The Ancient Kingdom of Lambousa

Lambousa (translates as -the shining one-) was founded by Phoenician traders in the 8th century B.C. There is general agreement that Lambousa was founded as a colony of the Laconians after the Trojan war in about 1000BC. However there is some evidence from excavations that date it as early as 3000BC. In the 4th century BC, Diodoros of Sicily describes Lambousa as one of the 9 Cypriot kingdoms.
In 333BC, the king of Lambousa sent over 200 ships to aid Alexander the Great in his siege of Tyre, helping him take that city. As a reward, Alexander declared Cyprus free from Persians.
During the Roman empire, Lambousa had more than 10000 inhabitants, and experienced great commercial experience because of its harbour and as it became a centre for processing copper and earthenware.
During the early years of Christianity, the apostles Paul, Barnabas and Mark passed by Lambousa coming from Tarsus.
Lambousa was heavily damaged during the Arab raids from the 7th century, and the population fled from the coast to safety in the hills. However when the Arabs were eventually defeated in 965, the population returned and rebuilt their city further inland.
The town wall, the rock graves and the fish tanks are among the ruins that have survived to this day, and some archaeological work has taken place since 1992.
When the inhabitants abandoned the city, a lot of their treasure was buried to await their return, which never happened. The treasure of Lambousa became a legend. The first discovery took place in the late 19th century and the unearthed reliefs, decorative silver vases, pots and spoons with animal motifs on their rims that were found are today on display at the British Museum. Each of these exhibits are marked with the Byzantium Imperial stamp suggesting that they were brought to Lapta from Constantinople.
The second find took place in 1902. Two stonemasons named Kostis Karilios and Kostis Berberi were at work extracting stones from a house at the ruins of Lambousa. Under the floor of the house they discovered an urn packed full of gold jewellery. Two days later they discovered, hidden in a secret compartment in one of the walls a collection of silver plates, today known as the “David Plates”.
You can find the ruins of Lambousa by taking the main coastal road from Kyrenia to the west towards Lapta, and turn right down towards the coast.

Lambousa Fish Pond. The fish tanks, or fish breeding tanks are known to be the earliest examples of their kind.


Silver Spoons and Plates From the First Lambousa Treasure


Rock Tombs