Palea Paphos Sights and Landmarks Guide, Cyprus
The site that was once the ancient city of Palea Paphos, Cyprus is now a village named Kouklia, but the remnants of the old Cyprus capital still remain. These remnants are evidence of the ancient Greek, Roman, and Biblical beliefs and events that occurred there.
There are several attractions for those who are interested in the area’s archaeological finds. The Paphos District Archaeological Museum (address: Griva Digeni 43) and the Ethnographical Museum (address: Exo Vrysis 1) both contain many pieces of antiquity dating from the Neolithic Era to the 21st century A.D. This includes ancient Greek and Roman statuary.
Lovers of Greek mythology will be right at home in Palea Paphos. One of the most important sights is the Sanctuary of Aphrodite (location: Kouklia Village). These buildings, which were built beginning in the 1100’s B.C. are in ruins today but they still offer a look at an ancient Greek temple and necropolis. There is also a museum containing some of the site’s archaeological finds.
Christian scholars and pilgrims will also find sights to suit them. Palea Paphos is one of the stops that St. Paul of Tarsus took while journeying in the Mediterranean area. Before helping to convert the Roman Proconsul, Sergius Paulus, to Christianity it is said that Paul was tied to a stone pillar and beaten. Today, the Pillar of St. Paul rests near the ruins of an ancient Gothic church and Roman basilica.
There are also many attractions for those who are interested in ancient Roman and Byzantine history. Paphos Odeon (location: Kato Paphos) is a 2nd century A.D. limestone theater that is still in use during the summer months. The Byzantine Museum (address: A. Ioannou 3) contains many interesting 7th and 8th century A.D. items.
Other historical sights include the Medieval Fort (location: Kato Paphos harbor) which was built and rebuilt at certain points in the history of the area but was originally a Byzantine fort. The Saranta Kolones castle (location: Kato Paphos) was built in the early 1200’s on the site of a Byzantine Castle which had been destroyed by an earthquake. Pano Panayia was the home of Archbishop Makarios III who eventually became the first President of Cyprus. The home now serves as a museum.
Paphos also has many interesting attractions for those who enjoy visiting old cathedrals, tombs, and churches. One of the oldest sights in the area is the Tombs of the Kings (location: Kato Paphos). The elaborately decorated tombs are located in a massive underground crypt dating back to the 4th century B.C. and act as the final resting place to many of the area’s highest officials. The Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery was founded in the 12th century A.D. and completed in the 18th century. The Monastery is dedicated to Our Lady of the Pomegranate. Religious ceremonies and celebrations are held on the 15th of every August and the old wine presses are still in use.
Lovers of art will want to visit the House of Dionysus, the Villa of Theseus, and the House of Aion. Some of the best ancient mosaics showing scenes from Greek mythology in the eastern Mediterranean can be found on the floors of these 3rd, 4th, and 5th century A.D. Roman noblemen’s homes. The Ayios Neophytos Monastery contains beautiful Byzantine frescos from the late 12th to 15th centuries A.D.
And Palea Paphos would not be complete if it did not offer a few places for people to get away and enjoy nature. Paphos is the entrance to the Peninsula of Akamas. Besides being beautiful and containing many nature trails, the peninsula also houses the Baths of Aphrodite. The Baths consist of a beautiful grotto and legend has it that the goddess used to take her beauty baths there. The Paphos Aquarium (location: downtown), which features both freshwater and saltwater life, is complete with a restaurant and beautiful view.
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