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|• Mayor||Savvas Vergas|
|• City||400 km2 (200 sq mi)|
|Elevation||72 m (236 ft)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EST (UTC+3)|
|• Mayor||Savvas Vergas|
|• City||400 km2 (200 sq mi)|
|Elevation||72 m (236 ft)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EST (UTC+3)|
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|UNESCO region||Europe and North America|
|Inscription||1980 (4th Session)|
Paphos (Greek: Πάφος; Turkish: Baf) is a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus and the capital of Paphos District. In antiquity, two locations were called Paphos: Old Paphos and New Paphos. The currently inhabited city is New Paphos. It lies on the Mediterranean coast, about 50 km (31.07 mi) west of Limassol (the biggest port on the island), which has an A6 highway connection. Paphos International Airport is the country's second largest airport.
Near Palaepaphos (Old Paphos) at the seaside of Petra tou Romiou is the modern mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty and the founding myth is interwoven with the goddess at every level, so that Old Paphos became the most famous and important place for worshipping Aphrodite in the ancient world. In Greco-Roman times Paphos was the island's capital, and it is well known for the remains of the Roman governor's palace, where extensive, fine mosaics are a major tourist attraction. Paul the Apostle visited the town during the 1st century AD. The town of Paphos is included in the official UNESCO list of cultural and natural treasures of the world's heritage.
In the founding myth, even the town's name is linked to the goddess, as the eponymous Paphos was the son (or, in Ovid, daughter) of Pygmalion whose ivory cult image of Aphrodite was brought to life by the goddess as "milk-white" Galatea.
The author of Bibliotheke, the Hellenistic encyclopedia of myth long attributed to Apollodorus, gives the genealogy. Pygmalion was so devoted to the cult of Aphrodite that he removed the statue to his palace and kept it on his couch. The daimon of the goddess entered into the statue, and the living Galatea bore Pygmalion a son, Paphos, and a daughter, Metharme. Cinyras, perhaps the son of Paphus, but perhaps the successful suitor of Metharme, founded the city under the patronage of Aphrodite and built the great temple to the goddess there. According to another legend preserved by Strabo (xi. p. 505), whose text, however, varies, it was founded by the Amazons.
Archaeologists report that the site of Paphos has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. It was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Aphrodite's mythical birthplace was on this island, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century BC.
The remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs of the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods mean that the site is of exceptional architectural and historic value. The mosaics of Nea Paphos are among the most beautiful in the world. The port of Paphos was rebuilt by Nicocles, the last king of Paphos, at the time of Alexander III of Macedon. It became the capital of the island replacing Salamis during the Hellenistic era, under the successors of Alexander III of Macedon – the Ptolemies who favoured a location closer to their capital, Alexandria. The theatre dating to the end of the 4th century BC has been under excavation by the University of Sydney since 1995: it was partly excavated from its hillside setting and partly built up with earth embankments.
Old Paphos, now the site of Kouklia (Greek: Κούκλια; Turkish: Kukla or Konuklia; French: Covocle) (Engel, Kypros, vol. i. p. 125) was seated on an eminence, at the distance of about ten stadia from the sea, to which, however, it had a roadstead. It was not far from the Zephyrium promontory (Strabo xiv. p. 683) and the mouth of the little River Bocarus.
The Greeks agreed that Aphrodite had landed at the site of Paphos when she rose from the sea. According to Pausanias (i. 14), her worship was introduced to Paphos from Syria; but much more probably it was of Phoenician origin. Before it was proved by archaeology it was understood that the cult of Aphrodite had been established before the time of Homer (c. 700 BC), as the grove and altar of Aphrodite at Paphos are mentioned in the Odyssey (viii. 362). Archaeology has established that Cypriots venerated a fertility goddess before the arrival of the Greeks, in a cult that combined Aegean and eastern mainland aspects. Female figurines and charms found in the immediate vicinity date as far back as the early third millennium. The temenos was well established before the first structures were erected in the Late Bronze Age: "There was unbroken continuity of cult from that time until 391 AD when the Roman Emperor Theodosius I outlawed all pagan religions and the sanctuary fell into the ruins in which we find it today."
Here the worship of the goddess was centred, not for Cyprus alone, but for the whole Aegean world. The Cinyradae, or descendants of Cinyras were the chief priests, Greek by name but of Phoenician origin. Their power and authority were very great; but it may be inferred from certain inscriptions that they were controlled by a senate and an assembly of the people. There was also an oracle here. Few cities have ever been so much sung and glorified by the poets. The remains of the vast temple of Aphrodite are still discernible, its circumference marked by huge foundation walls. After its destruction by an earthquake it was rebuilt by Vespasian, on whose coins it is represented, as well as on earlier and later ones, and especially in the style on those of Septimius Severus. From these representations, and from the existing remains, Gustav Friedrich Hetsch, an architect of Copenhagen, has attempted to restore the building.
