Attractions of Paphos in Cyprus - BEST Places to Visit

Достопримечательности Пафоса на Кипре - что можно посмотреть самостоятельно
3 December 2021 Alexey Efremov
2421

Top attractions in Paphos

Being in Paphos, it is unforgivable not to see any of the many attractions, many of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Ancient ruins and mosaics, catacombs, early Christian shrines and simply picturesque places. All this will make your stay in the city more diverse and memorable. You can even independently organize two hiking tours in the Lower (Kato) and Upper (Pano) Paphos.

Walking through the sights of Kato Paphos

NEA PAPHOS ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK

The Archaeological park unites several sites located close to each other. If necessary, they can be bypassed in 4-5 hours.

The exception will be the territory of Faros Cape. It is difficult to walk here less than for 3 hours, or you will have to accept that you will see only the most important things.

Archaeological Park at Faros Cape (1)

The main entrance to the Archaeological Park

The thieves of antiquities have been digging in the vicinity of Paphos for hundreds of years. Many artifacts have been lost or settled in museums around the world. Systematic scientific excavations here began to be carried out only in 1962. Scientists from universities in Poland, Italy, France and Australia took part in them. What was found is the pearl not only of Paphos, but of the whole of Cyprus. 

On a large territory, the remains of several rich residences have been found, which were named after the main plots of the stunning beauty and technique of the mosaics found here. In 1980, the archaeological sites of Kato Paphos were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

For the convenience of visitors, a mobile application in Greek, English, Russian and German can be downloaded using a QR code at the entrance to the complex. It contains audio-video tours, maps with routes and detailed descriptions. All this is provided with a gallery of professionally executed photos.

Entrance fee: €4.50

Opening hours: Open daily from Monday to Sunday.

  1. Summer (April 16 – September 15): 8:30 – 19:30.
  2. Winter (September 16 – April 15): 8:30 – 17:00).

Parking at the entrance is free.

On the map

The House of Dionysus (2)

A special shelter protects the finds, and pedestrian galleries allow you to see everything in detail. 

House of Dionysus has an area of more than 2 thousand m2.

Its 16 rooms, with a total area of 566 m2, are decorated with mosaic floors depicting mythological and hunting scenes. Some of them appeared at the end of the 4th - beginning of the 3rd century BC, but most of them date from the end of the 2nd – beginning of the 3rd century AD. The most stunning of the mosaics are Narcissus admiring his reflection in the lake, The Seasons, The Triumph of Dionysus, Phaedra and Hippolytus, The Abduction of Gnymedes and Peacock.

Mosaic "Seasons"

It doesn't make sense to describe all the mosaics. It's better to see with your own eyes. The structure was destroyed and abandoned after an unprecedented earthquake in the 4th century AD. The Archaeological Park has attractions at every turn. If you have time and desire, you can view the mosaics in the "House of Aeon" and the 100-room residence of the Governor of Paphos (Theseus Palace).

On the map

Fortress of Forty Columns (3)

Be sure to visit the impressive ruins of the Saranta Kolones Fortress, sometimes referred to as the Forty Columns Castle.

Ruins of the castle of Forty Columns

The fortress was built in the 7th century AD to protect the port and the city of Nea Paphos from Arab raids. In 1223 it was destroyed by an earthquake. It got its name because of the preserved columns of gray granite, which is not typical for the rocks of the island.

On the map

Agora, Odeon and Lighthouse (4)

The Agora is an almost square market square surrounded by porticos, one of which is adjacent to a small amphitheater (Odeon).

Odeon

The Odeon, which once held 1,200 spectators, has recently been restored. Now it is again used for mass performances, including for the Festival of Ancient Drama. Nearby is a 36-meter lighthouse, built by the General Directorate of Lighthouses of the British Empire (Imperial Lighthouse Service) in 1888.

At night, every 15 seconds, it sends out a bright beam of light that can be seen from a distance of 17 nautical miles.

On the map

ANCIENT RUINS AND CATACOMBS

There are also many attractions at a short distance from the archaeological complex.

Catacombs and the source of Saint Solomonia (5)

The ancient Greek catacombs located to the north of the Agora served as an acropolis in ancient times. Later, early Christians hid in them from the persecution of the Roman authorities.

Catacombs of Nea-Paphos

The most famous catacombs of Paphos in Cyprus are the Catacombs of Saint Solomonia. The events related to the Seven Holy Martyrs Maccabees took place in Jerusalem. There, according to legend, seven brothers were executed for refusing to renounce the Mosaic Law and their teacher Eleazar. Standing over the bodies of her children, Saint Solomonia "raised her hands with a grateful prayer to God and died." In some bizarre way, this story, which took place in 166 BC, was then transferred to the land of Cyprus. Many believers believe that the Seven Maccabees and their mother are buried in the catacombs of Kato Paphos. The main room of the cave temple is named after the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers.

