Throughout the ages, Cyprus has always been well known as a place of wellness and beauty. If Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty felt that Cyprus was the perfect spot to call home, well then this magical island is certainly going to have a lot to offer us mere mortals! While the legends of Aphrodite and Adonis are well known, what you may not know is that Cyprus is also the birthplace of perfume! So next time you inhale the beautiful aroma of your favourite fragrance, you can give thanks to the island of Cyprus for bringing that pleasure to your nostrils.
So how do we know this?
Due to the rich history of the island, Cyprus has always been an exciting location for archaeological excavations and back in 2005 archaeologists made an amazing discovery. They unearthed the ruins of an ancient perfume production site at Pyrgos, close to Limassol. This firmly placed perfume production in Cyprus at least 4000 years ago. Not only that, but the site uncovered is absolutely massive by ancient standards, covering an area of around one square kilometre. This was a huge enterprise and so there was obviously a large market for perfume that needed to be fulfilled. The excavations uncovered pestles and mortars as well as bottles and jugs and two whole distillation stills which were very well preserved.
Ancient aromatics discovered
So the next task was to find out exactly what they were making the perfumes from. As we do in modern times, the ancient Cypriots were using essential oils as the key ingredient for their perfume production. These essential oils were extracted from native plants growing on the Troodos mountains. Evidence of cinnamon, laurel, pine, cedar, bergamot and myrtle essential oils were all found within the ruined factory walls. In addition, the discovery of small alabaster vials revealed remnants of perfume still inside, containing extracts of coriander, lavender, rosemary and pine.
A world renowned industry
This wasn’t just a local trade, this was a giant industry that was famous all over the world. Cypriot perfumes have been mentioned in many ancient texts including the Bible and works by Homer, Pliny the Elder and Theophrastus. Pliny the Elder once wrote that perfume is one of the most elegant and honourable pleasures in life and the poet Virgil stated that Aphrodite herself had hair that was perfumed with a heavenly scent.
A haven for wellness to this day
Cyprus has always appealed to those seeking beauty and wellness. From divine scents, to the panoramic ocean views that unleash the senses, there’s something about this unique island that makes you feel so full of life, at peace with yourself and at one with nature. Perhaps it is the 300 days of sunshine we enjoy each year. Possibly it is the health giving natural beauty of the mountains and the beaches, or perhaps it’s the legacy of Aphrodite watching over the island and casting an air of beauty across all who stay here. Who knows for sure, but one thing we do know is that Cyprus is the perfect destination for a health and wellness break like no other. For more information on visiting the island for a health-improving holiday please visit our website.
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Cyprus Health Services Promotion Board
38, Grivas Dhigenis,& 3, Deligiorgis str.
1509 Nicosia, Cyprus
Tel: +357 22 88 98 90
Fax:+357 22 66 75 93