Pafos

...welcome to the towns BEST sights!


Maa-Paleokastro

It is a fortified settlement of the Late Bronze Age


Located close to Coral Bay Resort, the place of Mycenaean Colonization οf Cyprus Museum, is where the first ancient (Mycenaean) Greeks settled in 1200 BC after emigrating to the island following the fall of the Mycenaean Kingdoms in mainland Greece. As such, it is a very important site for Cyprus - as this is where the Hellenisation of the island started - and offers great insight on the end of the Late Bronze Age on the island.

Its name of ‘Palaeokastro’ (‘old castle’ in Greek) comes from its imposing defensive walls that were always exposed. The fortifications of the settlement consist of two separate Cyclopean-style walls; the first wall protected the settlement from the land, and the second offered protection from the sea.

The little museum with its unusual architecture is the work of the Italian architect-conservator and professor Andrea Bruno. 

Operating Hours: 
April 16 - September 15, daily: 09:30 - 17:00
September 16 - April 15, daily: 08:30 - 16:00
 
Operating Period: All year round
Closed on Public Holidays
 
Entrance Fee: €2,50
For organised groups consisting of more than 10 persons there is a 20% reduction on the entry fees.
 
The Department of Antiquities can issue special entry cards for all its museums and ancient monuments: One (1) day entry cards - €8,50, three (3) day entry cards - €17,00, seven (7) day entry cards - €25,00.
 
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Holy Bishopric of Pafos Byzantine Museum

It touches the religious feelings of every visitor

The Museum houses a remarkable collection of more than a hundred icons and so far the oldest known portable icon preserved in Cyprus, the icon of Saint Marina in the orans position, flanked by scenes of her martyrdom. The origin of this icon goes back to the period of iconoclastic quarrels when Cyprus suffered under the Arab condominium and it can be dated to the 7th or 8th century. The main collection of the other icons extends basically from the 12th to the 19th century and includes a considerable number of examples from every historical period. The majority of the oldest icons are of traditional Byzantine technical and aesthetical conception. The wall paintings come from ruined churches. The principal collection of such murals is dated to around 1100 and comes from the ruins of the Byzantine church of Saint Theodoros at Choulou. Another fragment of a wall painting of an unidentified saint comes from the church of the disappeared monastery of Chrysolakourna near Steni and dates to the 16th century. The examples of woodcarving exhibited in the Museum  are basically fragments of iconostases such as Sanctuary Doors, Crucifixions and Lypitera  as well as one proskynitarion of the 19th century. 

The museum also possesses a remarkable collection of ecclesiastical metal art works which cover a chronological and artistic spectrum of four centuries (17th - 20th). A distinguished position among the bishop's staffs is held by that of the Metropolitan of Ephesos Meletios dating to 1764. The collection of sacerdotal vestments and ecclesiastical embroideries is exhibited in the East wing of the Museum. It contains mainly gold embroidered vestments of the 18th and 19th centuries. The collection of manuscripts covers with a few exhibits the chronological period from 1462 until the 19th century. It comprises a Gospel of 1462, a Hymnologium of the 15th century, two musical manuscripts of 1773 and the 19th century, two 18th century codexes of laws, two firmans of 1853 and the ARMENOPOULOU PROCHEIRON NOMON of the 18th century. The old books exhibited in the Museum are three Gospels: one of 1604, one of 1768 (bearing a gold-plated silver cover of 1745) and one of 1803 (bearing a gold-plated silver cover of 1838).

Source: Holy Bishopic of Pafos

Working Hours:
Winter Time:
Monday-Friday: 09:00-15:00 
Saturday: 09:00-13:00
 
Summer Time:
Monday-Friday: 09.00-16.00
Saturday: 09:00-13:00
 
Entrance Fee: € 2.50
 
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Saranta Kolones (Forty Columns) Castle

It took its name from the large number of granite columns


The Byzantine castle known as 'Saranta Kolones' ('Forty Columns') due to the great number of granite columns preserved on the site, is located just north of Pafos Harbour and south of the agora.