The Grotto of the Seven Sleepers. Catacombs of Saint Solomonia

On the walls you can see ancient frescoes. In the lower level of the catacombs there is a holy spring. Believers believe that its water helps with eye diseases. At the entrance to the catacombs of St. Solomonia grows a huge pistachio tree, which is more than 600 years old. In fairness, we note that according to the officially recognized version, the relics of the seven holy Maccabean martyrs are kept in the Basilica of St. Andrew in Cologne (Germany) and in the crypt of the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome, and the relics of St. Solomonia are in the Istanbul Cathedral of St. George.

The nearby cave of Agios Agapitikos promises lovers who come here a long and happy life without parting.

On the map

EARLY CHRISTIAN SHRINES

Chrysopolitissa Basilica, Atrium and St. Paul's Column (6)

To some extent, all of the above makes up a single compact complex located a few hundred meters from the harbor and the archaeological park.

Here, near the Church of Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa built in the XIII century, there are ruins of early Christian temples everywhere that are directly related to the activities of the Apostle Paul in Cyprus. Thanks to convenient bridges, you can see the Atrium (the courtyard of the early Byzantine basilica (4-7 centuries AD), the ruins of the palace of the Bishop of Paphos (2-3 centuries AD) and the remains of a medieval Franciscan church (XIII century).

Ruins of early Christian buildings and the church of Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa

At the entrance to the complex, a memorial plaque is noteworthy, reminding that King Eric I the Generous of Denmark (Eric I Ejegod 1095 - 1103), who died in Paphos on his way to the Holy Land, was buried in the basilica in 1103. A marble pillar (or a fragment of a column) stands out against the background of other attractions, to which the Apostle Paul was allegedly tied during torture and flagellation.

St. Paul's Column

This episode is absent in the Acts of the Holy Apostles. It is also not found in other texts dedicated to the 1st apostolic journey of the former Pharisee Saul, who believed in Christ, when he and Barnabas visited Cyprus. But there is a mention of a dispute in Paphos with the false prophet (Elima the Magi, Acts 13:6-9). Having blinded the latter with the word of God, he converted the Roman proconsul Sergius Paul to the Christian faith.

Raphael. The Blinding of Elima

From that moment Saul begins to call himself Paul. Paul mentions in one of his letters that he was flogged five times in his life. But not a word about the fact that this could happen in Cyprus.

But there is no historical evidence to support the local legend that before meeting with the proconsul, Saul was captured by the inhabitants of Paphos, tied to a pole and received thirty-nine lashes. Despite the lack of proof of the story of the flagellation of the Apostle Paul in Paphos, many pilgrims, believing in the oral legend, try to touch the "shrine". The result is visible by how the stone has been polished over many centuries.

On the Map

HARBOR AND SURROUNDINGS

Fort and Opera Festival (7)

There is an ancient fort in the harbor. This is one of the few structures of the defensive complex, which included two more "Genoese" towers and the castle of "Forty Columns", rebuilt under the rule of the French Lusignan dynasty from early Byzantine structures destroyed by the earthquake of 1222. The ruins of the towers destroyed by the new earthquake of 1491 can be seen at the entrance to the harbor. 

Later, the fort was rebuilt several times. First by the Genoese, and then the Venetians. The fort acquired its current appearance in 1529 under the Turkish governor of the island, Ahmed Pasha.

Fort in the harbor of Paphos

The Ottomans used it for barracks and prison. The last garrison of the fort of 100 men and 12 guns left the castle with the arrival of the British in 1878. The British have set up a salt warehouse here. Only in 1935, in accordance with the Antiquities Act, the fort was declared a historical monument. In 1953, the fort was again damaged by an earthquake. And in July 1974, it was bombed by Turkish aircraft.

Since 1999, the walls of the fort have been a natural setting for the opera festival held annually in early September.

Auditorium, temporary stage of Pafos Aphrodite Festival at the fort in the harbor of Paphos

In 2017, when Paphos was declared the cultural capital of Europe, the fort and its surroundings were in the very center of events.

Entrance to the fort is paid: €2.50

Work schedule: It is open daily from Monday to Sunday, except for the days of the Pafos Aphrodite Festival or other events.

  1. Summer (April 16 – September 15): 8:30 – 19:30
  2. Winter (September 16 – April 15): 8:30 – 17:00)

On the map

Parking at the entrance is free.

