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Archaeological Sites

An invitation to the past

Every destination has a story to tell. Pafos’ rich historical sites are bound to propel you into an exciting chapter. From prehistoric temples and monumental underground tombs to decorative floor mosaics and intriguing landmarks, the region offers a wealth of ruins dating back thousands of years.

Both sacred and rare, the Pafos region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is bound to take you on a journey of exploration, starting from the Stone Age, taking you through to classical Hellenistic and Roman times, and ultimately leading you to the glory of the Byzantine era.

Whether a culture lover or explorer, our innovative apps provide a personalised and enhanced experience of this unique destination. Download our free, user-friendly smart apps, and make your journey an unforgettable experience.

Pafos Archaeological Park (UNESCO)

Location: Kato Pafos (Near the Pafos Harbour)

Tel: +357 26 306 217

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter (16 September – 15 April):     8:30 – 17:00

Summer (16 April – 15 September):  8:30 – 19:30

Entrance Fee:  €4.50

Partly accessible to wheelchairs, following the directions provided by the on-site staff. (Route not marked).  Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

 

Located in Kato Pafos, this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site includes monuments that date back to prehistoric times, the Middle Ages, and the Roman period. At the heart of this archaeological park is the site’s most prized possession. Considered among the finest in the eastern Mediterranean, the intricate floor mosaics are feted for their excellent preservation and vibrant colours, depicting various scenes from Greek mythology.

Other attractions include the Asklepieion, a temple dedicated to the god of medicine, the Odeon, the Agora, Saranta Kolones (Forty Columns) Castle, Tombs of the Kings, and the Limeniotissa ruins of an Early Christian Basilica.

The Odeon

One of the most prominent attractions at the Pafos Archaeological Park is the Ancient Odeon. Built around the 2nd Century AD into the side of the Fabrica Hill, this beautiful amphitheatre is comprised of carved limestone, and is believed to have been altered by the Romans and used until the 5th Century AD. Today, the extensively restored Odeon is the site for open-air musical and theatrical performances in the summer.

The Agora

The Agora, or forum, was the central square court of the city, surrounded by four porticoes of granite columns with white marble Corinthian capitals. The Odeon and the Asklepieion form part of the complex.

The Asklepieion

Located south of the Odeon is the Asklepieion, the sanctuary of Asclepios and a medical establishment or healing centre.  A large building complex, the Asklepieion includes several rooms and a square courtyard.

Saranta Kolones

The castle known as Saranta Kolones (Forty Columns) is located near the Pafos port, south of the Agora. Built around the 7th Century AD, this historic landmark features a collection of granite columns that once served to protect the port and the city of Nea Pafos from potential Arab raids. The site remained in use until 1223 after an earthquake destroyed it.

The Lighthouse

Situated on the peninsula known as Paphos Point, and rising 36 metres above sea level, the Pafos lighthouse is an impressive, albeit relatively modern construction built in 1888 when Cyprus was under British rule. Acting as a marker for ships heading towards Pafos harbour from the United Kingdom, its light is visible for 17 nautical miles, beaming every fifteen seconds.

The Walls

The ancient city of Nea Pafos featured extensive fortifications that once surrounded the city, protecting it against possible attack. Though the precise date of the walls remains unknown, archaeologists assume the fortifications date back to the Roman period. Certain parts have always been visible, whereas others have been uncovered over time through archaeological excavations. Sections of the natural rock feature carvings used as foundation trenches.

Although the upper levels of the wall are in ruins, the exact course of the fortifications is visible at certain parts of the city, largely due to the natural rock carvings. Preserved sections of the walls are in the north and north western sides of the city.  Further sections of the walls are evident on the eastern side of the city, comprising the foundations of a rectangular tower.  It appears that the walls had three gates with the most preserved located on the north western side. The gate featured a tower on both sides with a bridge, carved out of natural rock, leading to the external side of the fortification.

Toumpallos

Initially identified as a Ptolemaic army camp, and later believed to have functioned as a temple to the god Apollo, Toumpallos is a splendid underground complex carved into the natural rock. This superb site features halls and corridors and is currently undergoing systematic excavations by the Italian Archaeological Mission from the University of Catania.

