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Places of Interest in Pafos

The whole town of Pafos, the ancient capital of Cyprus, is included in the official UNESCO's list of cultural and natural treasures of the world heritage. Wherever one treads in Pafos comes across its glorious history which dates back thousands of years, when the cult of goddess Aphrodite who emerged from its seas, flourished in this beautiful part of the world attracting many visitors from inland and abroad and then for the spread of Christianity. Pafos was the islands capital for six centuries. Paphos is the perfect place to combine first class holidays with a walk through history. Immerse yourself in the archaeology, history and culture of Pafos and experience at first hand one of the oldest civisations of the world.
Pafos the capital of Cyprus during the Roman and Hellenistic times. It is the passage of time, it is history.

Archaeological Sites

Pafos the capital of Cyprus during the Roman and Hellenistic times. It is the passage of time, it is history.
  • Medieval Castle of Pafos
  • The Pafos castle was originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour. It was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century, dismantled by the Venetians in 1570 during the Ottoman invasion and rebuilt by the Ottomans after they captured the island in the 16th century. Originally, this role was served by the Saranta Kolones fort, ruins of which lie a few hundred meters to the north. During its long history, the Pafos Castle was used, in addition to protection, as prison cells, or even as a storage area for salt when the island was a British colony. Since 1935 it was declared as an ancient monument and today is considered as one of the hallmarks of the Pafos region. On the square just infront of the castle a lot of cultural events take place, while during September each year the Paphos Aphrodite Festival which presents a different opera every year performed by world famous artists is taking place just infront of the castle, whose building usually acts as part of the scenery

  • Pafos Mosaics
  • The mosaics of Pafos are considered among the finest in the Eastern Mediterranean. They mainly depict scenes from Greek mythology and are dating from the 2nd to the 5th century AD. It ‘s a “must” visit for every visitor to Pafos. Orpheus and the beasts mosaic House of Dionysus The mosaic decorations and the mythological compositions are the main characteristics of this restored Roman villa, dated back to second century A.D. The name “House of Dionysus” is mainly due to the many representations of Dionysus, the god of wine. The house most probably belonged to a member of the ruling Roman class or to a wealthy citizen of Pafos. The House of Theseus The mosaics of the villa of Theseus lie close to the House of Dionysus and date back to the second century A.D. A visitor can see the very interesting geometrical decorations as well as mythological representations. Worth seeing are the “Theseus killing the Minotaur” mosaic and the “Achilles’ birth”. The House of Aion The mosaics of the House of Aion date back to the fourth century A.D and lie close to the mosaics of Dionysus and Theseus. Five mythological scenes worth seeing are: The bath of Dionysus, Leda and the Swan, Beauty contest between Cassiopia and the Nereids, Apollo and Marsyas, Triumphant procession of Dionysus The House of Orpheus The mosaics of this villa belong to the third century A.D and lie to the west of the House of Theseus. There are three mythological representations worth seeing are the “ Orpheus and his Lyre”, the “ Hercules and the Lion of Nemea” and “the Amazon” The House of Four Seasons The house lies north of the House of the House of Orpheus. This house took its name from the mosaic that represents the personification of the four seasons. The mosaics belong to the first half of the third century A.D.

  • Tombs of the Kings
  • Spread over a vast area, these impressive underground tombs date back to the 4th century BC. They are carved out of solid rock with some being decorated with Doric pillars. High officials rather than Kings were buried here, but the magnificence of the tombs gave the locality its name.

  • Ancient Odeon
  • Pafos Odeon lies at Kato Pafos, the heart of the Pafos tourist area. It is a small 2nd century Odeon built entirely of well-hewn limestone blocks, it is now used in the summer for musical and theatrical performances. Nearby are the remains of the ancient city walls, the Roman Agora and a building dedicated to Asklipeios, god of medicine.

  • Aphrodite Temple
  • SANCTUARY OF APHRODITE is located at Kouklia village, 14 km east of Pafos, off the Lemesos - Pafos road. Palaipafos, which means Old Pafos, was one of the most celebrated pilgrimage centres of the ancient Greek world, and once city-kingdom of Cyprus. Here stood the famous Sanctuary of Aphrodite, the most ancient remains of which date back to the 12th century BC. The glorious days of the sanctuary lasted till the 3rd - ­4th century. The museum, housed in the Lusignan Manor, contains many interesting finds from the area, and excavations continue on the site of the sanctuary, the city and the necropolis.

  • Saranta Kolones
  • Saranta Kolones, The Byzantine castle, lies at Kato Pafos, near the harbour. This castle was built by the Lusignans at the beginning of the early 13th century on the site of a previous Byzantine Castle. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1222. The name Saranta Kolones (Forty columns) derives from the large number of granite columns found across the archaeological site.
The whole town of Pafos, the ancient capital of Cyprus, is included in the official UNESCO's list of cultural and natural treasures of the world heritage.

