The city of Aphrodite

Paphos is on the island of Cyprus that holds ten thousand years of Mediterranean history and where, according to legend, the goddess Aphrodite was born in Paphos, high in the sky, Orion, the hunter, shines and tirelessly pursues the Pleiades, accompanied by his two inseparable dogs. It’s a mythological sky that accompanies the legends that are the essence of Cyprus.


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Cyprus is well known around the world as the island where the goddess Aphrodite, for the Greeks, and Venus, for the Romans, emerged from the sea. The Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli depicted her in a painting on display in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. She is not only the goddess of beauty, but also Mother Earth, a legend that dominated the countries of the Middle East.


Paphos, on the extreme western tip of the island of Cyprus, holds years of Mediterranean history
The old Nea Paphos was founded in the twelfth century BC and was spread over 950 square metres, in 58 BC it was annexed to Rome and made money by trading with Alexandria, Rhodes and Athens. It was the capital of Cyprus at the time of the Greeks and Romans, and its importance is demonstrated by the riches it has preserved. Villas adorned with splendid mosaics, carefully restored in 1962, brought to light the house of Dionysus, the god of wine, and Theseus, the hero who, with his club, fights the Minotaur, the monster of Crete.


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These scenes from Greek mythology are depicted on the floors of patrician villas from the third and fifth centuries AD, considered among the finest in the Mediterranean. The oldest mosaic dates back to the Hellenistic period. It is made of black and white tiles and depicts Scylla (fish-dog-woman) with a trident and dolphins. Countless are the well-preserved archaeological sites of great beauty.


In Paphos there are different archaeological sites declared World Heritage by UNESCO


The region of Paphos is home of many archaeological sites are historically invaluable, with Katos Paphos declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kato Paphos archaeological Park includes sites and monuments from prehistory to the Middle Ages, and remains of the Roman period as the mosaic floors of four Roman villas.
The complex also includes the monuments of Asklipieion, Odeion, Agora, “Saranta Kolones” (Forty Columns) Fortress, “Limeniotissa” Ruins of the first Christian Basilica and the “Tombs of the Kings”.



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The historical centre of Paphos, dominated by the castle fortress of Lusignan, has a beautiful coastal pedestrian street adorned with tall palm trees and lined with luxury hotels and lavish restaurants. Follow it until you reach Paphos marina and look for the ideal tavern to enjoy a hearty fish dinner, preceded by hors d’oeuvres on large communal platters with sauces made from organic vegetables grown on the island. The port is the nerve centre for tourists, where you can dine the whole year round on the sea, which by night reveals its moods - from the gentle lapping of calm waters to the thunderous roar of a storm.


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In Paphos the air is perfumed with a thousand essences, including rosemary and frangipani, and accompanied by the rustle of palm and olive trees. The itineraries between history, culture, nature and fun are interesting. From Paphos you can enjoy different itineraries to visit the island of Cyprus in a fast and smart way, either by car rental (left-hand drive) or by public transport, including the Archaeological itinerary of Aphrodite, itineraries to Byzantine churches and locations where Christian saints lived, itineraries involving wines, botany, bird watching, horse-riding, cycling, running, sailing, scuba diving, safari in the nature reserves and finally golf with elegant clubhouses and excellent restaurants on a hills surrounded by emerald green fields.