Agios Georgios Pegeia Archaeological Site

Region:                        Pafos

Address:                      Pegeia Village, 11km north of Pafos

Contact No:                 Tel: +357 26 812 301

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter (16 September – 15 April):     9:30 – 17:00

Summer (16 April – 15 September):  8:30 – 16:00

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 entry cards for all its museums and ancient monuments as follows:

One (1) day entry card: €8.50

Three (3) days entry card: €17.00

Seven (7) days entry card: €25.00

Disabled Access:         Partly accessible

Website:                      http://www.mcw.gov.cy/mcw/da

Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

Pafos Mosaics

Location: Kato Pafos (Near the Pafos Harbour)

Tel: +357 26 306 217

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter (16 September – 15 April):     8:30 – 17:00

Summer (16 April – 15 September):  8:30 – 19:30

Entrance Fee:  €4.50

The Entrance Fee is paid directly at the entrance to the Archaeological Park and includes all sites within the park.  Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

The House of Dionysos

The chance discovery of fragments of mosaic floors led to a systematic excavation that brought light to a remarkable residence dating back to the Roman period. Originally thought to be the palace of a Roman proconsul, it later became clear that the elaborate and ornate décor characterised that of a wealthy residence from the same period. Painstakingly crafted from limestone, these incredibly preserved mosaics belong to the last buildings that we erected in the area, over the ruins of older ones.

Occupying an area of 2,000 square metres, of which 556 are covered with mosaics, the site is named after the Greek god of wine, Dionysos, who is depicted throughout the intricate flooring. Built in the 2nd Century AD, it was later destroyed by an earthquake in the 4th Century.  The original size of the residence comprised of 40 rooms, including 15 mosaic floors that are testament to the inhabitants’ high standards of living during the Roman period.

The House of Theseus

The largest building of all known public buildings from the Roman period in Cyprus, The House of Theseus is a 2nd Century villa with a preserved mosaic depicting the scene of Theseus fighting the Minotaur from Greek mythology.  The building itself features over 100 rooms, organised in four wings around a colonnaded open courtyard.  Residential, domestic, working, and communal areas are in the eastern, western, and northern sections of the house, whereas the ritual areas are sited in the southern wing.  This historical landmark also features ruins of baths that were unearthed in the south-eastern part of the building.

The House of Aion

Dating back to the 4th Century AD, the figural mosaics located in The House of Aion depict five different mythological scenes such as Leda and the Swan, the Epiphany of Dionysos, the beauty contest between Cassiopeia and the Nereids, the punishment of Marsyas, and in the centre of the composition, the depiction of the god Aion – the personification of time – whose name was given to the house.

The House of Orpheus

Typical of a wealthy Greco-Roman House from the 3rd Century AD, The House of Orpheus features a central court with its reception hall decorated with a mosaic floor depicting Orpheus and his Lyre among the beasts. Other mosaics include Hercules and the Lion of Nemea and the Amazon.

Medieval Castle of Pafos

Location: Harbour, Kato Pafos

Tel: +357 26 306 217

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter (16 September – 15 April):     8:30 – 17:00

Summer (16 April – 15 September):  8:30 – 19:30

Entrance Fee:  €2.50

The Entrance Fee is paid directly at the entrance to the Archaeological Park and includes all sites within the park.  Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

 

Located at the west end of the town’s harbour, the Pafos Castle is one of Cyprus’ most iconic landmarks. Originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour, the castle was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th Century and was later dismantled in 1570 by the Venetians. The Ottomans rebuilt it in the 16th Century when they conquered the island.  Today, the castle reflects the Ottoman restoration of the western Frankish tower with its Venetian additions.

Throughout its long-standing history, the Pafos Castle was used as a prison, and even as a storage area for salt when Cyprus was a British colony.  In 1935, it was declared an ancient monument and has now become a major tourist attraction.  The landmark site also serves as the official venue and backdrop to the annual, world-renowned Pafos Aphrodite Festival, an artistic operatic event that takes place in September, attracting an audience of thousands from across the globe.

The Hellenistic –Roman Theatre of Pafos

Built by the Ptolemies of Alexandria c. 300 BC on the slope of a hill of the ancient wall city, the site of the remarkable theatre of Nea Pafos is in the modern town of Kato Pafos. Having survived until the late 4th Century AD, the building represented the evolution of the performing arts during the Greek and Roman periods.

The theatre reveals five major phases of building and renovation during its history, and the responses to earthquake damage.

Tombs of the Kings

Location: Kato Pafos, Tombs of the Kings Avenue

Tel: +357 26 306 295

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter (16 September – 15 April):     8:30 – 17:00

Summer (16 April – 15 September):  8:30 – 19:30

Entrance Fee:  €2.50

Partly accessible to wheelchairs, following the directions provided by the on-site staff. (Route not marked).  Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

Located approximately two kilometres north of Kato Pafos’ picturesque harbour, Tombs of the Kings is a vast necropolis of unique, well-preserved underground tombs and chambers. Dating back to the 4th Century, the impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site from the Hellenistic and Roman periods features a desert-like landscape with tombs carved out of solid rock, including an impressive atrium below ground level, surrounded by columns. High officials rather than royalty were buried here; the magnificence of the tombs gave the locality its name.