Museums

  • Paphos Archaeological Museum
  • In the archaeological Museum of Pafos, an attractive collection of Cypriot antiquities from the Pafos area, dating from the Neolithic Age to 1700 AD is exchibited. The exhibits originating mainly from Palepafos (Kouklia), Nea Pafos (present­day Pafos) and Mario-Arsinoe (Polis) are supplemented by finds from Pegia, Kisonerga, Lempa, PanoArodes, Salamiou, Akourdalia, Pomos, Kidasi, Geroskipou a.s.o. Five chambers are full of interesting exhibits dating from the Neolithic era till the Middle Ages. In the first chamber the visitor examines exhibits from Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age, including coins cut from the mint of Pafos. In the second chamber are hosted exhibits from the Iron Age and Classical period. A tombstone from Mario with Cypro-syllabic scrip, is worth seeing. In the third chamber the visitor can see exhibits from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Most probably the attention of the visitor could be directed to a marble statue of Asklepios and a marble body of Aphrodite. The fourth chamber hosts exhibits from late Roman and early Christian periods, while in the fifth chamber, added recently, there are items from the Byzantine and Middle Ages in general.

  • Polis Archaeological Museum
  • The local Museum of Marion - Arsinoe at Polis opened its doors to the public in 1998.It was erected by the Government of Cyprus and the generous financial support of Mr. Nicos Shacolas.The Museum consists of three exhibition spaces - Rooms I and II and the Atrium. Objects in Room I, which was named after Mr. Nicos Shacolas, derive from an extensive area around Polis and are chronologically arranged, so as to portray its historical development from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic to the Medieval periods. The Archaeological Museum of Marion - Arsinoe. (Polis Chrysochous) In Room II exhibits derive from the rich necropolis of the area with special reference to the location and excavation of the above cemeteries. according to the ancient literary sources recorded by Stephanos Vyzantios, the city of Marion was founded by the legendary King Marieas. On present evidence Marion has already been inhabited at the end of the Neolithic and through the Chalcolithic period. It began to prosper from the Cypro - Archaic period onwards and became one of the most important ancient Cypriot city - kingdoms in the Cypro - Classical period with important commercial relations with the East Aegean islands, Attica and Corinth.

  • Byzantine Museum
  • An attractive collection of objects from the Byzantine period, including Byzantine icons from the 7th to 18th centuries, and the oldest icon found yet in Cyprus of the 7th or 8th century. The extremely interesting Byzantine Museum of Pafos lies within the precincts of the Pafos Bishopric. It houses a great number of Byzantine icons, ranging mainly from the 12th to the 19th century, collected from churches and monasteries of the district of Pafos. These icons express the religious faith of the Pafians during the Byzantine era and enlighten present day visitors on the high artistic quality of those times. The oldest icon, of Virgin Eleousa, from the church of the Monastery of St Savvas tis Karonos, dated about 1200 A.D., is an exquisite example of Byzantine painting. The Byzantine Museum contains also liturgical books, firmans, manuscripts, wood­carvings, crosses, silver reliquaries, priests' uniforms etc.

  • Ethnographical Museum
  • This is a private ethnographic museum, until 1971 known as Folk Art Museum, probably the richest and best private museum in the whole of Cyprus, belonging to Mr George Eliades. Mr. Eliades, an intellectual, with interests in archaeology, history, folk art and literature, for over half a century has been collecting art treasures from the countryside of Cyprus, particularly from his native Pafos district, which are currently exhibited in his house, at 1, Exo Vrysi Str, Pafos. Components of the physical and man-made environment, like natural caves, a Hellenistic rock-cut tomb, a terebinth tree, architecture dating back to 1894 as well as a kiosk, have been incorporated into the ethnographic museum. The visitor can see costumes, particularly rural costumes and trimmings, traditional carved wooden furniture, farming tools, kitchen utensils, clay artefacts, looms, woven articles, etc. Even archaeological finds, mainly from the Chalcolithic period, are exhibited. A whole folk civilization is presented before the eyes of the visitor, who can commence his trips to the countryside immediately after visiting the rare and wonderful world of Eliades Museum.
Pafos is not just a region it is the glory of Christianity

