Saturday, March 22, 2014

Palaipafos Archaeological Site

The Palaipafos Archaeological Site (also known as the Palaepafos Archaeological Site) and the  Kouklia Local Museum (also known as the Local Museum of Palaipafos) are both located at the same site, near Kouklia Village, which is within the Paphos district of Cyprus.

The Palaipafos Archaeological Site is part of the Aphrodite Cultural Route in Cyprus, as well as accredited as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  In September 1980, Palaipafos was one of the first Cypriot sites to be included. 

According to legends, Palaipafos (or Old Paphos) was founded after the Trojan War, by Agapenor, the King of Tegea in Greece.  Another legend claims that King Kinyras built the ancient sanctuary, as well as served as the first high priest.

Palaipafos was once considered the largest rural and religious center of western Cyprus.  When the capital of Cyprus moved to Nea Pafos (which is about 16 km west of Palaipafos) in the 4th century BC, then Palaipafos was primarily known for the Temple of Aphrodite.

During the Roman period, the cult worship of Aphrodite was gradually abandoned, in part due to Christianity on the island.  In the 4th century, there were major earthquakes that destroyed many of the ancient buildings. 

This archaeological site has ancient ruins from throughout history, especially since the ancient city-kingdom of Palaipafos was considered important to Cyprus.

Sanctuary of Aphrodite (also known as the Temple of Aphrodite) was once famous throughout the ancient world, and various Greek and Latin authors referred to this site.

The remaining ancient ruins form two buildings.  The first sanctuary was built in the Late Bronze Age, and it includes an open courtyard surrounded by a massive limestone block wall.  The second sanctuary was structured with Roman influence, and it was built during the 1st or 2nd century. 

The House of Leda dates back to the 2nd century.  The only preserved part of this Roman house is a mosaic floor, which depicts a mythological scene.

However, the mosaic on featured at the archaeological site is a replica, while the original mosaic is displayed in the Kouklia Museum.

The Lusignan Manor House (also known as the Medieval Manor and the Lusignan Court) was built in the 13th century by Lusignan kings, and it has been renovated and restored over the years.

This building comprises of four main wings surrounding an open-air courtyard.  One of the wings that dates back to the Ottoman period now hosts the Kouklia Local Museum.

The Kouklia Local Museum (also known as the Local Museum of Palaipafos) is situated within the Lusignan Manor House.  This museum primarily features ancient items discovered in the area.

In the first gallery of the museum features ancient artifacts from the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, as well as a video presentation of this archaeological site.  In the second gallery, there are ancient items from various time periods, including Roman and Medieval, that were discovered in Palaipafos.

The Palaipafos Archaeological Site and the Kouklia Local Museum are worth exploring for both locals and tourists. 

Site: Palaipafos Archaeological Site and the Kouklia Local Museum. 

Category: Archaeological Site and Museum. 

Location: Near Kouklia Village, within the Limassol district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: 26432180 and 26432155. 

Operating Hours: 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM on Monday to Sunday, during the winter months.  8:30 AM to 7:30 PM on Monday to Sunday, during the summer months. 

Entrance Fee: €4,50. 

Date of Visit: 2010.

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