Embankment, public baths and sculpture "Little Fisherman" (8)

Like any seaside town, Paphos has its own embankment and a multi-kilometer promenade along the sea and a number of hotels towards the eastern suburb of Geroskipou. In the evening, traffic on the Poseidonas Avenue section from the harbor to the public baths is blocked for vehicles. It turns into a large pedestrian zone. In 2017, a sculpture of Iota Ioannidou Little Fisherman was installed on a small pier of public baths, which everyone who finds himself here is in a hurry to capture.

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The little fisherman. Paphos Embankment

On the map

Church of Panagia Theoskepasti (9)

In the heart of the tourist area, next to the embankment, there is an unusual temple – the Byzantine church of the 10th century Panagia Theoskepasti. The temple was recreated on the old foundation in 1923. And in 2009 it was restored and acquired its present appearance.

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Church of Panagia Theoskepasti

There are two legends associated with this place. According to one of them, the temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Panagia) received its second name Theoskepasti (from Greek: "God's Veil") at the end of the XI century. Then the rock on which the church stands was washed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and was clearly visible from everywhere. During one Saracen raid, the temple was miraculously shrouded in an impenetrable fog. The conquerors, not finding him, passed by. According to another legend, a Saracen who managed to enter the temple tried to steal a golden candlestick, but divine power deprived him of his hands.

Among the precious icons of the temple, the miraculous icon of the Virgin in a silver salary stands out. It is claimed that this is one of the seventy icons painted by the evangelist Luke. Every year on January 6, Epiphany is celebrated in Greece and Cyprus – the Epiphany of the Lord or the feast of the Epiphany. It is also called here Ta Fota (from Greek: "light, the Feast of Light"). After the morning prayer service in the temple of Panagia Theoskepasti with the participation of the hierarchs of the Church of Cyprus, the procession begins, ending in the harbor. There, a cross is thrown into the sea and dozens of daredevils dive for it for good luck.

On the map

Royal Tombs (10)

The Royal Tombs are a cave necropolis near the tourist area on the seashore. The complex was also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.

Royal Tombs

There were no kings and kings among those who rested here. 

Here, starting from the IV century BC and up to the III century AD, noble citizens of Paphos were buried. But the splendor of architecture and decoration so impressed researchers and looters that they assigned this object such a magnificent name.

Royal tombs. Pathos

Many tombs carved into the monolith of the rock resemble rather palace interiors with Doric columns and remnants of frescoes on the walls. A coat of arms with a double—headed eagle, the symbol of the Ptolemaic dynasty, is carved on the wall of one of the vast tombs. An interesting object for lovers of antiquities and unusual photos. It is difficult to get here on foot from the harbor. Use the motor transport or the bus of the 516th route.

Entrance fee: €2.50

Opening hours: Open daily from Monday to Sunday.

  1. Summer (April 16 – September 15): 8:30 – 19:30
  2. Winter (September 16 – April 15): 8:30 – 17:00)

Parking at the entrance is free.

On the map

A walk through the sights of Pano Paphos

PEDESTRIAN ZONE OF THE OLD TOWN

If there is a tourist area with hotels and rental apartment complexes in the coastal part of the city, then the indigenous population of the city lives above the Avenue of the Holy Silverless (Λεωφ. Αγίων Αναργύρων) and in Upper Paphos (Πάνω Πάφος).

Climbing near the Kings Avenue Mall along the Avenue of the Apostle Paul (Λεωφ. Αποστόλου Παύλου) higher up the hill, we find ourselves in the Old Town. A significant part of it was turned into a pedestrian zone in 2017. There are many souvenir and jewelry shops, cozy cafes, taverns and restaurants. Once the center of the district was the City Market.

Old Municipal Market and its surroundings (11)

Now these shopping malls sell mainly souvenirs.

Paphos Municipal Market

Nearby is a small pavilion of the farmer's market, where you can buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. Even in the morning, everything was growing in the immediate vicinity of the city. To take a breath, it's good to order a cup of Cypriot coffee in one of the cafes nearby and slowly observe the life of the city. If you have a sweet tooth, by the way there will be local sweets or baklava.

On the map

Mouttalos Turkish Quarter and Jami Kebir Mosque (12)

Directly adjacent to the market is the Turkish quarter of Mouttalos. This part of the city is now inhabited mainly by families of Greek Cypriot refugees who were deported from the northern part of Cyprus after its occupation by Turkey. The indigenous inhabitants of the quarter fled to the North.

The first thing that catches your eye here is the Jami Kebir Mosque.

