Megalithic

Sanctuary I, SW corner.JPG

Enormous stones were used to build Sanctuary I at Palaepaphos. Students refer to this style of stonework as ashlar masonry, suggesting faced blocks stacked in parallel rows. The size of these stones--some measure 5 meters in length and two and a half meters tall (!)--also attracts the label megalithic.

Oddly enough the sanctuary at Palaepaphos seems to have been built in a moment of crisis. The end of the Late Bronze Age spelled the end of many palace states across the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. Yet here on this corner of Cyprus, the goddess was given focused expression. The sanctuary was open to the sky above yet closed by the wall of megalithic stones to its surroundings (a temenos or courtyard). The holes in the stones continue to defy explanation.