According to the biblical Acts of the Apostles, after landing at Salamis and proclaiming the Word of God in the synagogues, the prophets and teachers, Barnabas and Saul of Tarsus, traveled along the entire southern coast of the island of Cyprus until they reached Paphos. There, Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul, was converted after Saul rebuked the Sorcerer Elymas. It was in Paphos that Acts first identifies Saul as Paul.
New Paphos (Nea Paphos), the currently inhabited town, was founded on the sea, near the western end of the island, and possessed a good harbour. It lay about sixty stadia, or ca. twelve km northwest of the old city. It too had a founding myth: it was said to have been founded by Agapenor, chief of the Arcadians at the siege of Troy, who, after the capture of that town, was driven by the storm that separated the Greek fleet, onto the coast of Cyprus. (Pausanias viii. 5. § 2.) An Agapenor was mentioned as king of the Paphians in a Greek distich preserved in the Analecta; and Herodotus (vii. 90) alludes to an Arcadian "colony" in Cyprus. Like its ancient namesake, Nea Paphos was also distinguished for the worship of Aphrodite and contained several magnificent temples dedicated to her. Yet the old city seems to have always retained the preeminence in this respect, and Strabo tells that the road leading to it from Nea Paphos was annually crowded with male and female votaries resorting to the more ancient shrine, and coming not only from the latter place itself, but also from the other towns of Cyprus. When Seneca says (N. Q. vi. 26, Epistle 91) that Paphos was nearly destroyed by an earthquake, it is difficult to say to which of the towns he refers. Dio Cassius (liv. 23) relates that it was restored by Augustus, and called "Augusta" in his honour; but though this name has been preserved in inscriptions, it never supplanted the ancient one in popular use.
Paphos is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (xiii. 6) as having been visited by Paul of Tarsus, when it appears to have been the residence of the Roman governor; it is said that Paul converted the governor, Sergius Paulus, to Christianity. Tacitus (Hist. ii. 2, 3) records a visit of the youthful Titus to Paphos before he acceded to the empire, who inquired with much curiosity into its history and antiquities. (Cf. Suetonius Titus c. 5.) Under this name the historian doubtless included the ancient as well as the more modern city: and among other traits of the worship of the temple he records, with something like surprise, that the only image of the goddess was a pyramidal stone – a relic, doubtless of Phoenician origin. There are still considerable ruins of New Paphos a mile or two from the sea; among which are particularly remarkable the remains of three temples which had been erected on artificial eminences.
Paphos, however, was gradually losing much of its attraction as an administrative centre, especially after the founding of Nicosia. The city and its port continued to decline throughout the Middle Ages and Ottoman Rule, as Nicosia, and the port city of Larnaca was gaining in importance.
The city and district continued to lose population throughout the British colonial period and many of its inhabitants moved to Limassol, Nicosia and overseas. The city and district of Paphos remained the most underdeveloped part of the island until 1974.
After 1974, there was rapid economic activity in all fields, especially tourism in the Kato Paphos area. The government invested heavily in irrigation dams and water distribution works, road infrastructure and the building of Paphos International Airport, the second international airport in Cyprus.
In the 1980s, Kato Paphos received most of the investment. In the 1990s, Coral Bay Resort was further developed and in the 2000s, the Aphrodite Hills resort was developed.
Today Paphos, with a population of about 32,754 (as of 2011), is a popular tourist resort, home to an attractive fishing harbour. Ktima is the main residential district while Kato Pafos, by the sea, is built around the medieval port and contains most of the luxury hotels and the entertainment infrastructure of the city. Apostolou Pavlou Avenue (St. Paul's Avenue), the busiest road in Paphos, connects the two quarters of the city. It begins near the city centre at Kennedy Square and ends outside the medieval fort at the harbour.
The economy of Paphos depends largely on tourism and there are four resorts in the district: Kato Paphos, Coral Bay, Latchi, and Aphrodite Hills. The largest by far is Kato Pafos which employs over half of Paphos' population. Farming, especially banana, grape and tobacco cultivation, also contributes significantly to the economy of Paphos. Paphos has a 100 km (62 mi) water distribution network which irrigates 5,000 ha of land. Paphos has the island's second international airport. Paphos Harbour is not important in terms of international trade as most shipping uses the harbour at Limassol. Paphos Marina has cultural and historical importance and is also used for fishing.
