memonic

A City Rich With History

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Both Paphos and Cyprus are steeped with history, some of which dates back to 10,000BCE. Archaeologists suggest that the area in and around the city was inhabited during the neolithic era and once was an important outpost of the Hittite empire, roughly around the 14th Century BC. Numerous other nations, including the Phoenicians, the Persians and the Mycenaean Greeks, also inhabited or occupied the island during the ancient and classical periods. Rome too left an indelible mark on the island, as did the Byzantine empire and the spread of Christianity.

As you can imagine the city of Paphos has much more of a modern look about it nowadays. Yet, despite the presence of 19th, 20th and 21st Century architecture, the city still retains a lot of original features, such as Paphos Castle, the Tomb of Kings and the House of Dionysus.

The Tomb of the Kings

The ancient necropolis known as the Tomb of the Kings can be located a few km's to the west of Paphos. Somewhat of a misnomer, as according to researchers no kings were actually interred there, the tombs and chambers were the last resting place for aristocracy of Paphos. Carved out of solid rock, the tombs lay underground, many of which are adorned with Doric columnes and colonnades, along with the occasional wall frescoe.

The House of Dionysus      

The House of Dionysus was allegedly built during the 2nd Century AD and was home to the local Roman governor. The site is well preserved and architecturally little different from other Roman villas across Europe, except for the wealth of mosaics that were found after the site had been excavated. Many of those within the villa depict the god Dionysus and associted iconography; hence the villa's name. A number of other mosaics with mythological and agricultural themes also adorn the villa floors.

 

Travel Details

The city of Paphos is served by the Paphos International Airport (PFO) located roughly 10km east of the city. Tour operators and airlines run regular flights to Paphos, and over 2million passengers pass through the airport's gates each year. Access to the city is relatively easy, a new four-lane road is set to open, connecting the city to the airport, as both the B6 and the E603 can suffer from congestion during busy periods. 

 

The Founding of Paphos

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According to Ovid, Pygmalion a Cypriot sculptor carved a woman out of ivory which he then installed in his villa. The legend suggests that on a day dedicated to Aphrodite, the sculptor prayed to the goddess, wishing that his statue would be changed into a real woman. When he returned home he kissed the statue and felt it come to life, imbued with the spirit of the goddess. The resulting relationship produced a son named Paphos, who later went on to found and establish the city which he named after himself.

The Island of Aphrodite

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At the easternmost point of the Mediterranean, the island of Cyrpus rises from the sea like the Colossus of old. Situated in the midst of maritime trade routes between ancient Greece, Persia and Egypt, Cyprus has been a battleground for warring empires and nations for millenia, its unique location making it one of the most strategic staging points in the whole of Europe. 

According to legend the great rock on Paphos beach was the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love & sexuality. The myth states that the Aphrodite was born, after the Titan Cronus removed his fathers genitals with a flint sickle and cast them into the sea near Cyprus. Supposedly the goddess floated to shore on a giant scallop shell before taking her rightful place as part of the Greek Pantheon.