Our sixth day started off with a 9am bus ride heading to Paphos, a city on the western side of Cyprus. Along the way, we made a couple stops at important archaeological and mythological sites, first at Kourion archaeological site, and then at Aphrodite’s Rock. I learned that Kourion used to be one of the ancient 10 city-states of Cyprus, going back to the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st centuries BC. The city state of Kourion was strategically built on a cliffside overlooking the Mediterranean in order to defend from seaside invaders. At the archaeological site, the remains of ancient baths and water pipes could be seen as part of the larger house that once stood on the site. Additionally, the site had an amphitheater, which was pretty cool to see. The acoustics of the amphitheater were also cool to experience, because when you stood in the middle of the floor the amphitheater was designed to allow everyone sitting in the stands to be able to hear you.
We then visited Aphrodite’s Rock, which is said to be the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite from the sea foam. Although it was a cloudy day, the water was still very blue and clear. We also climbed on top of the giant rock and were rewarded with amazing views of the area.
In Paphos, we then visited the Tomb of the Kings, which was like an ancient graveyard for important people and their families. I learned that each tomb was monolithic, where ancient people would hand-carve the tomb from the stone. Additionally, I learned that in times of mass sickness, there wouldn’t be enough time to intricately carve out additional tombs, so instead smaller rectangular resting places were dug into the floor of the overall tomb to increase space. We then had lunch on the Paphos harbor at The Pelican restaurant, where there was a live pelican roaming around, which was pretty cool.
Afterwards, we visited the Paphos Mosaics, where they had one of the oldest mosaics on the island. Each extremely detailed mosaic had a different story to tell, and all of them except for the oldest mosaic were on show exactly how they were found. Our tour guide described how this practice is different than American museums, where they take the mosaics from their original place in order to display them in a museum. Overall, it was a busy, yet interesting day on the western side of Cyprus.