Paphos Tourist Attractions
Paphos FortPaphos, in Roman times the chief town of Cyprus and the lending place for pilgrims visiting the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, consists of the old port of Kato Paphos, with defensive walls and a picturesque harbor originally constructed by Alexander the Great, and the modern town of Ktima 2mi/3km inland.The whole town of Paphos is included in the official UNESCO list of cultural and natural treasures of world heritage.
Rock of the Greek
Six mi/nine km from Kouklia, we come to the Petra tou Romaiou, the legendary spot where Aphrodite is said to have emerged from the waves ("Odyssey", Vlll, 362).The Greek name of the rock "Petra tou Romiou" or "Rock of the Greek" is associated with the legendary Byzantian frontier-guard, Digenis Akritas. It is said he kept Arab pirates at bay by throwing rocks at them from the hillside above.There are two large rocks in the sea, set against the white cliffs above and the turquoise of the Mediterranean below.The beach is shingly but the setting is spectacular.The scene has been a source of inspiration for many poets and painters, the most famous result being Boticelli's Birth of Venus.
In Paphos there are two interesting museums, the small Archeological Museum and the Byzantine Museum in the Bishop's Palace.
Paphos District Archeological Museum
Paphos District Archeological Museum is expanding as the finds from continuing excavations are added to the collection.It houses an attractive collection of Cypriot antiquities from the Neolithic Age to A.D. 1700.In the hall is a Hellenistic sarcophagus which comes from Peyia. Room One has rings, pottery, terra-cotta figures and idols from Lemba and red vases from Polis. There are also examples of Roman pottery and wall cases with jewelry. In the middle of the room is a skeleton from the site of Lemba. Room Two has pottery in classical Greek style, various sculptures and a fine display of coins minted by the various City Kingdoms.Room Three contains several sarcophagi and various Roman curiosities including marble eyeballs and clay hot water bottles. The hot water bottles displayed against a human figure were fashioned in the shape of the part of the body to which they were applied, presenting the extraordinary spectacle of hand, feet and even ear-shaped bottles. There are also a wide range of statues of Greek gods, some pretty Roman vases and some rather comical clay face masks.Room Four displays some small statues and artifacts from the House of Dionysos site, with large jars and a fifth or sixth century mosaic on the wall. Room Five has exhibits from later periods, mainly medieval pottery.
Address: Odos Griva Digeni 43, Cyprus
Paphos Ethnographical Museum
The Ethnographical Museum contains finds from the Neolithic Age to the present day.This is a private collection which was gathered by George Eliades. The collection consists of coins, pottery and axeheads, along with various kitchen implements. One room contains the reconstruction of a bridal chamber with traditional costumes and furniture. The garden contains two third century B.C. tombs, an olive press and a traditional "kleftiko" oven.
Address: Odos Exo Vrisis 1, Cyprus
Paphos Byzantine Museum
The Byzantine Museum has a small collection of religious works, icons and carvings dating from the 12th to 18th centuries. Behind the museum is the courtyard of the Bishopric with arched cloisters and a modern church in the center.
Address: Andrea Ioannou 5, Cyprus
Paphos was where St Paul came to preach soon after Christ's death and it was here that he was flogged for his beliefs.A few years later St. Paul converted Roman Governor Sergius Paulus to Christianity, and he in turn proclaimed Cyprus the first land with Christianity as its official religion.Since then many churches and monasteries have sprung up around the area.
St Kiriaki Church & St Paul's Pillar
On this fenced site on Apostolou Pavlou Avenue there is a single pillar standing up at the far end, which is called St. Paul's Pillar. It was here that St Paul was bound and given 39 lashes as a punishment for preaching Christianity.After this, he managed to convert the governor to Christianity, making Cyprus the first Christian state in the world.There are also several granite columns and other fragments of ruins on the site. Archeologists are not sure which building all these columns belong to, although one theory is that the site used to be a Roman forum.At the church of Ayia Kyriaki, next to the site, Roman Catholic and Anglican services are held each Sunday.East of the site are the remains of another church. It was built in 1300 and was refurbished 200 years later. A large number of Italian sculptures were added and several of these were uncovered during the excavations along with fragments of paintings. It was turned into a mosque by the Turks, but later it collapsed and was abandoned until excavations took place.Next to this and below Ayia Kyriaki, are the remains of one of the earliest Christian basilicas, measuring 50m by 38m. It was a five-aisled edifice and used to be covered in mosaics. The roof was supported on pink granite columns, the remains of which are still visible. Excavation of the area is still going on.
The monastery, originally founded in the 12th century A.D., is dedicated to "Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate".The church is impressive due to its setting at 610m high, with fine views of the surrounding hills. It was founded by a monk named Ignatius in 1152 and the main buildings were constructed in 1770.There is an icon of the Virgin Mary set in silver and a collection of religious books.The monastery has had a turbulent history, with its buildings being burned in 1821 by the Turks, when the priests were suspected of political agitation. More recently, during the campaign against the British, its abbot was murdered by EOKA terrorists who thought, mistakenly, that he had betrayed some of their comrades.Religious celebrations are held on August 15.The monastery is located 40km northeast of Paphos.