Panagia Chrysopolitissa

Location: Kato Pafos

Tel: +357 26 306 217

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter (16 September – 15 April):     8:30 – 17:00

Summer (16 April – 15 September):  8:30 – 19:30

Entrance Fee:  Free

Wheelchair accessible.  Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church was built in the 13th Century over the ruins of the largest Early Byzantine basilica on the island. Originally seven-aisled, the church was later reduced to five and features some of the most well-preserved floor mosaics and standing Corinthian-styled columns made of granite and marble.  Following extensive restoration, Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church is used as a place of worship for Anglican, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and other Christian denominations, and is also a popular wedding venue.

Located within the compound is Saint Paul’s Pillar where, according to tradition, Saint Paul was punished and sentenced to thirty-nine (forty but one) lashes for evangelising Christianity in Pafos.

St Paul's Pillar

Travel back in time to the early Christian heritage of Cyprus and walk in the footsteps of Saint Paul. Considered an important pilgrimage stop, it is at this location where Saint Paul, in 45 AD, was flogged before Roman Governor, Sergius Paulus, in an attempt to convert the ruler. He was eventually successful in his efforts, making Cyprus one of the world’s first Christian states.

Today, St Paul’s Pillar lies amongst a series of ancient ruins surrounding Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church, including the remains of an Early Byzantine basilica and a mosque dating back to the Ottoman period.

Royal Manor of Kouklia

Location: Kouklia Village

Tel: +357 26 432 155

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter (16 September – 15 April):     8:30 – 17:00

Summer (16 April – 15 September):  8:30 – 19:30

Entrance Fee:  €4.50 (Price includes entry to the local museum of Palaipafos, Kouklia)

Partly accessible to wheelchairs, following the directions provided by the on-site staff. (Route not marked).  Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

The Royal Manor House, in Kouklia, Pafos is one of the finest surviving monuments of Frankish architecture in Cyprus. Once the nucleus of the feudal estate of the area which, among other things, supervised sugar production, this magnificent 13th Century site houses the local archaeological museum and is today the venue for international music festivals and cultural events.

Christian Basilicas at Pegeia

Cyprus is home to many superb Christian basilicas which were constructed during the Early Byzantine period. The remains of two such well-preserved basilicas, Panagia Chrysopolitissa and Panagia Limeniotissa are in the Pafos region, and are testament to Cyprus’ early Christian heritage.

Located in the eastern part of the town, Panagia Chrysopolitissa is the largest basilica excavated so far in Cyprus and was once served as the cathedral of the town and official seat of Pafos’ bishop.  Built at the end of the 4th Century and later destroyed in the 7th Century during the Arab raids, the original seven-aisled basilica was rebuilt and modified several times. The Medieval church of Agia Kyriaki is located nearby.

The basilica of Panagia Limeniotissa is situated close to the Pafos harbour and is part of the Pafos Archaeological Park. Dedicated to “Our Lady of the Harbour,” the three-aisled basilica was built in the 5th Century and features few sections of colourful mosaic floors in geometric patterns that have survived over the years.

Approximately 15 kilometres northwest of Pafos, three other basilicas have been excavated in the Cape Drepano area and are known as the basilicas of Agios Georghios tis Pegeias. The largest of these was built in the 6th Century, the second a few years later, and the third at the turn of the century.

Ancient city of Marion

After its destruction by Ptolemy I, the city of Marion was rebuilt at the beginning of the 3rd Century BC and was re-named “Arsinoe,” in honour of the sister and wife of Ptolemy Philadelphos.  Two other cities were also founded with the same name, one in the east of Cyprus at Salamis, and the second in the district of Pafos.  Located between New and Old Pafos, this town had anchorage, a sanctuary, and a sacred grove. Its sanctuary was believed to have been dedicated to Queen Arsinoe who, upon her death in 270 BC, was deified and worshipped in Pafos like the goddess Aphrodite, including other Ptolemaic kings and queens.

 

Kings of Marion

The ancient kingdom of Marion, with its capital of the same name (present day Polis Chrysochous), was also situated in the Pafos District. Based on inscriptive and numismatic evidence, the names of 5 kings of Marion were:

 

1. Doxandros  5th century BC
2. Sasmas  5th century BC
3. Stasioikos I  5th century BC
4. Timocharis  5th century BC
5. Stasioikos  II  5th century BC
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