An Historical Day in Paphos

We spent Saturday visiting several landmarks around Paphos. First, we went to the Kourion archaeological site, where we saw the ancient amphitheater and the bathhouse. The amphitheater was built on the side of the hill overlooking the sea. It went under several renovations while in use; for example, it was once modified to function as an arena for gladiatorial games and later was changed back to a theater. The bathhouse contained both hot and cold baths, with many beautiful mosaics on the floor. Running through the bathhouse was an extensive pipe system that supplied and drained water.

Our next stop was to Aphrodite’s Rock, which is also known as the Birthplace of Aphrodite. According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite first emerged from the water there and stood on the rock before she ascended to Mount Olympus.

We then went to the Tombs of the Kings. Contrary to the name, no actual kings were buried there; most of the people buried there were rulers and their families. Within the tombs there are several chambers branching off of a small courtyard surrounded by columns. We were able to step into two different tombs: one was restored, and the other was not. The tombs were carved out of the center of large rocks, and the unrestored tomb that we saw was incomplete because the builders ran out of space in the rock that they chose.

The last location we visited was the Paphos Mosaics. This was my favorite of the places we went on Saturday. We walked through the uncovered mosaics of a house owned by a wine merchant. The mosaics were made by cutting different colored rocks into small, uniform squares that were placed into elaborate designs throughout the house. Some of the mosaics depicted scenes from different Greek myths and some were complex patterns. I enjoyed seeing the detail and thought put into the designs.  

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