Holiday in Cyprus (8): Pafos

Sunday was the last day of our tour of Cyprus and was dominated by visits to two archaeological sites, neither of which I had heard of before this holiday. First though, we were taken on a half hour walk along the seafront of Limassol, an attractive city which, with some 200,000 citizens, is beginning to rival Nicosia in terms of population. 

Then we drove west through a citrus plantation and the British RAF base of Akrotiri to reach the first archaeological site at a place called Kourion. This is located on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean, so it must have been a spectacular place when it was first settled by the Mycenaeans and reached the height of its importance in Roman times before being destroyed by an earthquake in 365 AD. We viewed 4th century mosaics and a restored Roman theatre. 

We stopped again further west at a place called Petra tou Romiou which is the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. This is a beautiful cove surrounded by limestone crags and it had attracted swimmers or sun worshippers as well as us photographers who could not fail to take stunning shots. 

Continuing our journey west along the coast, we reached the town of Pafos where there is the Kato Pafos archaeological site discovered in 1961 and excavated by Poles since 1962. Before lunch, we viewed the Agia Kyriaki Church, where the Catholic mass has been observed continuously since the 4th century, and the ruins of the Basilica of Chrysopolitissa. 

Lunch was included in the package and served outside in bright sunshine at the “Hondros Taverna”. It was a traditional Greek meze and the courses just kept coming and coming ,, and coming. No wonder the word ‘hondros’ translates as ‘fat man’. 

After lunch, we went round the main grounds of the Kato Pafos archaeological site. The city was founded around 320 BC but we observed a series of buildings containing wonderful mosaics from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries which are viewed from raised walkways. Our final visit of the day and the tour was to Pafos Castle which was restored by the Ottomans in 1592 and provides splendid views of today’s town harbour. 

For our final night in Cyprus, dinner was not included, so the group of four decided to splash out by eating at the Italian restaurant in the hotel, enjoying a three-course meal with beer, wine, and a complimentary spirit. We’ll sleep tonight …


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