St Neophytos Monastery
The monastery was founded in the late 12th century by the Cypriot hermit and writer Neophytos. Neophytos wrote a large number of theological treatises, including his Ritual Ordinance for Monastic Life and his history of Cyprus entitled "Concerning the Misfortunes of the Land of Cyprus."The "Egkleistra", an enclosure carved out of the mountain, contains some of the finest Byzantine frescoes dating from the 12th to 15th centuries. In the monastery's church there is an interesting ecclesiastical museum. There is also a frieze narrating the Akaithos hymn, which tells of the story of the life of Christ. The saint's bones are in a wooden sarcophagus and his skull in a silver receptacle.The monastery is located nine kilometers north of Paphos.
Kato Paphos - Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church
This church was built in the 13th century over the ruins of the largest early Byzantine basilica on the island. Within the compound one can see St Paul's Pillar, where, according to tradition, St Paul was flogged for preaching Christianity in Cyprus. Later Roman Governor Sergius Paulus was converted to Christianity and made Cyprus the first Christian land in the world.
Kato Paphos - St Solomoni Church
This church was originally a Christian catacomb. It is made up of a complex of underground chambers. It contains a collection of 12th century frescoes. A sacred tree outside is believed to cure the sick.Visitors tie pieces of cloth to the branches of the tree in hopes that their ailments will be cured.
Geroskipou - St Paraskevi Church
St Lamprianos Church
Near Ayia Solomoni is a second catacomb, Ayios Lambrianos. This is larger but less impressive.
The Paphos Harbor is lined with tourist shops selling handicrafts, jewelry and other souvenirs. There are also roadside cafes and on the street visitors can meet up with Kókos, the resident pelican.The harbor is still used by small fishing boats. There are also various boat trips out to Lara's beaches as well as to a nearby shipwreck in a glass-bottomed boat.
Villa of Dionysos
Near the harbor of Paphos are the excellently preserved mosaic pavements of the Villa of Dionysos, among the finest in the Mediterranean area.
Kato Paphos - Paphos Fort
Above the harbor stands a Turkish fort (1592) built on the site of an earlier medieval castle.This is a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbor. Rebuilt by the Lusignans, it was dismantled by the Venetians and rebuilt by the Ottomans.There are also ruins of another fort on the breakwater, but these consist only of two lumps of rock.
Our Lady of the Harbor Church
The early Christian Basilica was built in the fifth century. It lies in ruins now but its ground plan can be made out. It had three aisles divided by rows of columns and the floor was covered in mosaics. The site is locked up and visitors will have to peer through the fence.
Ktima, or the upper town of Paphos, used to be clearly separated from the old town but now so much development has taken place that the division is no longer clear.Ktima contains most of the shops and the cheaper hotels and is less oriented for the tourist.
Just inside the city wall of Ktima are some underground chambers cut out of the rock called Garrison's Camp. They resemble other chambers found at nearby sites and could have been cut in the fourth century B.C. The northern and western sides have been excavated and were possibly the living quarters of the soldiers. The site runs off a long corridor with chambers to the east and north. It was probably some sanctuary to a pagan deity but there is no definitive evidence of this and there was also a Christian basilica in the forecourt which is still being excavated.
At the end of Apostolou Pavlou Avenue is Fabrica Hill. This is a rocky mound where there are chambers cut out of the rock, but it is unclear what they were used for. They had vaulted roofs and possibly painted walls. Just east of here is a large theater, which has not been excavated, but there is a good view from the hill to the town and sea below. An inscription in the area suggests that it was built in 3 B.C.
Near Agora Street is the Paphos Market. It is a colorful, lively place where villagers bring their produce to sell. It is open only in the morning.
Kato Pafos or Lower Paphos is the older part of the city. The traditional character of the old town can be found here. Many of the local sites are also contained in Kato Pafos.
House of Dionysos (Mosaics)
Kato Paphos - Acropolis and Odeon
This second century Odeon is built of limestone. It is now used in the summer for music and theater performances. The theater has been partly restored after excavation. It is a semicircle with a stage and 12 rows of seats.Nearby are the remains of ancient city walls and the Roman Agora. The Agora, a large court (1,000sq.ft/95sq.m) used as a market place, stands in front of the Odeon. Only the foundations and parts of the columns are visible. It probably dates from the second century.Next to the Odeon there is a modern lighthouse and a rocky mound believed to have been the Acropolis of the town. There was once a temple here but little of this has survived.South of the Odeon is a collection of buildings which served as an Asklepion (shrine of the god of healing, Asklepeios).
Kato Paphos - Forty Columns
The columns were built by the Lusignans in the 13th century on the site of a previous Byzantine castle.The castle was probably built in the seventh century as protection against Arab raiders. It had an outer wall which was some three meters thick and a moat. The square keep was built around a courtyard and had substantial towers at each corner. Entry was through a fifth gate tower on the east side.Although the building is in ruins, there are many fragments of towers and dungeons to explore, but all are unprotected and those with small children should be careful on the higher parts of the ruins.