The castle was built in the 7th century A.D. to protect the port and the city of Nea Pafos from the Arab raids and was later remodelled by the Lusignans. A three-metre thick wall with eight towers and a moat surrounded the castle. Access was across a wooden bridge spanning the moat. The square courtyard measured 35 metres long by 35 metres wide, with a tower at each corner. The main entrance was through a fifth, horseshoe-shaped tower on the east side. The castle remained in use until 1223 when it was destroyed by an earthquake. 

Source: Department of Antiquities

Opening Ηours:
Winter Ηours (16/9 - 15/4 )
Monday - Sunday: 8.30 - 17.00
 
Summer Ηours (16/4 - 15/9)
Monday - Sunday: 8.30 - 19.30
 
Admission: €4,50
 
Accessibility: Partly accessible to wheelchairs following the directions given by the site´s staff. 
(route not marked).
Special Parking Space: Αvailable (marked)
Special Rest Rooms: Αvailable (marked)
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Baths οf Aphrodite

It combines the myth with the natural beauty!

The "Baths of Aphrodite" is an area in Akamas between Polis and Cape Arnaouti which attracts many visitors.
The Goddess of Love used to take her bath in a cool pond in this cave near Polis. According to mythology, this is where Aphrodite met her lover, the handsome Adonis, when he stopped off for a drink while hunting, to quench his thirst. The moment he drank the water Adonis fell in love with the goddess. It is said that if you bathe in the water you will fall in love with the next person you will see, but unfortunately bathing is not permitted.

 The place is known as "Baths of Aphrodite" and provides a magnificent view of the Bay of Polis. 

 

 

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Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodites' Rock)

The Place of Birth of the Goddess Aphrodite

National Forest Park
A picturesque area, part of the Randi State Forest. Located on the main Pafos – Lemesos road, 10 km far from the city of Pafos.

A development project has been pursued for this park and it is already underway. It provides facilities like Picnic area, children’s playground, nature trails, sports trails, cycling tracks and look out points. The Flora the visitor can see is: Rare plants as well as a large number or orchids create natural habitats with special characteristics and uniqueness. Of course such a place has a Fauna too. 

There are species such as the hare (Lepus europaeus), the partridge (Alectoris chukar), ravens, seagulls, various small birds and reptiles.

For Enquiries: Pafos Divisional Forest Officer

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Pafos Mosaics

It is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The first house was discovered accidentally by a farmer in 1962 and systematic excavations at Nea Pafos followed by the Department of Antiquities during which many of the ancient town´s administrative buildings as well as private houses and ecclesiastical buildings came to light such as the House of Dionysos, Theseus, Aion and Orpheus. The mosaic floors of these houses date from the 2nd to the 5th Century AD.

The House of Dionysos: This rich building belongs to the Greco-Roman type where the rooms are arranged around a central court, which functioned as the core of the house. It seems that the house was built at the end of the 2nd century A.D. and was destroyed and abandoned after the earthquakes of the 4th century A.D. The House of Dionysus occupies 2000sq. metres of which 556 are covered with mosaic floors decorated with mythological, vintage and hunting scenes. At the House's entrance these is a pebble mosaic representing the mythical sea-monster Scylla that belonged to a Hellenistic building found below the later Roman one.
 
The House of Orpheus: It belongs to the type of the wealthy Greco-Roman Houses with a central court similar to the House of Dionysus. It dates to the late 2nd /early 3rd century A.D. The building´s main room, the reception hall, is decorated with a mosaic floor depicting Orpheus among the beasts. The next room´s mosaic floor bears two panels, one representing Hercules and the Lion of Nemea, and the other an Amazon with her horse.
 