Jami Kebir Mosque

For more than five hundred years, the three-domed Basilica of St. Sophia stood on this site, but in 1584 the Ottomans rebuilt it into a mosque. It is not valid after 1974. In 2012, it was restored at the expense of the European Regional Development Fund within the framework of the Greece-Cyprus 2007-2013 program.

On the map

Hamam (13), old post office (14) and observation deck with sculpture Girl with a sparrow (15)

Not far from the Old Market in the direction of Lower Paphos, the domes of the Turkish hammam are visible. Now it houses one of the exhibition grounds of the city.

Hamam (Turkish baths)

Almost opposite the hamam there are several administrative buildings in the colonial style. One of them is the old post office. 

The old Post Office building

Opposite there is a viewing platform with one of the modern symbols of the city – the sculpture of Iota Ioannidou Girl with a Sparrow installed in 2018. 

Sculpture of Iota Ioannidou "A girl with a sparrow"

On the map

In the vicinity of Paphos

Avakas Canyon

If you have time and a rental car, then you can make a trip to the Akamas Peninsula Nature Reserve and visit the Avakas Gorge. This is not a Grand Canyon, but a very picturesque place. Here you can see endemic plants and just take a walk. The tourist trail is equipped with signs and benches for recreation, and the most interesting specimens of the flora are signs.

Don't forget to take photos and videos with you! There will be a lot of places and angles that you will want to capture. The walking route ends at a place where a piece of rock stuck between two canyon walls can be seen directly overhead.

Your hike will be accompanied by the melodious chiming of bells of goats grazing on the slopes. If you are lucky, an attentive traveler may notice mouflons among the rocks.

The gorge and canyon are located almost 20 km from the city of Paphos. You should go towards Peyia and Agios Georgios. Then follow the sign and continue along the coast on a dirt road. After passing the dry bed of the Avakas River, turn right and drive to the equipped parking lot at the beginning of the hiking trail. Coordinates of the point: 34°55'13.8"N 32°20'15.4"E. You can also get here by renting an ATV or as part of an organized group.

On the map

Paphos Zoo

On the way to the Avakas gorge, before reaching Akios Georgios, it is impossible to miss the sign in the direction of the zoo.

It has the largest collection of animals on the island: giraffes, monkeys, meerkats, crocodiles, kangaroos, mouflons, albino lions, tigers. There are more than seventy animals in total. And the collection of parrots and venomous snakes is one of the largest in Europe!

The highlight of the zoo is a feathered show featuring macaws and predatory owls.

How to get it. From April to October, you can take bus No. 615 from Paphos Harbor, to the final stop at Corallia Beach Hotel, and then on the free shuttle of the zoo. You can book a free transfer at the hotel reception or on the zoo's website. Zoo coordinates: 34°53'37.9"N 32°20'34.0"E

The zoo is open all year round from 9:00 seven days a week, and closes:

  1. December-March and August at 19:00
  2. April-October (except August) at 18:00

The performance of the "Bird Show" is held three times a day:

  1. august:12:00, 14:30, 18:00
  2. April-October (except August): 12:00, 14:30, 17:00
  3. November-March: 12:00, 14:00, 16:00

The cost of a daily subscription:

  1. Guests over 12 years old – 16.5€
  2. Children under 12 years old – 8.5€
  3. Children under 2 years old – free of charge

On the map

Water park Aphrodite

In the tourist area of Paphos, a nearby suburb of Geroskipou, opposite the Louis Ledra Beach Hotel, there is a large water park "Aphrodite" – a great place for families with children.

Water park scheme

How to get. The easiest way is to take the bus number 611, going from the bus station in the Harbor of Paphos. If you have rented a car, there is a large free parking space next to the entrance. Coordinates of the water park: 34°44'29.6"N 32°26'26.7"E

The Aphrodite Water Park is open in the warm season from May to the end of October:

  1. May-June 10:30 — 17:30
  2. July-August 10:00 — 18:00
  3. September-October 10:00 — 17:00

The cost of a daily subscription:

  1. For guests over 12 years old — 31€
  2. Children under 12 years — 18€
  3. Children under 3

On the Map

Have you decided to buy an apartment or a house in Cyprus? Contact DOM! The website offers a huge selection of real estate - residential and commercial. Experienced agency specialists will be happy to help you make the right choice.

See also:

  1. TOP 5 mistakes in the interior of a new apartment
  2. Medical tourism in Cyprus
  3. Paphos or Limassol: all the pros and cons
  4. 10 reasons for moving to Cyprus with children
Source: DOM
Photos: vokrugkipra.ru, Викисклад, DOM, pixabay.com
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