Following the Turkish invasion in 1974, Paphos developed from an insignificant fishing village into a bustling commercial centre and a popular tourist destination with luxurious resorts and as the host of one of the two international airports of the island. Paphos was built by Arcadian Greeks who settled in the area after the Trojan War, and it served as the capital of Cyprus during the Hellenistic and Roman times and as stop-over for east-west sea travelling during the Frankish occupation of the island. Paphos is an area of superb natural beauty and rich in archeological sites, all connected to Aphrodite. The city of Paphos has a population of 47,530.
The square shaped Medieval Castle is the most recognizable landmark of Paphos and is located at the harbour. It was originally built by the Byzantines to protect the city from the Saracen raids, and it was later rebuilt by the Lusignans who abandoned it to the Ottomans in 1570. During the British rule the castle was used as a prison and a storage space.
The Paphos Mosaics cover an area of 300 square feet, and they are the best that have been found in the Eastern Mediterranean. The mosaics were the floors of Roman noblemen, and they present scenes from the Greek Mythology. The site is located in the Archaeological Park in Kato Paphos, near the harbour..
The Paphos Archaeological Museum consists of 5 rooms with exhibits of artefacts that were found in the region of Paphos. The museum is located on Griva Digeni Ave.
The area of Fabrica Hill consists of the Odeon, Saranta Kolones, the Frankish Baths, the Cave of Agios Agapitikos, the Catacomb of Agia Solomoni and the City Wall which starts west of the Medieval Castle, goes around the Fabrica Hill and ends back to the harbour; the underground caves of the rocky hill were quarried and used as storage space during the medieval period.
Aphrodite’s Rock is one of the most visited sites on the island. The beach around the rock is one of the most beautiful coastlines in Cyprus, and according to the myth, it was here that the goddess rose from the waves.
Aphrodite’s Sanctuary is situated at Kouklia village (Palaipaphos), and it was Aphrodite’s most important centre of worship of the ancient Greek world.
The Tombs of the Kings is a large necropolis situated about two kilometres north-west of the harbour.
Akamas Peninsula: One can not go to Paphos and not visit the Akamas National Park, which is located on the westernmost part of the island. The Park covers 230 square km and is a protected area with an impressive diversity of fauna and flora, where one finds rare endemic plants which grow only in Cyprus and nowhere else on the planet.
Gorges are of great ecological importance to Akamas; many species of birds and other animals find refuge and breed in the gorges, and on their inaccessible cliffs grow rare plants.
Avakas is the most visited gorge of Akamas. Other important sites that worth a visit are the sandy beaches of Lara and Toxeftra which are the nesting grounds of Caretta caretta and the Green Turtle.
Other interesting sites in the Paphos area are the Sea Caves which are part of Peyia and are found 18km west of Paphos on the rugged coastline north of Corral Bay; The Ancient Marion and Latchi Harbour in Polis Chrysohou; the Museum of Basket Weaving in the village of Inia; the Folk Museum in Steni village; the Kougiouka Watermill in the village of Giolou; the Fiti Weaving Museum in the village of Fiti; and the Forest Station of Stavros tis Psokas near the mouflon reserve in the Cedar Valley.
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Annual Events in Paphos
Aphrodite Festival: an opera festival which takes place in September in the square in front of the Medieval castle of Paphos. Paradise Jazz Festival: the festival takes place in September at the Paradise Place, located on the road to Pomos Village. Dionysia Festival: is held at the end of the summer at Stroumbi village. It is a festival in honour of the Greek God Dionysus and celebrates the wines of the Paphos area. Arkadia Festival: the Arkadia Festival is held in August at the village of Kallepeia and celebrates the beauty of the area.
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