Religious Places

  • Saint Neophytos Monastery
  • Saint Neophytos Monastery in Pafos, Cyprus Saint Neophytos monastery lies 10 km outside Paphos, near Tala village. Saint Neophytos was the founder of the monastery in 1159. He lived there and died in 1219 at the age of 85. The main church of the monastery was built around 200 years after his death and is devoted to Virgin Mary. Interesting places for the visitor are the cave with the cell of Saint Neophytos (Engleistra). The Engleistra, an enclosure carved out of the mountain by the hermit, contains some of the finest Byzantine frescoes dating from the 12th to 15th century. The Engleistra, the place where Saint Neophytos lived and died Fresco form the Engleistra In his cell are still preserved his rock-table and the rock platform on which he slept, as well as his grave. According to legend, this grave is adjusted so that it comes to measures to whoever tries it. A famous painter, Theodoros Apsevdis, undertook frescoes in the Engleistra. At the monastery one can also see Byzantine icons in the main church of exceptional art and also visit the museum of the monastery, with exhibitions from both the ancient period and Byzantine period.

  • Chrysorroyiatissa Monastery
  • Chrysorroyiatissa Monastery in Pafos, Cyprus The monastery lies near Panayia village, west of Paphos forest. Set in beautiful surroundings, the monastery, was founded in 1152 A.D. by monk Ignatios who found at Moulia area in Pafos the miraculous icon of Panagia, believed to have been painted by Apostle Luce the Evangelist. Ignatios took the icon to the mountain and built the monastery dedicated to 'Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate'. The monastery, whose present building dates back to 1770, has a collection of important icons and treasures. The church lies in the middle of the monastery and impresses with the frescoes above its three entrances. The icon of Christ and Virgin Mary in the monastery is also believed to be painted by Apostle Luce the Evangelist. It has a cover of gold and sliver. In the monastery functions a center for protection of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons and other treasures. A Byzantine museum has recently been set up. Christ and Virgin Mary painted by Apostle Luce In front of the main entrance of the monastery there is a café restaurant from where the view is panoramic and majestic. An impressive religious ceremony and celebrations are held on 15th August. The old winery of the monastery produces some of the best vintage wine of Cyprus produced from the monastery's vineyards.

  • Agia Paraskevi church
  • Church of Agia Paraskevi The church of Agia Paraskevi, built in the form of a basilica with five copulas placed in the shape of a cross, is one of the most important churches in Cyprus. Of the similar type is the basilica of the Saints Barnaba and Hilarion at the village of Peristerona in Nicosia, but this is of later period. The church of Santa Paraskevi was built in the 9th century A.D. and is preserved almost intact in its initial form. The only exception to that is the western wall which was demolished in the 19th century to make it possible for an extension of the church. The uniqueness of the church of Santa Paraskevi is depicted on the frescoes which are preserved. Some of these frescoes date back to the 9th century A.D. and they are of the most ancient in the whole of Cyprus. In relatively good condition are also the frescoes of the 15th-16th century. These frescoes have a western influence like other modern frescoes in the churches of Cyprus. The fresco which represents the Assumption of Virgin Mary in the sprandel of the North Arch is a fine example of genuine Byzantine fresco. The frescoes are not the only ornaments found in the Church of Santa Paraskevi. On the icon stand one can see some fine icons of the 15th century. The most important is the reknown two sided Icon. On the one side Virgin Mary the “Gerokipiotissa” is painted and on the other side The Crucifixion. Due to its great importance and uniqueness this icon has been included a lot of times among the exhibits of remarkable Byzantine icons which were organized many times abroad.

  • Agia Solomoni church
  • The church of Agia Solomoni is located at Kato Pafos, Apostolos Pavlos avenue, about a kilometre away from the Kato Pafos port. It was carved underground out of limestone and originally was a catacomb, although according to some archaeologists it was originally graves dating back to the Hellenistic period. The visitor has to step down about twenty steps in order to see the church, remaining of the old frescoes of the 12th century and the Holy Water. Agia Solomoni church On the rock above the church, there is a large, centuries old, terebinth tree. Hanging a personal offer, usually a handkerchief, is believed to cure the ailments of those who hang it, and many people, both locals and visitors, do so even today.

  • Panagia Theoskepasti church
  • Theoskepasti means 'Veiled by God'. The church is devoted to Virgin Mary, and, according to tradition, a fog was sent by God to protect the original church during the Arab raids. The fog made it invisible to the Arabs as they approached it, and avoided destruction. The modern church was built in 1923. It is lying on a rock, overseeing the whole Kato Pafos area. Hundreds of people, both locals and visitors, visit the church every day to admire the splendid wood-carved iconostasis, the excellent icons and, of course, pray to the miraculous, silver-covered icon of Virgin Mary, which is believed to be one of the seventy painted by Evangelist Luce.

  • Panagia Chrysopolitissa church
  • The Panagia Chrysopolitissa church was built in the 13th century over the ruins of the largest Early Byzantine basilica on the island. Within the compound one can see St. Paul's Pillar, where according to tradition Saint Paul was flogged before the Roman Governor Sergius Paulus was converted to Christianity. Originally the church was seven – aisled, but later was reduced to five - aisles. The floor of the basilica was covered with colourful mosaics, some of which are still preserved.

