Paphos

 

 

Aphrodite's realm.

 

The antiquity Paphos wa the centre of the cult of Aphrodite. Swim in the sea by the rocks known as Petra tou Romiou where the goddess was believed to have risen from the waves, make a pilgrimage to her sanctuary at Kouklia, or visit the grotto near Polis where she was supposed to have bathed.

 

Paphos, with its pleasant harbor and medieval fort, combines a cosmopolitan holiday resort, spectacular countryside and historical sites. It was the capital of Cyprus for 600 years in ancient times and its archaeological legacy is such that UNESCO put the whole town on its World Cultural Heritage List.

 

The intricate floor mosaics in villas dating back to the Roman period depicting scenes from Greek mythology are considered among the finest in the Eastern Mediterranean. Equally impressive are the underground Tombs of the Kings carved out of solid rock and decorated with Doric pillars. The museum at Maa- Paleokastro near Coral Bay has an interesting collection of artefacts from the period of Mycenean Greek colonization of Cyprus.

 

Byzantine treasures abound, such as remarkable five- domed church of Agia Paraskevi in Geroskipou, or the ruins of two early Christian basilicas at Agios Georgios in Pegeia.

 

The monastery of Agios Neofytos has wonderfully colourful frescoes painted on the walls in a cave that hermit carved out of the mountain. Chrysorrogiatissa monastery is worth visiting for its fine icons and a taste of the locally produced vintage wine from its own winery.

 

 

If peace and quiet in harmony with nature are what you are after, head for the Polis area. The Akamas peninsula is an area of natural wilderness with dramatic coastlines and sandy coves. Here you can explore the various picturesque villages, walk alone one of the many scenic nature trails or take a boat trip along the dramatic coastline that all form part of Aphrodite’s playground.