Tag Archives: Pafos

The archaeological treasures of Pafos

In ancient times, Pafos was the capital of Cyprus and thanks to its exceptional architectural and historic value it is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are several areas of archaeological interest, mainly in the Kato Pafos area, all of them worth a visit during your time there.

Pafos Archaeological Site
Located just behind the harbour, this is the area where most of the remains from the Hellenistic and Roman periods are located. You can easily spend a couple of hours walking around and appreciating the ruins of ancient villas, palaces, tombs. But the highlights of this area are the beautiful mosaics in the Houses of Dionysos, Theseus, Aion and Orpheus, some of the finest of the Roman times. Excavations are still ongoing and you will find evidence of that!
(Entry fee €4.50).

Solomon’s Catacombs and Agios Lambrianos rock cut tombs
These two sites are almost next to each other along the main road that leaves Pafos harbour heading towards the new Kings Avenue Mall. Walk down the steep steps to visit the catacombs then enjoy the enormous underground caverns of the rock cut tombs, they are definitely interesting sites.

Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church and St. Pauls’ Pillar
The foundations,  some of the marble columns and remains of the original floor mosaics are what’s left of the original 4th century basilica. On the same site is the so-called St. Paul’s Pillar, where according to tradition St. Paul was flogged.

Tombs of the Kings
A couple of Km north of Kato Pafos, this is a large site of underground tombs dating back to the 4th century BC located on barren landscape facing the sea. Despite the name, it was not a royal burial site. The well preserved underground tombs are unique in Cyprus as influenced by ancient Egyptian tradition.
(Entry fee €2.50).

Enough of history and archaeology? Wait for the next post then ;-).

Discovering Pafos

Pafos (or Paphos) is a popular destination in southwest Cyprus, famous for its beaches as well as its archaeological sites. Thanks to the lovely Mediterranean climate, when I visited at the end of September the weather was still great, with warm temperatures and sunny days and without the excruciating heat (and huge tourist crowds, too) of the summer.

The first thing that I learnt when I arrived is that Pafos is made of two main parts: Ktima (Upper Pafos), up on the hill, and Kato Pafos (Lower Pafos), where the harbour is.

Ktima
This part of town currently looks like a building site because of lots of renovation work that is preparing the town for the events of next year, as Pafos has been selected as European Capital of Culture for 2017. Saying that at the moment it all looks like a big mess is probably an understatement! Yet just walking around you can get the feeling of what this area is like, with beautiful colonial buildings and a much more relaxed atmosphere compared to Kato Pafos.

Kato Pafos
This is the main tourist area, very popular (and crowded!) thanks to the restaurants, bars, shops located mainly around the harbour area. The promenade is a great place for walks and people watching at any time of the day (sunsets here are beautiful!) and the castle at one end of the harbour offers good views of the area from its upper level (Euro2.50 entrance fee). The beaches in this part of town aren’t that great, yet they can get quite crowded during the day.
Behind the harbour lie the Pafos Archaelogical Park and the lighthouse.

But one of my favourite parts of Pafos was the coastal walk that leads from the Pafos castle  to the Tombs of the Kings, the other main archaeological area in Pafos. I walked it at different times of the day – even after dark – and always loved it!

Do you want to know more about the archaeological sites in Pafos? That’s for the next post :-)