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Paphos is situated on the West coast of Cyprus. It was a busy and thriving port and once the capital city of Cyprus, under the successors of Alexander the Great - the Ptolemies. It continued to be the islands most important city for more than seven centuries, and retained its importance under the Roman rule. Wherever you look in Paphos you will see its history and heritage, from archaeological sites, to ancient monuments. The town's focal point is its picturesque fishing harbour, where you can find Paphos Fort and lots of little open-air cafes and tavernas. Paphos is also has the islands second international airport.

Places of interest

Paphos Fort can be found in Kato Paphos by the harbour. Originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour; it was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century and dismantled by the Ottomans after they captured the island in the 16th century.

Pera Tou Romiou is the birthplace of Aphrodite, is 25 kilometres from Paphos. According to legend, Aphrodite mythological goddess of love and beauty rose from the waves in this strikingly beautiful spot. The Baths of Aphrodite at Polis and the "Fontana Amorosa" - Fountain of Love - also echo her apparent penchant for the island. At Kouklia lie the remains of the Goddess's earliest Sanctuary. The Greek name, Petra tou Romiou «The Rof of the Greek " is associated with the legendary frontier-guard of Byzantine times Digenis Akritas who kept the marauding Saracens at bay with amazing strength. It is said that he heaved this large rock into the sea destroying the enemy's ship.

Lempa Village is 5 kilometres from Paphos. The village can be singled out as one with historic significance. In its pretty setting near the sea, Lempa's link with prehistory is the site of a chalcolithic settlement. Today the faithful reconstruction of several dwellings, gives an insight into chalcolithic life on the island. Near the site replicas of two houses from this period have been constructed.

The Tombs of the Kings are spread over a vast area. These impressive underground tombs date back to the 4th century BC. They are carved out of solid rock with some being decorated with Doric Pillars. High officials rather than Kings were buried here, but the magnificence of the tombs gave the locality its name.

Paphos Odeona is a small 2nd century Odeon entirely built of well-hewn limestone blocks. It was uncovered by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities in 1973-4 and is now regularly used for musical and theatrical performances.

Saranta Kolones is located in Kato Paphos, near the harbour. This castle was built in the first years of the rule of the Lusignans (beginning of 12th century) possibly on the site of a previous Byzantine Castle. It was destroyed in an earthquake in 1222.

Panayia Chrysopolitissa Church and Byzantine Basilica also in Kato Paphos was built in the 13th century, over the ruins of the largest early Byzantine basilica on the island. Within the compound, one can see the so called St. Paul's Pillar, where according to tradition Saint Paul was flogged at some time before the Roman Governor, Sergius Paulus, was converted to Christianity. Excavations are still going on.

Theoskepasti Church is located Kato Paphos, facing the harbour. Theoskepasti means 'Veiled by God' and according to tradition, God sent down a fog to protect the original church during the Arab raids. The church was built in 1923.

Ayia Solomoni Church is found on St. Paul Street, Paphos. It was originally a Christian catacomb. A sacred tree stands at the top, which, according to tradition, cures the diseases of those who hang a personal offering on its branches.

The Paphos District Archaeological Museum can be found on Dighenis street (Tel: (26)240215). It houses an attractive collection of Cypriot antiquities from the Paphos area, dating from the Neolithic Age to 1700 AD.

The Byzantine Museum is in the premises of the Bishopric Elysee Street. (Tel. (26)232092) An interesting collection of objects from the Byzantine period can be found here, including Byzantine icons from the 12th to 18th century.

The Ethnographical Museum in Exo Vrisy (Tel: (26)232010), houses an interesting private collection of objects from the Neolithic Age to the present day