Ancient Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos, and indeed Cyprus itself, has always been associated with the Goddess Aphrodite so its not surprise that the founding myth of Paphos is that Aphrodite arose out of the sea and came ashore at the Aphrodite Rocks, near Paphos Castle. The archaeological site of Nea Pafos is just part of a larger ancient site which includes the previously featured Tomb of the Kings and the Church of Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa. Nea Pafos was founded at the end of the of the 4th century BC by Nicocles, the last king of Palaipafos. Cyprus had been part of the Ptolemaic kingdom since the 3rd century BC, its capital in Alexandria in modern day Egypt. Nea Pafos became the centre of the Ptolemaic administration on the whole island of Cyprus, it later became the capital of Cyprus. In 58BC Cyprus was annexed by Rome but Nea Pafos continued to be its capital. It continued to be the first city until an earthquake in the 4th century which caused much destruction and beget a further period of decline at the end of the Roman era, finally falling prey to Arab raids. The city was taken by the Byzantines and ruled by them until the Crusades of 1191 led by Richard the Lion Heart and the Knights of the Third Crusade. However the Crusaders only ruled for a year before Byzantines regained control which they held until 1489. By this time Nea Pafos was in ruin and the new town of Paphos further inland, with its fine castle and harbour was built.

Though the Tomb of the Kings and other sites such as the Church of Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa can be considered part of Nea Pafos they are not located in the archaeological park per say, both have been featured previously on this site. One of the most important ruins in the park is the House of Dionysus with its beautiful mosaic floors dating from the 2nd century AD, there are images of hunts and mythical scenes. The House of Aion and the House or Orpheus also contain remarkable mosaics. The theatre, located on the north-eastern part of the site dates from the end of the 4th century, is a striking ruin in which to sit and imagine what this city would have looked during its finest hour. The basilica and agora are also worth a visit and one can easily see why the UNESCO heritage status is much deserved

GPS: 34.75604, 32.40842

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