The charming west coast town of Paphos focuses around an attractive quaint harbour whose picturesque open air fish restaurants overlook the harbour and the Byzantine Castle.
With a population of just 60.000, Paphos is nestled in the Western Troodos Mountains, which adds another dimension to this area of scenic beauty. The recent addition of its own international airport has opened up the Paphos area, and the resort is graced with luxury hotels along the coastline.
Paphos has an air of holiday charm combined with history, and olden-day elegance is lent to the town by its classical style buildings in the upper part of town which leads to the shopping area. The lower part of the town – known as “Kato Paphos” has a life of its own near the sea – home of the harbour, fish tavernas, souvenir shops and several beautiful hotels with important archaeological sites around them.
Paphos is entwined with Greek mythology, and the legendary birth of Afrodite on her shores brought fame and worshippers there to follow the cult of the Goddess. Landmarks associated with Afrodite are the chunky, rugged rocks of her beautiful birthshore known as the Aphrodite Rocks or “Petra tou Romiou”, the evocative sanctuary of Aphrodite at Kouklia Village, once a shrine and scene of pagan festivals for thousands, the Baths of Aphrodite at Polis, as legend has it, the source of fertility and the Fountain of Love, or Fontana Amorosa.
Even the town’s name is linked to the Goddess, for Paphos was the name of the mythological daughter of Venus and Pygmalion.
Paphos became the capital of Cyprus under the successors of Alexander the Great – the Ptolemies and in those days its harbour was a busy, thriving port. It continued as the island’s first city for more than seven centuries, retaining its importance under Roman rule. Its most famous Governor Sergius Paulus, was converted to Christianity by St Paul in 45 AD.
But Paphos history dates back a great deal further. In fact the whole area abounds in historical and archaeological treasures.