Travel in Paphos Cyprus
Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “Big results require big ambitions.” These big results by the ancient world are evident all over the island of Cyprus. The Cyprus of today is culturally split. Much of the west and south are culturally Greek. And much of the east and north are culturally Turkish. The capital of Limassol has been a point of contention over history, and remains influenced by both. Despite the conflict over history, Cyprus is a peaceful, safe, and friendly place today. I will be exploring Pathos and the surrounding areas in this post. Pathos is on the west coast of the island.
Black Sand Beaches
Visiting a black sand beach has always been high on my bucket list of travel experiences. And Cyprus was happy to oblige! According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Black sand comes from eroded volcanic material such as lava, basalt rocks, and other dark-colored rocks and minerals, and is typically found on beaches near volcanic activity.” (NOAA. How Does Sand Form. National Ocean Service website, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov.) Meanwhile, iron oxide is responsible for the tan color common to many beaches around the world. This area of the mediterranean is notorious for volcanic activity, hence the brilliant black color of many of Cyprus’ beautiful beaches.
Petra tou Romiou, or “Rock of the Roman,” is most commonly referred to as “Aphrodite’s Rock.” This is the birthplace of Aphrodite in Greek mythology. The “Roman” referred to in the name cites Basil, a Christian who supposedly stood upon a mountaintop and threw the rock to interfere with an assault by the Saracens, an invading Arabian peoples. There’s no reference to Aphrodite here on the beach. Her presence today is in spirit only. And in kitschy souvenirs lining the shelves in the shop by the parking lot… This is a peaceful location, ideal for reflecting on the wisdom of Greek mythology. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore is ideal for this kind of meditation.
Strolling Along the Promenade
The town of Paphos is scenic and inviting. A stroll along the lengthy promenade treats you to the ocean breeze. Meanwhile, you enjoy beautiful scenes of the sea, and an abundance of shops and restaurants to explore. I found this area spotlessly clean and well-maintained. It’s a great place for leisurely people-watching. There are numerous gelato stands with many mouth-watering varieties to help you beat the heat if you’re here in the hot months. Feast on your favorite on a nearby bench and watch the tide come in.
The Incredible Ancient Roman Theater
The ancient Roman theater in Paphos sits way up on a high perch. It has a commanding view of the ocean below. The theater was built around 300 B.C. It boasts some impressive civil engineering feats! For one thing, the acoustics are amazing! You can stand on the stage and project your voice for the whole of the stands to hear, and beyond. And, the location high up on the cliff is a sight to behold. Visit the site and imagine a Roman drama under the stars. The University of Sydney is conducting research on the site. You can visit their website here if you are interested in reading about their work on the site.
Paphos Archaeological Park
The ancient Roman ruins don’t end with the theater. There’s a whole museum site to explore, the “Paphos Archaeological Park.” Here you’ll find yet another theater and several other structures. The highlight of a visit to the park, however, is the main complex, which houses numerous brilliantly preserved ancient Roman mosaics. Let the Romans tell you their story through their art, here in the park. The park is most famous for the elaborate villas of the Roman elites. These include the Houses of Dionysos, Aion, Theseus, and Orpheus. The aristocracy in Rome took every opportunity to flaunt their wealth through magnificent art in their private residences, including these magnificent mosaics. The Cypriots have done an outstanding job of preserving these treasures, and excavation continues as there is even more to be uncovered. These were the best Roman mosaics I’ve seen anywhere.
More Travel in Paphos Cyprus
When you travel to Paphos, Cyprus you’ll find so much to explore. The written word alone can’t do this incredible island justice. You can view my full video tour here:
Check out more amazing Roman ruins! Join my virtual tour of Ephesus, Turkey here:
Click HERE to get my FREE 12-page e-guide with my Top 10 tips for saving money on travel and to subscribe to be informed of future posts! Thank you for reading!