The path you travel from Limassol to Paphos you will undoubtedly pass cars that have pulled over, once simply balancing on a precipice, now in purposely built lay-bys while their occupants peer at a rock. The sea at Petra Tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock) has been regarded, since ancient times, to be the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite – the goddess of love and fertility and the patroness of the island.
As you continue on this road you will enter the village of Geroskipou, now really a suburb of Paphos. The church of Agia Paraskevi can be found in the centre of Geroskipou, also famed for its production of Cyprus (Turkish) delight. Built in 843 AD it is one of the best early churches in Cyprus and a very important example of Byzantine architecture. It is a three aisled, vaulted church with arches and domes forming a cross. Not only is the exterior fascinating but the inside is heavily decorated with frescoes and icons going back as early as the 8th and 9th century.
At the far west end of the harbour, in downtown Paphos, is the Paphos Medieval Fort. The fort was erected on the medieval ruins of a structure dating back to 1391, which itself had replaced a previous tower. The fort was destroyed by the Venetians to prevent the invading Ottomans from using it. It was re-built by the Turks sometime between 1580 – 92.
In downtown Paphos we have worked with a number of hotels like The Alexander The Great and The Annabelle for many years. For something a little simpler and with stunning views we recommend the 2 star family run Axiothea in Paphos Old Town.
Undoubtedly the jewel in Paphos’ culture rich heritage are the Paphos Mosaics. The mosaics are a must see in Cyprus, let alone Paphos. This large “archeological park” contains some of the best preserved Roman mosaics in the world. They are the remnants of the floors, baths and walls of Roman villas built from the 2nd to 5th century. The complex spans over a number of villas – The House of Dionysos , The House of Four Seasons, The House of Aion and The Houses of Theseus and Orpheus.
On the road to Coral Bay and Aghios Georghios you exit Paphos by the Tombs of The Kings road. So called because on the sea side of the road are a series of underground tombs carved out of the soft strata. Despite the site’s name, there is no evidence of royal use but it is likely to be the burial site of Paphian aristocrats and senior officials. Some of the tombs are adorned with frescoes and Doric columns and date from the 3rd century.
The above barely touches the surface of the ancient sites and museums that Paphos has to offer – the Byzantine icons at the Byzantine Museum are spectacular as are the frescoes at the Ayios Neophytos Monastery dating from the 12th century and St Paul’s Pillar is of great importance to the spread of Christianity across the Roman Empire.