Far back in antiquity the port city of Pafos, Cyprus was founded. As far back as the 12th century b.c. in fact. The city exists in its current form as two separate settlements, Old Pafos and New Pafos. New Pafos is the currently inhabited area. Originally a pilgrimage site for worshipers of the Grecian goddess Aphrodite, Pafos quickly became the capital city of Cyprus. Over the years nearby metropolitan areas such as Cyprus’ two largest cities Nicosia and Limassol have drawn attention away from this original cultural and historical center. Development and tourism may have favored its neighbors but the city of Pafos has a lot to offer. Many changes have taken place over the centuries leaving a storied and vibrant history just waiting to be discovered by curious travelers.
Petra tou Romiou
This towering sea stacks rising out of the Mediterranean. Is the legendary birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. Ancient mythology holds that the turbulent waters that routinely break against the rocks of the natural cove are the same waters where Aphrodite (Venus in Roman culture) first emerged from the sea. She was eventually carried to Cyprus by the currents. However, Pilgrims from all over flocked to this spot to build temples in her honor and worship their goddess. The nearby Sanctuary of Aphrodite is a timeless example of this.
Tombs Of The Kings
The Tomb of The Kings is a large underground necropolis that remains largely unexplored. The area is still undergoing excavation. The tombs are named for the magnificence of their appearance. While it is unlikely that any actual kings were buried here, in favor of aristocracy from the nearby settlement of Pafos. The Tombs have existed in the location for at least the last 2500 years carved directly out of the surrounding rock.
Pafos Castle has played a large role in most of the turning points of Pafos and Cyprus as a nation. Constructed on the edge of the old port as a Byzantine fortress the castle was destroyed in the earthquake of 1222. When the island was invaded by the Ottomans the inhabiting Venetians dismantled the castle to prevent its use. The Ottomans reconstructed and reinforced the castle during their reign. The British used the castle as a warehouse for salt during colonial periods. Eventually the fortification was converted into a jail and recently has become the home of the annual cultural festival each September.
The Modern Era
In modern times the face of the city has changed significantly. It has a developing tourism department and is seeing an influx of modern culture that promises to marry the ancient world with the new world. Pafos International Airport has recently expanded and includes many connections throughout the region. Louis King Jason luxury hotel apartments offer studios and suites for travelers blended into the residential neighborhoods of the island attracting a unique flavor of touristry. Brand name designers like Prada and Miu Miu have found homes in the Kings Avenue Shopping Center, attracting fashionistas far and wide. All in all this once popular, former capital turned forgotten wonderland of ancient intrigue has certainly begun to make a comeback.