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Pafos / Paphos

History

Pafos became the capital of Cyprus under the successors of Alexander the Great - the Ptolemies and in those days its harbor was a busy, thriving port. It continued as the island's first city for more than seven centuries, retaining its importance under Roman rule its most famous Governor Sergius Paulus, was converted to Christianity by St Paul in 45 AD. But Pafos history dates back a great deal further. In fact the whole area abounds in historical and archaeological treasure.
Capital of the west and positively teaming with history is Pafos, site of the island's second international airport. The resort town has as its focal point a charming fishing harbor by Pafos Fort, lined with open-air cafés and taverns that serve a tempting menu of the day's catch.

Aphrodite’s Rock (Petra tou Romiou) On the south coast of the island, on one of the most beautiful beaches, lies “Petra tou Romiou” as it’s known in Cyprus, the location where Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, was said to have emerged from the sea. Aphrodite’s Rock is a massive chunk of stone that marks the spot, her birthplace was a place of pilgrimage for the entire Hellenic world.

The legacy from its remarkable history adds up to nothing less than an open museum, so much so that UNESCO simply added the whole town to its World Cultural Heritage List. Among the treasures iiiK-arlhed, are the remarkable mosaics in the Houses of Dionysos, Theseus and Aion, beautifully preserved after 16 centuries under the soil. Then there are the mysterious vaults and caves, the Tombs of the Kings, the Pillar to which Saint Paul was allegedly tied and whipped, the ancient Odeon Theatre and other places of interest including the Byzantine Museum and the its Archaeological Museum.

Touring

Baths of Aphrodite
Located 48 km north of Paphos. An area of breath taking beauty associated with Aphrodite. According to legend, the goddess Aphrodite used to bathe in the pool of the nearby natural grotto, which is shaded by a fig tree. A trail from the Baths takes you to Fontana Amorosa (8 km from the Baths, at the end of the Akamas Peninsula). Walking along this trail, one can enjoy an incomparable view and unspoilt nature (especially in Sing).

Polis Chrysochous
Polis tis Chrysochou lies where once stood the ancient city-kingdom of Marion, an important commercial centre in Classical and Hellenistic times. Some beautiful houses, dating to the beginning of this century, can still be seen here. Its excellent climate and beautiful beaches and scenery, have made the area a popular resort.

Tombs of the Kings
There are actually no kings buried here. Rather the site known as the Tombs of the Kings, one mile (two km) northwest of Pafos harbour towards Coral Bay, was the final resting place of about 100 Ptolemaic aristocrats who lived and died in the city between 3 BC and 3 AD. The tombs are impressive, carved out of solid rock, some featuring Doric pillars and frescoed walls. Archaelogical excavations are ongoing at the site, which also features a church known as Paleoekklisia, which sports traces of Byzantine frescoes.

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