The Villa of Theseus: The villa was built in the second half of the 2nd century A.D. over the ruins of earlier houses of the Hellenistic and early Roman periods and was in use until the 7th century AD. The villa's large size, it consisted of more than 100 rooms, suggests that the building was the residence of the governor of Cyprus. Many of the rooms and three of the four porticos around the central court are covered with mosaic floors with geometric motifs. Three rooms in the south wing of the building are embellished with mosaic floors with human representations, all belonging to different phases. The oldest one is the mosaic representing Theseus and the Minotaur, dating to the very end of the 3rd or beginning of the 4th century A.D. with obvious later restorations, probably made after the earthquakes of the middle of the 4th century. At the end of the 4th century A.D. a new mosaic depicting Poseidon and Amphitrite was added to a room, which probably served as a bedroom. Finally, at the beginning of the 5th century, a mosaic floor was laid in the reception room, of which only a part is preserved today and depicts Achilles´ first bath.
 
The House of Aion: Only part of the house has been excavated so far. On the floor of an apsidal room, lies the most spectacular mosaic of Pafos dated from the middle of the 4th century A.D. The mosaic, which is of excellent quality, consists of five figural panels depicting the newborn Dionysos, Leda and the Swan, the beauty contest between Cassiopeia and the Nereids, Apollon and Marsyas, and finally the Triumph of Dionysos.

Source: Department of Antiquities

Opening Hours:
Winter hours (16/9 - 15/4 )
Monday - Sunday: 8.30 - 17.00
 
Summer hours (16/4 - 15/9)
Monday - Sunday: 8.30 - 19.30
 
Admission: €4,50
 
Accessibility:
Partly accessible to wheelchairs following the directions given by the site´s staff.
(route not marked).
Special Parking Space: available (marked)
Special rest rooms: available (marked)

 

 

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Medieval Castle of Pafos

It has been declared a listed building and is the symbol of the city of Pafos
Medieval Castle of Pafos, was originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour. It was rebuilt by the Frankish rulers in the 13th century, which was destroyed after the earthquake of 1222 A.D Just before the Ottoman conquest of 1570, the Venetians, who controlled Cyprus at that time, destroyed what was left of the two towers with the use of explosives, so that the towers wouldn’t be used by the Ottomans and the Ottomans rebuild it after they captured the island in the 16th century. Originally, this role was served by the Saranta Kolones fort, the ruins of which lie a few hundred meters to the north.
 
During its long history, the Pafos Castle was used, as well as for protection, as prison cells, and even as a storage area for salt when the island was a British colony. In 1935 it was declared an ancient monument and today is considered as one of the hallmarks of the Pafos region. Many cultural events take place in the square just in front of the castle, while during September each year the Pafos Aphrodite Festival which presents a different opera every year staged here by world famous artists with the castle building usually acting as part of the scenery.
 

Open daily:
Winter hours (16th September – 15th April): 8.30 - 17.00
Summer hours (16th April – 15th September): 8.30 - 19.30

Entrance: € 2.50
Accessibility: Non wheelchair accesible
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Odeon-Agora

Musical and Theatrical Performances
The Pafos Odeon lies in Kato Pafos, in the heart of the tourist area. It is a small 2nd century Odeon built entirely of well-hewn limestone blocks. Today it is 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.
 
 
Opening Ηours:
Winter hours (16/9 - 15/4 )
Monday - Sunday: 8.30 - 17.00
 
Summer hours (16/4 - 15/9)
Monday - Sunday: 8.30 - 19.30
 
Admission: €4,50
 
Accessibility: 
Partly accessible to wheelchairs following the directions given by the site´s staff. 
(route not marked).
Special Parking Space: Αvailable (marked)
Special rest rooms: Αvailable (marked)
 
Odeon: access to free wi-fi
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Agios Neophytos Monastery

It is one of the most famous monasteries in Cyprus

The Engleistra and the Monastery of Agios Neophytos are situated near the village of Tala, about 10 kilometres north of Nea Paphos. The Engleistra was initially a natural cave on the eastern side of a hill’s slope. In front of the hill lies a deep gorge, at the end of which flows a torrent. Inside the Engleistra, Saint Neophytos led a hermit’s life. 

