Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tombs of the Kings

The Tombs of the Kings is located about 2 km north-west of the Paphos harbor in the city of Paphos, which is within the Paphos district of Cyprus.  It was built near the Mediterranean Sea during the Hellenistic period as part of the ancient city of Nea Paphos.  This necropolis was used as a burial ground during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
 

These tombs were originally constructed when kings didn't exist in Cyprus, so the tombs were most likely utilized for important Paphos citizens, including civil servants and army officers.  According to the Cypriot Department of Antiquities website, "Its name is not connected with the burial of kings, as the royal institution was abolished in 312 B.C., but rather with the impressive character of its burial monuments.  The 'Tombs of the Kings' was the place where the higher administrative officers and distinguished Ptolemaic personalities as well as the member of their families were buried."
 
Since ancient times, the tombs have been looted and sometimes damaged over the years until official excavations occurred in the 1970s.  Today, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular tourist site in Paphos.
 

 
There are several underground tombs to explore.  According to the Cypriot Department of Antiquities website, "Most of the tombs are characterized by an underground, open aired, peristyled rectangular atrium completely carved into the natural rock....  It seems that the walls were originally covered with frescoes although today only small fragments are preserved."  According to a sign at the Tombs of the Kings site, "The architecture of the underground funerary monuments imitates that of the houses of the same period."
 
The Tombs of the Kings is an enjoyable site and worth visiting, particularly for those who have extra time to explore the ancient tombs. 
 
 
Site: Tombs of the Kings. 
 
Category: Archaeological Site. 
 
Location: Leoforos Tafon ton Vasileon in Paphos, within the Paphos district of Cyprus. 
 
Phone Number: 26206217 and 26306295. 
 
Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (October to April) and 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM (May to September), daily. 
 
Entrance Fee: €2,50. 
 
Date of Visit: 2008.

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