Kato Paphos - Tombs of the Kings
Outside the town of Paphos are the so-called Tombs of the Kings, rock-cut tomb chambers with architectural embellishments.These impressive underground tombs date to the fourth century B.C. They are carved out of solid rock, some decorated with Doric pillars. The magnificence of the tombs gives the locality its name.
The Paphos Aquarium has a spectacular collection of colorful sea and freshwater fish from around the world. There are 72 spacious, environmentally-friendly tanks, including one for crocodiles.Specially designed lighting enables you to study the intriguing markings and beautiful colors of the different fish and to watch them in their different habitats.
Address: Box 1412, Cyprus
Kato Paphos - Aphrodite Water Park
Aphrodite Water Park is home to the world's largest family rafting ride, Free Fall which is a vertical slide, and a small water play area for children.
Address: Off Poseidonos Avenue, Box 61357, 8133 Paphos, Cyprus
Reaching Adonis Falls is an off-road adventure but worth the trip. The giant waterfall, 1km from Coral Bay, drops into a large pool of cool refreshing water. Visitors can also jump from cliffs as high as 50 feet.
Pafos Bird and Animal Park
Pafos Bird and Animal Park is home to abundant bird life, as well as mammals and snakes. The park opened in 2003 and an Amphitheatre was added in 2004. The theatre allows for educational wildlife programs.
Paphos Cultural Festival
The Paphos Cultural Festival takes place throughout September and includes local and international talent. There are usually theatrical and musical performances as well as dance recitals.
Nine mi/15km southeast of Paphos, at the village of Kouklia (Palea Paphos), are the remains of a Sanctuary of Aphrodite which was much venerated in ancient times.
Palaipaphos Site and Museum
Palaiopaphos or Old Paphos was a celebrated pilgrimage center of the ancient Greek world.The main site lies on a flat area on top of a hill. The city was probably built by the Arcadian king Agapenor, who stopped here on his way back from Troy. The first settlement was in 1500 B.C. and grew into an important city. It drew the focus of the Persian attack in 498 B.C. when the Paphians were defeated.It was known as a sanctuary of Aphrodite. After emerging from the sea at Petra Tou Romiou she was brought here and a temple established which attracted a large number of pilgrims. The area flourished until about 321 B.C. when the site at Nea Paphos emerged between the two cities and Palea Paphos lost its supremacy, although it remained important for its sanctuary.During the Christian period the city declined further. In the 13th century the Lusignans built a castle (Chateau de Covocle) here, from where they controlled extensive sugar plantations. It was destroyed by Memeluke raids in 1426 but was rebuilt and used by the Turkish Chiftlik, the local governor. The manor house has been restored and is used as a museum, although of the earlier medieval building only the east and south wing survive.The museum houses exhibits taken from the site and fragments of mosaics. The prize exhibit is the black conical stone which was the manifestation of Aphrodite which the pilgrims worshipped. There also are fragments of rock with inscriptions dedicated to Aphrodite, a huge stone jar, various figurines and an ancient bathtub. In the central case are various weapons and around the walls limestone statues from the siege ramp. Other exhibits from the medieval period include pots and cauldrons.
Sanctuary of Aphrodite (Leda and the Swam Mosaic)
To the east of the Palaipaphos museum is the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, which dates to the 12th century B.C. This is where rituals would have taken place. The goddess was not represented in human form but by the conical stone which was anointed with oil (stone is in nearby museum). In front of the manor house are several buildings associated with the temple consisting of two colonnaded halls. Around the court are several chambers which are a mixture of early construction and later Roman additions.The south wing is the best preserved of the building and the remaining walls are quite high, made of blocks up to 2.1m in height. There was possibly a Phoenecian temple inside this wing in a small courtyard, but Roman reconstruction has added to the confusion of the original layout.West of the sanctuary are Roman remains including a large Roman Peristyle House built in A.D. 1. It consists of rooms around a colonnaded atrium and contains mosaics. The house was possibly a residence for the priests who tended the sanctuary. There are ruins of several other Roman houses on the site, most notably the house of Leda. This is reached on a marked path, and contains a copy of the mosaic depicting Leda and the Swan (the most famous in Cyprus).There are also remains of the Christian period, including the Katholiki Church, which is inside a small cloister and close to the temple. It dates from the Byzantine period when it served the village and has some wall paintings.
Northeast of Kouklia is Marcello Hill, the northeast gate and the siege works of the Palaipaphos site. These were the extensive defenses of the site, which were gradually added to and strengthened as the city was attacked by different enemies. The walls stand only about one meter high but the impressive arrangements are still visible. The road through the walls is very narrow and turns in a sharp bend. Marks on the walls show how the wheels of vehicles failed to cope with the narrow entrance. The gate was once 12.5m wide with a bastion on either side, but when the defenses were strengthened the entrance was narrowed to 2.8m and guard rooms added.The siege ramp, outside the gate, was built by the Persians when they attacked the city in 498 B.C. Most of the ramp has now been removed and some artifacts placed in the museum on the main site.
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