Birthplace of Aphrodite
One of the most renowned beaches of all Cyprus, the mythical birth place of Aphrodite. Several rocks surround a pebble beach, onto which, according to legend, the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty emerged from the sea foam.
The rocks also have their own legend. It is said that here the mighty Byzantine hero Digenis Akritas managed to stop the raid of the Saracens: he threw one of the rocks into the sea and sunk their fleet. The name Petra tu Romiou (Greek Rock) is dedicated to this event. There is a third myth: if you swim around the rock three times, it will bring youth, beauty, luck, fertility and love.
Despite the popularity, the beach is devoid of the usual infrastructure like sun beds or sports grounds.
The port fortress is one of the main points of attraction on the shore of Paphos. It is a spectacular stronghold with an interesting history.
The harbor itself became a port in the era of Alexander the Great, and the first fortress was erected by the Byzantines. After a devastating earthquake, the fortress was restored by the Franco-Cypriot royal dynasty Lusignan. This fortress was also destroyed, but by the Venetians on the eve of the capture of the island by the Turks. Finally, the third castle, which survived to our days, was built by the Turks in 1592. At the same time it was used as a prison and a warehouse for weaponry.
Now the fortress has the shape of a square tower with 12 portholes, a courtyard, a central hall and prison cells.
Tombs of the Kings
Archaeological Park of Kato Pafos
One of the most valuable monuments of antiquity in the world, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The park occupies several dozen acres and includes so many monuments of several cultures at once, from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, that a separate guide is needed for its description. Its main objects are the ruins of a Byzantine fortress, an agora, an ancient theater and the temple of Asclepius.
However, several private villas brought world fame to the park—they are called the house of Dionysus, the house of Theseus, the house of Orpheus and the house of Aeon. After one of these villas was accidentally stumbled upon by a local tractor driver, archaeologists discovered real antique "comics" here. These are magnificent and perfectly preserved mosaics more than 19 centuries old, which graphically retell ancient myths: Dionysus teaches people how to make wine, Theseus kills the Minotaur, the ancient lovers Piram and Fisba play their tragic history and so on.
Agia Solomoni Christian Catacomb
One of the main Christian shrines of Cyprus: the church of St. Solomon and the tomb of the Hellenistic period. The first catacombs were dug here in the 4th century BC, and later Christians hid there from persecution. According to legend, one of them was Saint Solomon, the first Christian of Cyprus. It was here that she was found by the Romans and entombed. 200 years later, the entrance was opened, and the saint came out of the tomb alive.
Today the temple is comprised of five stone caves with a spring in one of them and fragments of Christian wall painting of the 12th century in the other. Here, knights of the Crusades in the 13th century left their signatures.
A Pistachio tree at the entrance to the tomb is draped with kerchiefs and other objects: it is believed that it fulfills wishes and gives health.
Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church
A picturesque complex of archaeological monuments with an amazing and contradictory history. First there was an ancient Roman forum on this site. In the 6th century it was rebuilt into the largest Byzantine basilica on the island: its columns and some mosaics have survived to the present day.
In the 14th century, the Franciscans built a Gothic temple nearby, but only ruins remained after it: after it was repurposed into a mosque by the Ottomans, the temple collapsed. The Byzantine basilica also collapsed, but Catholics at the beginning of the 16th century built the modern church of Saint Kyriaki on its foundation. Later, the Ottomans gave the temple to the Orthodox Church.
Today, the ancient temple serves as a unique symbol of peace between faiths: Anglicans, Lutherans, Maronites, Catholics and Orthodox hold mass here.
St. Paul's Pillar
This steep shore with layered rocks is famous for its landscapes and spectacular photos: stone white cliffs rise above sea grottoes with cozy bays. In some places there is a comfortable descent to the water: the sea here is clean and clear.
There is also an unexpected sight here: a beached big Albanian ship called EDRO III: in 2011 the ship lost course and a storm threw it on the rocks. Money to tow it away has not yet been found.
Agiou Georgiou, 112
One of the most gorgeous natural attractions 15 km away from Paphos: a famous gorge that looks like a fantasy set. The curved 30-meter walls join together overhead, and under them a diverse flora is rampant: pine, cypress, juniper, oaks, wild fig trees, and the unique plant Centaurea akamantis. It grows only in three places in Cyprus and nowhere else in the world.
To visit the gorge you will need comfortable shoes that can withstand water: there is a small stream, and in some places you will have to climb steep areas.