Thursday, July 10, 2014

Paphos: The City

The city of Paphos (also known as Pafos) is located on the southwestern coast, about 50 km west of the city of Limassol, in the Paphos district of Cyprus.

Actually, there's an Old Paphos (also known as Palaipafos) and New Paphos (also known as Nea Pafos).  Even though it's called New Paphos, it was once an ancient city.  Today, New Paphos is simply referred to as Paphos, which is the current city of Paphos.

During the Greco-Roman era, Paphos was the island's capital.  Paul visited Paphos around 45 AD, during one of his missionary journeys.  After first landing in Salamis, which is located in Northern Cyprus, Paul entered the city of Paphos through one of the town entrances (also known as gates), possibly the northern gate that's located near Fabrica Hill.  Nearby, there's Saint Paul's Pillar at the Panagia Chrysopolitissa Basilica Ruins.  Later, Paul left Paphos by ship from the Paphos Harbor.

According to Acts 13:4-13, "The two of them [Paul and Barnabas], sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.  When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.  John was with them as their helper.  They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos.  There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus.  The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.  But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.  Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 'You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right!  You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery.  Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?  Now the hand of the Lord is against you.  You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.'  Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.  When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.  From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem." 

In the 7th century, due to various raids, the inhabitants of Paphos (or Kato Paphos) moved further inland to create the settlement of Ktima (or Pano Paphos). 

Today, the modern-day city of Paphos is divided into two areas: Pano Paphos (also known as Ktima) and Kato Paphos.  Pano Paphos is considered the city center that's primarily built on the hillside, while Kato Paphos is the main tourist area in the harbor area. 

Throughout the city of Paphos, there are numerous ancient ruins and remains of history and culture from various time periods.  Pano Paphos is more residential, and it features several historical landmarks and cultural museums.

The Kato Paphos tourist area extends along the harbor with a coastal pathways next to the Mediterranean Sea.  This tourist area includes restaurants, cafes, tourist shops, hotels, and even archaeological sites.

In 1980, Paphos was the first Cypriot site listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Since the Paphos listing features Palaipafos and Kato Paphos, there are several ancient sites, including the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palaipafos, Tombs of the Kings, Panagia Chrysopolitissa Basilica Ruins at Saint Paul's Pillar, and the Houses of Dionysos and Theseus at the Paphos Archaeological Site.

According to this website, "The first listing in UNESCO in 1980 included the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in Kouklia (Palaipafos) and Nea Pafos (present Kato Pafos) for two basic reasons: The part the region of Pafos played in the worship of the goddess, Aphrodite, and the part Cyprus, and Pafos especially, played in the spread of Christianity, and with the events associated with the passage of Apostle Pavlos [Paul] through the region.  The key, however, for the listing of Nea Pafos was the mosaics form the Roman period, not only in the House of Dionysos but also in the Villa of Theseus and the Basilica of Chrysopolitissa.  Also included are the Tombs of the Kings from the Hellenistic period.

Some sites to explore in Pano Paphos include the Island Cove Adventure Mini Golf, Kings Avenue Mall, Laiki Gonia, Loutra, Paphos Byzantine Museum, Paphos District Archeological Museum, Paphos Ethnographic Museum, Paphos Municipal Gardens, etc.

The city of Paphos is quite charming with many archaeological and cultural sites, and it's a lovely place for locals and tourists to explore.

Site: City of Paphos. 

Category: City. 

Location: Southwestern coastline, within the Paphos district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: N/A. 

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2008 to 2014.

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