Paphos was the capital of Cyprus for 600 years in Antiquity and its rich history has been recognised in the fact that the whole city was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.Paphos is a coastal city in the South West of Cyprus and is the capital of the Paphos District. In myth it was the birthplace of the Greek Goddess of Love, Aphrodite. As part of the founding myth, the town’s name crops up again, being the name of Pygmalion’s son. (Pygmalion being the sculptor who, having carved a woman of ivory, falls in love with her- Aphrodite brings the statue to life and the child of this union was named Paphos.)
Paphos is also noted for the intricate floor mosaics in villas which date back to the Roman period and which depict scenes from Greek Myth. There is also the underground Tomb of the Kings which were carved out of solid rock and decorated with Doric pillars As the capital of Cyprus for 600 years in antiquity, the archaeological legacy of Pafos (Paphos) is such that UNESCO put the whole city on its World Cultural Heritage List.
Where to stay
Accommodation on Cyprus is runs the gamut between opulent five-star hotels right on the beach with everything that you could wish for including health centre and spa, through to a family-run hideaway in the hills. Whatever you choose, you are guaranteed of Cypriot hospitality and a very warm welcome Equally, there are options for every budget with reasonable rates and great value accommodation.
Cypriot cuisine is best described as being Mediterranean with a hint of the Middle East and Asia Minor. The emphasis is on fresh local ingredients including herbs and spices and a dash of olive oil.
There are numerous local and international options and typically these are good value. There are some real beauty spots too with the prospect of enjoying classical opera under the stars in the medieval castle overlooking Paphos harbour.
There is a good commercial area in Paphos with a wide range of shops from boutiques to specialist retailers. At the harbour and along the promenade there are craft and gift shops. Such is the quality of handcrafted in goods in Cyprus as a whole that the government has created the Cyprus Handicraft Service of which there are a number of official and unofficial outlets throughout the island. Top holiday buys include embroidered linens, Lefkara lace and ceramic pots.
The “Tombs of the Kings” are to be found close to the sea in the north western necropolis of Paphos. No royalty is buried here-the name comes from the size and splendour of the tombs (although some members of the Pafian aristocracy may have been buried here.) They are cut into the rock and date back to the Hellinistic or early Roman periods.
Maa-Palaeokastro is a settlement on the western coast of Cyprus. It is 10 kilometres northwest of Paphos. It has strong fortification walls and the steep rugged cliffs afforded protection to the inhabitants up until around 1200 BC. Many archaeologists cite the destruction of Maa and other Late Bronze Age sites on the rise of the “sea peoples” which caused widespread disorder and destruction throughout the Mediterranean.
The fort of Nea Pafos (Paphos) is located at the west end of the harbour. It was built during the Frankish occupation of Cyprus in the 13th century in order to replace the Byzantine castle of 'Saranta Kolones'. For families there is also Paphos Aphrodite Water Park which is set within 35,000 sqm of landscaped grounds. It has a wide and varied selection of rides, attractions and facilities including the biggest family raft ride in the world.
Every year the Paphos Aphrodite Festival organisers invite a well-known opera troupe to town to perform an opera. This popular event takes place in the square in front of the medieval castle in Paphos, a stunning venue for almost any opera. Past performances include Verdi's 'La Traviata' and 'Aida', Bizet's 'Carmen' and Puccini's 'Turandot' Easter is a very important date in the Orthodox calendar when there are Orthodox easter – cultural events and parades In the autumn, September and October time, there are wine events to celebrate harvest time.
How to get around
There is a new bus service from Larnaca airport to Paphos and there are also buses between the other large towns of Cyprus and Paphos itself. Also many people hire cars especially for trips to the mountains.
Airport – new airport unveiled last November
Time +2 hours
Visas: no visa for British passport
Language: Greek, Turkish and English
Religion: Majority is Greek orthodox, approximately 10% are muslims
Climate: year round the average is 20 degrees celsius. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit as the weather is warm but not uncomfortable Electricity: Same as the UK
Airlines: Cyprus Airways, Easyjet, Monarch, BA
Flight time: 4.5 hours
For more information contact: Cyprus Tourism Organisation, 17 Hanover Street, London W1S 1YP Tel: 020-7569 8800 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.visitcyprus.com