  • Panagia Limeniotissa Basilica
  • Panagia Limeniotissa is lying at Kato Pafos, near the harbour. Built in the early 5th century and dedicated to "Our Lady of the Harbour", which is the meaning of "Limeniotissa", it was almost completely destroyed during the 7th century Arab raids. Although it was later restored, another disaster, this time an erthquake in the 12th century, completely destroyed it. The visitor can observe some colorful mosaics and a few restored columns.

  • Panagia Chryseleousa church
  • Panagia Chryseleousa, Emba, Paphos The church of Panagia Chryseleousa is found in Empa village, 3 km north of Pafos. It is three-aisled with two domes. This is a combination of two churches. The eastern section was first built in the 12th century, possibly on the ruins of an earlier Christian basilica, as a cruciform church with a dome. Later in the 13th century an extension was made to the west with a domed building of the cross-in-square type. It is stone-built and rich in treasures and mural paintings. It retains valuable wall paintings of the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th centuries. A fresco representing the miracle of fishing is worth mentioning. Other ecclesiastical treasures include 15th and 16th centuries portable icons. Among them a noteworthy icon is that of Jesus Christ holding a Gospel with his left hand and a fine icon painted on two panels with the Apostles, six on each panel.

  • Agios Georgios Basilica
  • Agios Georgios basilica in Peyia, Pafos, Cyprus Near a fishing refuge 4.5 km from the village of Pegeia are the ruins of two early Christian basilicas with some very interesting mosaic floors depicting animals. This site must have been important in early Christian times. There are also rock-hewn tombs from the Roman period overlooking the sea.
The whole town of Pafos, the ancient capital of Cyprus, is included in the official UNESCO's list of cultural and natural treasures of the world heritage.

Sightseeing

  • Petra Tou Romiou (Birthplace of Aphrodite)
  • According to legend, Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, rose from the waves in this strikingly beautiful spot. The Greek name, Petra tou Romiou (The Rock of the Greek), is associated with the legendary frontier-guard of Byzantine times, Dighenis Akritas, who kept the marauding Saracens at bay with amazing strength. It is said in one such fight he heaved a large rock (Petra), at his enemy. Situated 25 km east of Paphos.

  • Baths Of Aphrodite
  • An area of breath taking beauty associated with Aphrodite. According to legend, the goddess Aphrodite used to bathe in the pool of the nearby natural grotto, which is shaded by a fig tree. A trail from the Baths takes you to Fontana Amorosa (8 km from the Baths, at the end of the Akamas Peninsula). Walking along this trail, one can enjoy an incomparable view and unspoilt nature. Situated at Akamas Peninsula, near Polis 48 km north of Paphos.
The Episkopi Environmental Information Centre (EPEIC) is located within the boundaries of Episkopi village, on the main road that connects the village with Pafos town. It is only 11 km away from the roundabout at the entrance of Paphos.

Episkopi Paphos Environmental Information Centre

Episkopi is a traditional village located in Ezousa valley, 11 km from Paphos city.  Ezousa valley has a unique physical environment where you can find rare and important species of flora and fauna. To protect the natural environment of Episkopi the Cyprus Government through the European Union included Ezousa Valley to Natura 2000 network (Morou Nerou-Site of Community Importance (SCI) according to the Council Directive 92/43/EEC and Koilada Ezousas-Special Protected Area (SPA) according to Directive 2009/147/EC).

The total Natura 2000 areas is 4720 ha in extent but all information for the ecosystems, habitats flora and fauna is gathered to Episkopi Paphos Environmental Information Centre (EPEIC). The EPEIC includes a reception hall, exhibition hall, a screening room and environmental education room. The building is surrounded by a botanical garden with flora species from the Ezousa Valley area.

The exhibition hall is divided into thematic areas covering all the information for the physical environment of Episkopi area.  In the thematic areas of the exhibition hall you can find 90 embalmed/stuffed animals and birds, touch screens that provide all information for the Natura 2000 areas, a unique collection with 169 butterflies, insect collections, wood and geological exhibits. Inside the screening room, visitors can watch a documentary film for local flora and fauna, vegetation, traditional buildings and other important aspects of the region.

The EPEIC is open for visitors for the period of September to May from Monday to Friday at 09:00-14:00 and for the summer period (June to August) from Monday to Saturday at 09:30-14:00. The entrance fee to the EPEIC is 2 €.

For more information and details you can contact the manager of the centre, tel: 00357-26642234, email: epeicentre@cytanet.com.cy.

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