Residential Development in Ancient History

The Chalcolithic Age (3500-2300 BC) is studied in three phases: first, middle and last. In the Early Chalcolithic, which is the first phase of the Chalcolithic Age, an increase in settlements is seen with the increase in population.

In the Early Chalcolithic period in Cyprus, rectangular and circular houses with thick mud brick walls had doors and windows for the first time. The first settlement in this period was Erimi on the south coast, 13 km west of Limassol. The houses in Erimi were circular in plan, covered with tree branches and plastered with mud [Yıldız, 1997, p.32]. The settlement of the late Chalcolithic period is Ambeliku (Bağlıköy), located on the northern coast of Cyprus. Other settlements; Lemba-Lakkous, Kalavassos, Lapethos, Kiti [Kyrris, 1985].

Little is known about the residential architecture of the ancient bronze age (2100-1600 BC). The housing plans in Alambra, the first settlement, were L-shaped, with 2 rooms and an inner courtyard [Yıldız, 1997, p.50]. The first settlements are also observed in Philia, Vounous and Ambelikou. During this period, people moved away from the coast and migrated to the valleys. They built farmer and shepherd huts around the Troodos mountains. Animals were raised in their independent inner courtyards surrounded by high walls.

In the Middle Bronze Age (2100-1600 BC), houses consisting of one or two rooms, an inner courtyard, a veranda, animal coops and a hall were found in Alambra, Kalopsida, Bağlıköy (Ambeliku) and Karmi. In the Late Bronze Age (1600-1050 BC), the most important settlement was Enkomi [Yıldız, 1997, p.64]. L-plan houses; It had 2 rooms, an inner courtyard in front and was surrounded by walls. Information about their social life, such as farming, was learned from the clay drawings in the Wuni temples.

In the Iron Age, iron began to take the place of bronze slowly. The Iron Age is divided into three as Geometric (1050-700 BC), Archaic (700-475 BC) and Classical Age (475-325 BC). The first settlements in the geometry period are seen in Salamis, Ktima and Lapethos. Architecture could not be developed in the geometric period, but residential architecture developed in the Archaic and Classical periods. The best example of this is the Vuni Palace. The settlement centers of the Archaic period are Tamassos, Kition (Kitium), Amathus. In Kition, rooms with mudbrick walls were built on a rectangular stone foundation (Figure 9). The settlements of the classical period are Vouni, Salamis, Amathus, Kourion and Kouklia [Nicolaou, 1968, p.6].

Figure 9: Kition (Karageorghis, 1982, p. 97)

The earthquake in 79 BC destroyed all Hellenistic buildings. Therefore, there is very little information about Hellenistic architecture (325-50 BC). Settlements; Salamis, Paphos, Kouklia. There were two narrow and long rooms in the northern part of the houses, and in the southern part, there were rooms associated with the inner courtyard, which were used to store olives. Rooms were heated, sewage and water pumping systems were provided [Nicolaou, 1968, p.8].

During the excavations carried out in a residence in Paphos during the Roman Period (50-330 BC), it was determined that there was an atrium in the center and many rooms with mosaic floors around it. It has frescoed walls, a brick-tiled roof, and a sewer system. The square inner courtyard of the houses in Salamis is paved with mosaics. The settlements in this period; Salamis, Kouklia, Paphos, Soli, Kourion [Karageorghis, 1968, pp.199-204].

In rural areas, single-storey houses with inner courtyards, limited by garden walls and used for farming and orchard purposes, were called domus [Demi, 1997, p.12]. The house was first entered from the south-facing inner courtyard, and from there there was a passage into the living room (Fig. 10). In the summer months, a porch was built on the south facade in response to the disturbing sun rays. Thus, while protecting the interior parts of the house (living room) from the sun rays coming vertically in the summer, the horizontal sun angle in the winter warmed the houses. The two south facing elements, the inner courtyard and the porch, are the essential features of a house [Demi, 1997, p.12].

Figure 10: Houses with inner courtyards (Demi, 1997, p.12)


Pervin Abohorlu Doğramacı

Dr. Architect