Day 9: Exploring Ancient Cypriot Culture Through Rocks

As we reach the end of this trip, I am realizing how much of a texture person I am.  I love traveling to different places and feeling everything around me. From the smooth pebbles on the serene beaches to the coarse limestone in the cathedrals to the leaves of ancient Cyprus trees, textures allow time to transport myself to the past through tactile sensation. The idea that people walked down the same places as me centuries ago, is a surreal experience (and an interesting way to expose myself to ancient germs). 

The first place we traveled to today was Aphrodite’s rock. Although the site was nothing special, it was ironic to reflect on how the Ancient Greek claimed that it gave them eternal beauty or youth. As such, by incorporating it into their mythology, the Greek, specifically Homer, gave it eternal life. 

7th Century B.C. Burial Site

We then traveled to the necropolis outside the ancient city of Paphos. The necropolis is an ancient burial site, which was used in Cyprus to give the dead a final resting place so that they may continue on to their next life undisturbed. There was an evident divide in socioeconomic classes because the rich were buried in elaborate tombs, while the poor were buried in rectangular holes. Demeatra related this to how humans as a society have barely evolved in terms of providing equitable access to basic services. On another note, even in the necropolis, the British had destroyed several tombs to steal artifacts, which in turn destroyed centuries of history.

Finally, we travelled to the Ancient city of Paphos where we ate lunch and then toured the House of Dionysus. The House contained murals put together with different colored pebbles from the ocean. I was in awe at how well-preserved the murals were and the level of detail they contained. Being an avid fan of Greek mythology as a child, I was able to contextualize the story behind the murals which helped me develop a greater degree of appreciation. One mural that struck out to me was that of Narcissus, who was a hunter known for his beauty. The mural was a depiction of how one day he fell into the river while looking at his reflection, which is what allowed for the Narcissus flowers, daffodils, to sprout. This is ironic because the flowers are supposed to represent the harm of vanity, but the entire house is essentially a show of wealth.

Narcissus Mural in the House of Dionysus

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