By the harbour stands Paphos Castle, originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour. It was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century, dismantled in 1570 by the Venetians who were unable to defend it against the Ottomans, who in their turn restored and strengthened it after capturing the island. Saranta Kolones, Kato Paphos, near the harbour, is a castle built in the first years of Lusignan rule (beginning of the 12th century) maybe on the site of a previous Byzantine castle. It was destroyed in the earthquake of 1222.
UNESCO added the entire town to its World Cultural Heritage List. Among the treasures unearthed are the mosaics in the Houses of Dionysos, Theseus and Aion, well preserved after 16 centuries under the soil. Then there are the mysterious vaults and caves, the Tombs of the Kings, the pillar to which Saint Paul was allegedly tied and whipped and the ancient Odeon Theatre. Other places of interest include the Byzantine Museum and the District Archaeological Museum, with its attractive collection of Cypriot antiquities from the Paphos area, dating from the Neolithic Age up to 1700 AD. Near the Odeon are the remains of the ancient city walls, the Roman Agora and a building dedicated to Asclepius, god of medicine.
The city contains many catacomb sites dating back to the early Christian period. The most famous is Saint Solomoni Church, originally a Christian catacomb retaining some of its 12th century frescoes. A sacred tree at the entrance is believed to cure the ailments of those who hang a personal offering on its branches.
A few miles outside the city, the rock of Aphrodite (Petra tou Romiou, "Stone of the Greek") emerges from the sea. According to legend, Aphrodite rose from the waves in this strikingly beautiful spot. The Greek name, Petra tou Romiou is associated with the legendary frontier-guard of Byzantine times, Digenis Acritas, who kept the marauding Saracens at bay. It is said that to repel one attack he heaved a large rock (Petra), at his enemy.
The site has recently seen the development of Aphrodite Hills resort. It features a five-star InterContinental Resort Hotel, an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, fitness facilities, holiday villas, apartments, townhouses and the Retreat Spa. Aphrodite Hills appeared in the Forbes magazine 'top five resorts' list where it was voted the world's most desirable new resort.
Near Petra tou Romiou is Palaepaphos, Old Paphos, one of the most celebrated places of pilgrimage in the ancient Greek world, and once an ancient city kingdom of Cyprus. Here are the ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite, where the most ancient remains date back to the 12th century BC. The temple was one of the most important places of cult and pilgrimage of the ancient world, until the 3rd–4th centuries AD. The museum, housed in the Lusignan Manor, is small but with many finds from the area.
North-east of Paphos lies Ayios Neophytos (St. Neophytos) Monastery, known for its `Encleistra' (Enclosure) carved out of the mountain by the hermit himself, which boasts some of the finest Byzantine frescoes of the 12th and 15th centuries. Nearby too is the painted village church of Emba (Empa).
Four kilometres (2.5 miles) north of Paphos is the village of Lemba (Lempa), home to numerous artists, many of whom have open studio shops, the sculpture known as the Great Wall of Lempa by the Cypriot artist Stass Paraskos and the Cyprus College of Art.
Just off the coast of Paphos is the wreck of M/V Demetrios II which ran aground on 23 March 1998 in heavy seas, during a voyage from Greece to Syria with a cargo of timber.
Paphos enjoys a subtropical-semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSh), with the greatest amounts of precipitation mainly occurring from mid-November to March. It almost never rains in the summer, (with an average of 0.1). In July and August, humidity measurements can go up to 85%.
Snowfall occurs rarely, approximately every 10 years, and does not normally lead to any significant disruption. Snowfall does occur in the hills of Tsada, 6 km (4 miles) north, almost annually. The last significant snowfall in the city centre occurred in the winter of 2001.
Heat waves in July and August are relatively common, when hot air masses from the Sahara desert drift over to Cyprus causing temperatures to rise. Cyprus has experienced drought-like conditions and the current trend of global warming may increase the severity of these conditions. In the summer of 2008, Cyprus had to ship water by tanker from Greece to meet demand on the island. However, since then, water conditions have eased due to good winter rains.
|Climate data for Paphos|
|Average high °C (°F)||17.0|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||12.5|
|Average low °C (°F)||8.0|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||80.2|
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||9.9||8.0||5.5||4.1||1.3||0.3||0.1||0.0||0.6||2.5||5.8||8.7||46.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||195.3||211.7||244.9||270.0||344.1||381.0||390.6||365.8||315.0||285.2||225.0||186.0||3,414.6|
|Source: Meteorological Service (Cyprus)|
|Climate data for Paphos|
|Average high °C (°F)||16.7|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||12.5|
|Average low °C (°F)||8.4|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||117|
|Source: Climate-Data.org, altitude: 74m|
Paphos was once the only traffic-free town in Cyprus. However, things changed after the urbanisation and rise of the population in less than ten years. The problem is mainly in the town centre, where the roads of a small colonial village cannot do what they are made to do anymore. The problems mainly exist because some planned road links remain on paper. These include:
Public transport in Paphos is currently served only by buses. The bus company operating in the city is OSYPA LTD. Bus routes and timetables can be found here.