Saint Neophytos turned the natural cave into a place of seclusion which consisted of two areas. One area was a small chapel dedicated to Timios Stavros ( Holy Cross) and the other was the Saint’s cell, in which he also carved his tomb. His cell communicated with the church’s bema. He confined himself in the Engleistra until 1170, when he was ordained priest by the Bishop of Pafos, Vasilios Kinnamos, spreading his fame throughout the island. Many monks gathered around him, forming a monastic community, but the Saint’s need for serenity and seclusion led him to carve another Engleistra higher on the rock, above the old chapel. He carved another small chapel dedicated to Agios Ioannis Prodromos (Saint John the Baptist) next to his new cell. 

From the monastic structures of the earlier monastery only the little chapel of the Engleistra with the narthex and the sacristy over it, the Saint’s cell with his tomb and the refectory, still survive. Higher on the hill, there exists the Saint’s later cell and the chapel of Agios Ioannis Prodromos. The katholikon of the Monastery of Agios Neophytos was probably built in the beginning of the 16th century and belongs to the type of the barrel-vaulted, three-aisled, domed basilica. The original church was completely decorated with frescoes. However, a large part of them was destroyed during the period 1585-1611.

Source: Department of Antiquities

Opening Hours:
9.00-16.00 (winter)
9.00-13.00 και 14.00-18.00 (summer)
 
Admission: Free

 

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Lara Beach

The beach with the most beautiful sunset

Lara beach is located in the Akamas Peninsula. You can get there from driving to Pegia and then to Agios Georgios. You will need a 4x4 car/ quad bike/ beach buggy to get access, but once you get there it is beautiful. It is a beach totally undeveloped as it is a protected area. The only habitants are wild goats, birds and turtles.

Due to its character, the beach and the trees are intact making it a small paradise. The sand is soft and golden-grey, while the sea is crystal clear and clean. Umbrellas are not allowed and you have to be careful as there are turtles creating their nests in the area and is very possible you see baby turtle taking their first steps towards the sea.There are no toilets or cafeterias but you can always take your food and drink with you. Just remember to keep the area clean before leaving. 

Perfect if you like a totally natural /unspoilt environment.

 

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Avakas Gorge (Linear)

A gorge treasure for the lovers of natural paths

A masterpiece of nature, Avakas Gorge is situated in the unspoilt Akamas peninsula within Pegeia state forest with the end of the trail located inside the gorge. It follows the course of the Avgas River, from where the gorge gets its name and resulted from constant erosive activity on the erodible, sloping limestone rocks composed of loams, chalks, reef and grain limestone and bentonitic clays. The gorge is also a Natura 2000 area. The trail firstly follows a dirt road (closed to private vehicles) through an open valley, then takes you into the gorge. In its last section, the trail is in the stream, in which water usually flows throughout the year. The route through the gorge is characterised by thick vegetation and a particularly attractive, shady and moist environment.

A trekker’s paradise, it offers spectacular views and a chance to study the flora and fauna endangered:

Flora: lentisk (Pistacia lentiscus), Phoenician juniper (Juniperus phoenicea), terebinth (Pistacia terebinthus), thorny broom (Calycotome villosa), common smilax (Smilax aspera), oleander (Nerium oleander), storax (Styrax officinalis), and the endemic endangered Akamas centaury (Centaurea akamantis).

Fauna: Fox, hare, hedgehog, Cyprus wheatear (endemic), Cyprus warbler (endemic), scops owl (endemic), partridge, little owl, kestrel, wild pigeon, Stellion lizard. Amphibians: Marsh frog, iridescent frog and tree frog.