Text by Pia Bassi

Avion Tourism Magazine

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Tourist Offices


Where to sleep in Paphos
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Paphos is a welcoming city and offers various possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
Hotels in the districts
Hotels near the airports
Hotels in other cities of Cyprus
WHERE TO GO in Paphos
Monuments in Paphos
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The Archaeological Park is located where, in antiquity, there was the city of Nea Paphos, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage. Kato Paphos is one of the most important archaeological sites in Cyprus and includes 4 houses of Dionysus, Theseus, Aion and Orpheus (with renowned mosaic floors depicting scenes from Greek mythology), the Odeion, the Asklipieion, the Agora, the walls of the City and the ruins of the Byzantine Castle “Saranta Kolones“ (Forty Columns) located just north of the harbour of Paphos.
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The Palaiochristian Basilica of Chrysopolitissa is located in Kato Paphos. Extraordinary mosaics can be seen in this Basilica. In 45 AD, Cyprus was converted to Christianity by the apostles Paul and Barnabas. A piece of white marble column indicates where Apostle Paul was tied and whipped thirty-nine times. They were responsible for the diffusion of Christianity and the foundation of the autocephalous church of Cyprus, one of the oldest Christian churches in the world.
Tombs of the Kings. Photo:, Shutterstock
The archaeological site "Tombs of the Kings" is part of the tomb complex of the ancient Paphos. This site, like the Archaeological Park of Kato Paphos, is included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage.
The Tombs of the Kings, located in the necropolis northwest of Paphos, have been carved into the rock between the Hellenistic period and the beginning of the Roman period. They are similar to the tombs found in Alexandria in Egypt, and some are characterized with different rooms.
Museums in Paphos
The Archaeological Museum of the District of Paphos houses a collection of artefacts found in the area of Paphos, from the Neolithic until 1700.
Of particular interest is a rare sculpture of "Aphrodite Warrior".
The Museum is connected to the Aphrodite Cultural Itinerary.
The Marion-Arsinoe Museum is located in Polis, in the District of Paphos. It exhibits a collection of ancient objects from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages, found during excavations in the region.
The archaeological finds come from the ancient city of Marion, renamed Arsinoe in the III century BC, from its cemeteries and from the surrounding area.
Erimi Village, Road to Pafos
4000 years of wine history are told through old documents that explain the cultivation and wine-making techniques, but also the social and economical aspects. Jars, containers and medieval goblets are on display. The island has wide areas used for terraced vineyards that produce excellent wines. One of them being Ximsteri, from which a fresh white wine is obtained that is to be drunk when young.
Excursions in Paphos
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Protected natural park, with the beautiful Lara beach, and ideal nesting spot for loggerhead turtles. A research centre protects them with signs, cages and fenced-off areas. The fine sand allows you to see the traces left by these animals. For those who love bird-watching, rare eagles and hoopoes with pink plumage can be spotted. It is located about 40 Km from Paphos.
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A protected area, an ideal habitat for millions of migrating birds of about 80 different species. It is home to the pink flamingos that spend the winter feeding on shrimp. During the summer the water evaporates, leaving a white crust that glistens in the sun. Up until the 80s, the salt was collected and even exported. Larnaka is located about 137 Km from Paphos.
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The theatre is located in Kourion, about 50 Km from Paphos, on Paphos-Limassol road. It was built in the second century BC and is still used to this day for shows and concerts. From above, it overlooks the Agios Ermogenis Bay and the underlying fertile plain with beautifully cultivated fields. In Kourion you can also admire the well-preserved mosaics that decorate the floors of its patrician villas. One of these is the House of Gladiators, of the III century AD, which houses a series of important mosaics.
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Geologists come to study the rocks and ophiolite of the Troodos Mountains, which extend to 1,952 metres. Woods, pine forests and fields are crossed by biking and hiking trails with panoramic areas over the Mediterranean Sea. During the winter, slopes are available to skiers, and clear rivers. Here there are monasteries and Byzantine churches declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Don’t miss, at 1,318 metres, the Monastery of Kykkos, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Temple of Aphrodite. Photo:, Shutterstock
In the village of Kouklia, located sixteen kilometers southwest of the city of Paphos, stood the ancient city of Palepafos, where stands the important temple of Aphrodite. The site is part of the UNESCO world heritage. The temple is dedicated to the ancient Olympian goddess of beauty, who is linked to the myth of mother earth and was born from the waves of the sea that lap the beautiful beach of Petra tou Romiou. The statues of Aphrodite, found in various archaeological sites, are preserved in various museums on the island. At Kouklia, where there are the remains of a temple, a church called “Panagia Aphroditissa” was erected, a place of devotion for the women of Cyprus. Plants and shrubs were associated with the cult of the Cypriot goddess: tamarisk, pomegranate, myrtle, rosemary, flower of Adonis or field buttercups, narcissus, anemone, asparagus, rose, maple, oregano, quince and certain shells.
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