Paphos did not have a motorway link until 2001. It is now accessed through the A6 which connects Paphos with Limassol. It is expected that by 2013 the new A7 towards Polis will be completed so that the suburbs will get a traffic breath.
Since 1982, air traffic of Paphos is served by Paphos International Airport located 10 km (6 mi) southeast of the city, near Timi. It serves approximately 1.75 million people every year. A new Terminal opened in late 2008 adjacent to the old one.
The port today serves as a small marina and a fisherman shelter and has a capacity of 300 boats. It is probably the top tourist destination of the city with plenty of restaurants and cafés. The castle's square hosts Aphrodite festival every September since 1998. Cargo and cruise ships use the Limassol Port 60 km (37 mi) away. A marina is planned to be constructed 10 km (6 mi) north, next to Coral Bay in Kissonerga. The new marina will serve up to 1,000 boats.
Paphos has only one general hospital, located at Anavargos, 3 km (2 mi) northeast of the city centre. It was built to replace the old hospital, which was an old dangerous building that was demolished shortly after being abandoned. Now it is a modern medical centre. Thoughts are made to be turned into a university hospital, when Neapolis University will open. There are also several private clinics spread all over the urban area.
Paphos is well known for its cultural and historical interest, including the Tomb of the Kings, Mosaics, Castle and numerous Churches, however it is also popular for its festivals and annual events.
During September, Paphos holds an annual Opera, Paphos Aphrodite Festival in the open air at the harbour. The Castle provides an unusual backdrop and stage for the performance. En Plo also plays an important role, providing the facilities for this event. At other times of the year, En Plo will play host to numerous art exhibition and craft fairs. Another annual event is Open Studios Cyprus. Taking place during selected weekends in October; selected artists open their studio doors to the general public, providing an informal environment to view and discuss the work with the artist. This event is endorsed by the Cyprus Department of Education & Culture, Cultural Services, the Cyprus Tourist Organization and UNWTO
In addition to Open Studios Cyprus, there are a number of privately owned galleries and exhibition spaces. Details and dates for the regular events can always be found in the local English newspapers, such as Cyprus Weekly and Cyprus Monthly. Maintained by the Paphos Municipality, is the popular exhibition and conference space, Palia Ilektriki. In the centre of the town, this converted electricity building plays host to both conferences and exhibitions throughout the year. In 2009, 2010 and 2011 Open Studios Cyprus, used this location to launch the event with an Opening Art Exhibition. Visitors were able to meet some of the participating artists, view an example of their work whilst enjoying a glass of the local wine.
Popular for its local wines, Paphos has a number of wineries, including SODAP and Sterna Winery. Visitors are always welcome at these venues to sample the local wines they have on offer.
In 2012, Pafos won the title as European Capital of Culture 2017, under the Executive Direction of Ektor Tsatsoulis and the Artistic Director Spyros Pisinos.
Paphos has a long history in sports, with several football, basketball, volleyball teams. The Pafian gymnastic club is called Korivos, and it owns (via the Cyprus Athletic Organisation) the local stadium which is called Pafiako and the arena for volley and basket venues called Aphroditi. The most successful team of Paphos is the volleyball club, Pafiakos, who have been Champions of Cyprus three times (the last in 2006). Dionysos, a volleyball team from Stroumpi (a village of Paphos), plays in the First Division as well. Both teams use the indoor Aphrodite arena. The football club in Paphos is called AEP Paphos. The team was founded in 2000 and is currently in the Cypriot First Division. The team plays in Pafiako Stadium, while they train in other grounds located in Yeroskipou. In 2006, the second Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships were held in Paphos.
Probably the most successful Paphian athlete of recent times was Stylianos Kyriakides (Greek: Στυλιανός Κυριακίδης; 1910–1987), a marathon runner from Statos. He won the 1946 Boston Marathon. According to a newspaper report, he was running with John Kelley near the end, when an old man shouted from the crowd, "For Greece, for your children!", inspiring him to pull away and win the race.
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