Source: CTO 

GPS coordinates of the starting point: 439505 / 3864427

Altitude of the highest peak: 45m

Altitude of the lowest peak: 25m

Starting point: Avakas Gorge, following the Agios Georgios  Pegeias – Toxeftra road for 2,5 km and heading east from where Toxeftra Bay begins

Length:1,2km

Estimated duration: 2 hours

Difficulty Rate: 1­-2 

 

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Archaeological Museum of Pafos

Exhibits are found from the most important archaeological sites of Pafos

The Archaeological Museum of the Pafos, houses a large number of archaeological objects found at the most interesting sites of the Pafos district area, representing all the Prehistoric and Historic periods. Founded in 1964 after Cyprus' independence and financed by the government of the Republic, it was built to shelter the objects, that until then were kept in the complex of the Turkish baths. In 1989 a new exhibition gallery was added to the west wing of the building.

The Museum consists of five exhibition rooms and one penthouse in the museum’s yard where the inscriptions and other marble and limestone objects are exhibited. In Room I finds from prehistoric sites of the Pafos area are exhibited, namely from the Chalcolithic sites of Lempa and Kissonerga. The same room also houses a collection of ceramic vessels representing all the phases of the Bronze Age. Objects in Room II represent the Archaic and Classical periods in the Pafos area, with finds from Palaipafos, Marion, Nea Pafos and other small sites. Local pottery is on display aside from imported pottery from Athens which demonstrates the important trading relations between the two cities. The same room houses a collection of coins belonging to the Pafos and Marion kingdoms as well as coins dated to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Exhibits in Room III represent the Hellenistic and Roman periods as well as an interesting collection of stone sarcophagi dating to the Hellenistic period, and the Roman marble sculptures. Of special interest is a unique collection of clay vessels, found in Nea Pafos, which were used for therapeutic purposes. 

Objects in Room IV come from excavations in Kato Pafos, from the House of Dionysos, mural paintings from houses and tombs, Roman pottery and some finds representing the Early Christian period and the period of the Arab raids. Room V houses the collection of medieval antiquities found in Kato Pafos, in the Chrysopolitissa and Saranta Kolones localities, namely decorated glazed pottery and other items such as glass vessels, as well as stone sculptures and mural paintings of the Frankish and Venetian periods.

Source: Departmnet of Antiquities

Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday: 8:00-16:00
Saturday and Sunday :closed
 
Tickets: € 2,50
 
Accessibility:
Entrance: Chair Lift
No wheelchair accessible WC
Parking space (not marked)
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Aphrodite's Temple (The Sanctuary of Aphrodite)

It is the best known of the ancient Goddess sanctuaries and the ancient ruins


One of the most important sanctuaries of Aphrodite throughout the ancient world. It is mentioned by Homer and other Greek and Latin authors. The surviving remains of the sanctuary form two groups of buildings: in the south was the first shrine of Aphrodite, Sanctuary I, built in the Late Bronze Age. It consists of an open court (temenos), surrounded by a monumental wall comprised of enormous limestone blocks. Its western side and part of its south side are preserved along with a hall, which housed a conical baetyl in its centre symbolising the power of the Great Goddess. The baetyl also adorned the Roman shrine, Sanctuary II, which was erected in the north at the end of the 1st or the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. The new Roman buildings enclose a spacious open court at the south, east and north.

Source: Department of Antiquities

Opening Hours:
Winter Hours (16/9 - 15/4 )
Monday - Sunday: 8.30 - 17.00
 
Summer Hours (16/4 - 15/9)
Monday - Sunday: 8.30 - 19.30
 
Admission: €4,50 [the price includes entry to the Local Museum of Palaipafos (Kouklia) ]
Accessibility: Non wheelchair accessible
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Theoskepasti Church

It is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List

Theoskepasti means 'Veiled by God'. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. According to tradition, a fog was sent by God to protect the original church during Arab raids of the Island. The fog made it invisible to the Arabs as they approached it and it thus avoided destruction. The modern church was built in 1923. It sits on a rock overlooking 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, to pray to the miraculous, silver-covered icon of the Virgin Mary, which is believed to be one of seventy painted by Luke the Evangelist.  Since 1980, the church has been inscribed in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  
 
Source: Pafos Region
 
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Tombs of the Kings

They are important and majestic!

