There are a total of 962 properties across the world that have been classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and among them are a number of entire cities that have received this prestigious cultural status. The Cyprus city of Paphos is one of them, and when you visit on cheap flights to Cyprus with airlines like Jet2.com to admire all of its architecture and historic sites, you’ll understand just why UNESCO believe that the whole of this city is worth protecting.
Paphos was once the capital city of Cyprus, a standing that it held for 600 years during Hellenistic and Roman times. However its history dates back thousands of years to when the Greek goddess Aphrodite was said to inhabit the island, after rising from the sea in a stunningly beautiful area of Paphos that’s now known as Petra Toy Romiou, or ‘the Rock of the Greek’. Cyprus became the centre of her cult and the Myceneans erected a temple in her honour in the 12th century, the ruins of which can be visited in Kouklia Village where there’s also a small museum with intriguing archaeological findings from the area.
The mosaics of Paphos are also particularly famous, and played a large role in securing the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status as they’re considered to be among the finest mosaic floors found anywhere in the Mediterranean. Depicting scenes from Greek myths and legends, the remarkably well-preserved mosaics were inlaid in the floors of the Houses of Dionysus, Orpheus and Aion, as well as the Villa of Thesus, during the Roman period, and are an absolute must-see during your Cyprus holiday.
The Tombs of the Kings should also not be missed, although you’ll have to head underground to admire them as they were carved out of solid rock – an impressive feat considering this was done in the 4th century. Dating back even further is the Odeon, a 2nd century construction of limestone blocks that is still in use today for musical and theatrical performances during the summer months, and during your visit make sure you take a slight detour to check out the remains of the Paphos city walls that stand nearby.
In fact, it seems as though everywhere you turn in Paphos you’ll be faced with a relic from its long and vibrant history, and although it would be impossible to tick all of them off on your holiday you’re sure to have plenty of fantastic photo opportunities!