13 July 2010 16:09

Ancient writers have made ample reference to the cult of Aphrodite in the city of Tamassos. The sanctuary of the goddess is also confirmed archaeologically on site where an altar made of rough limestone, as well as various votive vessels, incense burners and lamps have been unearthed. Terracotta and stone statuettes of pigeons (the bird sacred to Aphrodite) were also found. The sanctuary and the altar are thought to have been built during the Cypro - Archaic II period (600 - 475 BC), destroyed at the beginning of the 5th century and again in the 4th century BC and then rebuilt during Hellenistic times.
A large monolithic altar has been discovered westwards of the sanctuary. It has a votive cavity in the centre and 18 smaller hollows all around resembling carved bowls for the offering of liquids. Some square hollows may have been used to fix a light covering. It is thought that the altar was dedicated to the Great Goddess, usually identified with Cybele. This seems to be confirmed by an inscription found in the 19th century at Tamassos, which refers to the Mother of Gods. The sanctuaries of the two goddesses were destroyed during the Persian Revolt (499/8 BC). A second reconstruction, at the beginning of the Hellenistic period (end of 4th century BC), completely changed the architectural character, at least of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite.
The Sanctuary is situated near the village of Politiko.