The 'Tombs of the Kings' is the impressive necropolis that is located just outside the walls, to the north and east of Pafos town. It was built during the Hellenistic period (3rd century B.C.) to satisfy the needs of the newly founded Nea Paphos. Its name is not connected with the burial of kings, but rather with the impressive character of its burial monuments. The 'Tombs of the Kings' was the place where the higher administrative officers and distinguished Ptolemaic personalities as well as the members of their families were buried. There is sufficient evidence to support the fact that the first Christians also used the site for their burials, while at the same time the site constituted an endless quarry. Squatters established themselves in some of the tombs during the Medieval period and made alterations to the original architecture.

Most of the tombs are characterised by an underground, open aired, peristyled rectangular atrium completely carved into the natural rock. Columns or pillars of the Doric style supported the porticoes, which surrounded the atrium. The burial chambers and the loculi for single burials were dug into the portico walls. It seems that the walls were originally covered with frescoes although today only small fragments are preserved. Some of the tombs imitate the houses of the living, with the burial chambers opening onto a peristyle atrium. They are similar to tombs found in Alexandria, demonstrating the close relations between the two cities during the Hellenistic period.

The famous ‘Tombs of the Kings’ form part of the Archaeological Park of Kato Pafos - one of the most important archaeological sites of Cyprus that has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 1980.

Source: Department of Antiquities 

Opening Ηours: Winter hours (16/9 - 15/4 )
Monday - Sunday: 8.30 - 17.00
 
Summer hours (16/4 - 15/9)
Monday - Sunday: 8.30 - 19.30
 
Admission: €2,50
Accessibility: Entrance: The ticket area and the archaeological site are wheelchair accessible (view only from above)

 

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Lempa Village

The Cultural Village of Cyprus

Excavations in the village of Lempa have brought to five an important settlement of the Chalcolithic age. 
Near the site replicas of five houses from this period have been reconstructed using the same materials and the same building methods as used in chalcolithic times (3900-2500 BC).

The Chalcolithic settlement site is a stop on the Aphrodite Cultural Route.

 

 

 

 

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Akamas Peninsula National Park

An integral part of the natural and cultural heritage

Covering about 230 square km and located on the western tip of Cyprus, it's an area of natural beauty unaffected by development. The uniqueness of the area for Cyprus, and for the whole of the Mediterranean, is centered on its precious ecology. The diversity of flora and fauna living in this relatively small area is truly impressive. Rare endemic plants grow there and foxes, snakes and other reptiles as well as many types of migratory birds live in Akamas or use it in their movements. Out of a total of 128 endemic plant species of Cyprus, the following 39 are found in the Akamas peninsula.

In addition to its species habitats, the area is also important because of its diverse community habitats. Some of these are: Pine and juniper forests, Maquis forest, Gorges, Sand dunes, Cliffs etc.
 
On a European level, Cyprus including the Akamas area has been identified as one of the 22 areas of endemism in Europe and one of only three European areas holding two or more restricted-range species of birds. A vitally important characteristic of this peninsula is its beaches. Akamas is the last large unspoiled coastal area remaining in Cyprus and one of the very few important sea turtle nesting areas in the Mediterranean. Both the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta-caretta) and the rarer Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest here; the latter depends on the Akamas beaches for its very survival in this region.
 
The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) lists Loggerheads as "vulnerable" and Green Turtles as an "endangered species". According to the IUCN, the annual number of Green Turtle nesting females in the entire Mediterranean could be as low as 325-375.
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