Of all the cities of Cyprus that have survived to this day, Paphos turned out to be the most significant in terms of cultural heritage, archaeological finds, monuments of ancient architecture and painting.
First Christians catacombs, an ancient palace, a thousand-year-old church - this is not a complete list of what can be found here by the inhabitants of the city or tourists.
Literally ten meters from the road, at the entrance to the old city, there are the St. Solomoni catacombs. The ruins of an ancient palace and a cave, the exact date of which is not known for certain.
There are different versions of the purposes of these ruins constructed thousands years ago - was it a palace, a temple, a sentry post?
The main entrance is covered by roadside trees, behind which there is a hall with high stone ceilings and a monolithic column. It is difficult even to imagine how long it took the ancient builders to erect something like this. But this is only one surviving column, there used to be more. However, time has rubbed them into powder, leaving only the bases.
An additional entrance leads to the lower hall, located at the base of the hill.
It takes weeks of continuous work to cut through such a move. It also serves as an additional light source.
There is a huge well of light in the middle of the hall.
There are also small steps leading to it, allowing you to climb to the surface of the hill, which is very convenient. Now only tourists who want to take beautiful photos go here. By the way, the passage is covered with a wide net so that casual travelers wandering along the top of the hill do not fall down.
A stone staircase leads up to the next level of the dungeon. Those who built this structure made sure that it was easy and comfortable to move around.
The opening did not retain its original shape, however, almost anyone, even a heavy person, can pass through here, although they might have to bend down a little. The ancient architects were definitely not dwarfs!
The upper hall was covered with sand. The winter rains that aparently watered this hill for centuries did their job - the ceiling of the hall turned out to be slightly lower than the average height of a modern person.
There is even a small window in the wall of this tunnel through which you can see the original level of the ceiling of the upper floor. What depth was the original floor level…
Some rooms were heavily littered with stones. Now pigeons can nest in them. Looking at these barricades, you start to think - why did the city authorities stop excavations? And what is hidden in the depths of the hill?
And this staircase leads to the top, to the observation tower. There is also a lot to see on the surface. The degree of preservation of some parts of the underground complex is surprising.
And here is the observation deck. Once there was an observation post here.
Of course, the boundaries of ancient Paphos were somewhat different from modern ones. Basically, the whole old town of Paphos is historical.
The oldest amphitheater is located right at the base of the hill. Such a site can accommodate hundreds, if not thousands of people, which suggests that in the old days it was more of a cultural than an administrative center.
Someone even made an inscription here.
The condition of the site, of course, is not great. However, it is the oldest amphitheater in Paphos.
Thirty meters away there is a well-known tree of desires, very popular among tourists who strive to tie something on its branches - from ribbons to underpants.
Directly below it, there is a descent into the first Christians caves, the so-called "cave of the seven".
There are preserved man-made frescoes of the 12th century, which were left by the crusaders who visited these places, but now they are closed to the public.
Some of the stairs lead deep into the ground. This place is constantly visited by believers who know about the history of this place, called the "cave of the martyrs."
The oldest Turkish baths are located not far from the catacombs. They are perfectly preserved, you can find them not far from the road passing by the amphitheater. It's amazing how organically buildings from different times and cultures can coexist.
At the very edge of the hill is the smallest and most amazing chapel in the area. From the outside it looks just like a huge stone.
In fact, this is not a chapel at all, but a kind of "stone canopy", propped up by another stone, hollowed out vertically.
This small place is full of icons. If you want, you can pray to the saints, or make a small donation in a box.
There is even a small window through which you can admire the view of the road to the old town. Oddly enough, this place is quite popular with locals and travelers alike.
This is what the chapel looks like from the side of the road.
If you do not know exactly what is upstairs, then you can pass by and not even guess that someone lights a lamp here every day.
The pearl of the old city is certainly the Basilica of Chrysopolitissa, which is more than a thousand years old. Previously, there was also a bishop's palace. It is believed that after the resurrection of Jesus, the Apostle Paul went to Cyprus on a mission to bring Christianity to the pagans.
Here is the column of the Apostle Paul, or… in fact, it is only a fragment of it.
The fact is that the complex was destroyed by the Arabs in the 7th century. Only the church, fragments of columns and fragments of mosaics on the floor have survived to this day.
This is one of the most memorable places in the old town. From the side of the altar, the characteristic features of the Gothic style are noticeable. The church was built by Franciscan monks.
And here are the fragments of that very mosaic, preserved after the Arab invasion.
Even the bell tower has a small ladder that allows the bell ringer to announce the service. Or move on the roof of the church?
Inside, the church looks great.
Both Catholics and parishioners of the Anglican Church hold services here. The service is held in Latin and English. This is one of the most popular churches in the city.
Despite its venerable age, the church is quite spacious. This is a chandelier that illuminates the steps in front of the altar.
Not far from the Paphos harbor there are the famous mosaics, as well as the ruins of rich villas. Many fragments have been perfectly preserved. It remains only to be amazed at the skill and quality of their performance.
Wonderful flowers grow in the vicinity of Villa Dionysus, they are especially beautiful in the evening and at sunset.
In fact, the old city of Paphos is one long story.
Many of the sites where excavations were carried out still remain closed, while other excavations have not even begun yet. Yes, Paphos is called the cultural capital of Cyprus for a true reason!
Have you decided to buy an apartment or a house in Paphos? Contact the DOM Real Estate Portal! The website has a large selection of real estate objects - residential and commercial. Experienced agency specialists will be happy to help you make the right choice.
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Photos: DOM LiVE