beieved to have been founded about 600 years BC. and lays on the west coast of the island. Today, you can visit the mythical site, which despite the great archaeological efforts still conceals many secrets. One of those who performed excavations in Soli was the Swedish Cyprus Expedition, which was here in 1927 to 1931. According to the practice of time, the findings were divided between Sweden and Cyprus, with the permission of the British colonial government. More than half of the findings were taken to Sweden where you can view them on display at the Mediterranean Museum in Stockholm. A great deal of the other findings are found at the Cyprus Museum in southern Nicosia, including the beautiful statue of the love goddess Aphrodite who was also excavated here.
At Soli, visitors have many interesting things to look at, including a basilica from the 5th century BC. where you can admire beautiful ornate mosaic floors with motifs from the plant and animal kingdom. Preserved stone walls clearly show how the rooms looked and also details of the marble pillar remain. Going on to an amphitheater with over 4000 seats and a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea. Unfortunately, much of the original stone has disappeared from the place as the Brits took it with them and used to build the Suez Canal in the 19th century!
The excavations of Soli have continued over the years. As late as 2015, archaeologists made a discovery that astonished scientists worldwide. A 2400-year-old tomb was found containing jewellery, weapons, pots and a very well-preserved gold crown. From it, one can understand that the people the riches belonged to were rich and had great power in the area. Some items found could also be linked to other places, including Athens and Macedonia. It shows contact between different geographical areas, probably through trade. The objects are now available at the Museum of Nature and Archeology in the nearby city of Güzelyurt in North Cyprus.
Soli had its heyday during the Roman occupation of Cyprus. In the 8th century the city was invaded by the Arabs and in this connection it was destroyed and never rebuilt.
Visitors to Soli are also advised to go to the ruins of nearby Vouni Palace built for the purpose of spying on Soli.
Opening hours for Soli: from 9am to 6.45pm in the summer and from 9am to 4.45pm in the winter.