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Wandering Pafos, Cyprus

There is something about wandering among a hilltop covered with Greek ruins…columns, mosaics, and baths, oh my!

In Cyprus, the sun shines 326 days a year!  And from cold, wet, central Europe it is a welcome change. The day we were there, a slight breeze caught the musical notes of some folk singers down by the sea. As we wandered among this rich history hailing from another land and place, the music seemed to follow us. We found ourselves swaying, humming, and dreaming about life long, long ago.

Old mill stones in the ruins of Pafos.

Greek Mosaics and Columns Galore!

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2004, Pafos has two main sites to visit that date back over 2,000 years. Cyprus is called the birthplace of Aphrodite, with the actual birthplace a huge rock off the coast of the island not far away. The main site is well situated in the city of Pafos and is easy to access.

Reconstructed stone pillars standing in a row at Pafos.

As you enter, there is an informational display with a timeline, and guides where to find the best manor houses and mosaics. The vast expanse connected by dirt paths, brings you through meadows, up hills near the lighthouse, and around a number of key areas where many of the mansions were built.

Pafos mosaic showing portrait of a woman.

Today, the majority of the mosaics are covered, taken out of the erosive and incessant winds that throw sand every which way. Not only was it great to see them without the dust, but it was much cooler under the roof than out in the beating sun.

Ancient ruins of Pafos with two stone arches.

But just like Christmas, you have to wait for the really good stuff. After the small museum, walking down a set of cement steps takes you to the first part of the ruins. In this area, there is evidence of a basilica, some baths, and of course a theater, all worth a cursory look. Some floor mosaics were exposed here, but they were not the intricate ones we saw later.

Remains of massive bath house in Pafos.

Chasing mosaics is one of our hobbies, and Pafos really delivered. Her mosaics were colorful, somewhat intact, and protected, which is much better than many places we’ve been. These beauties were found in the old manor houses named after famous Greek gods: Aion, Theseus, and Orpheus, and by the looks of them some people probably thought the gods themselves lived there. Even 2,000 years later, it is apparent that no decadence was avoided.

Ancient Greek mosaic showing boy pleading for fathers life.

Pafos was such a fantastic afternoon!

Do you love a beautiful mosaic?  Have you been to Pafos?

Light house near the ruins of Pafos, Cyprus.

Esther

Sunday 19th of July 2015

Oh, this looks wonderful! I have visited many parts of Greek and I can't wait to go back!

Corinne Vail

Sunday 19th of July 2015

Esther, We absolutely love Cyprus. We keep going back so that tells you something! Go!

Paula McInerney

Saturday 18th of July 2015

I love the mosaics and think that Cyprus would have so much to offer

Corinne Vail

Sunday 19th of July 2015

Paula, I'm surprised you haven't been there. It's a perfect trip to take almost any time of year. A good 10 days and you can do the island right. Tack it on to a Greece trip. It's so lovely.

Anda

Saturday 18th of July 2015

Great mosaics! I'd love to visit Cyprus.

Corinne Vail

Sunday 19th of July 2015

Anda, Cyprus is really a wonderful destination. Good food, warm sun, and friendly people!

Mary {The World Is A Book}

Tuesday 14th of July 2015

What a beautiful place! I haven't heard of Pafos before so this was an interesting read. I love all those ruins and mosaics. You guys go to the most interesting places.

Corinne Vail

Wednesday 15th of July 2015

Well thanks Mary! Your family would love exploring Cyprus, I'm sure!

Rachael@safari254

Sunday 12th of July 2015

The mosaics are beautiful. I wonder how they looked during their heyday.

Corinne Vail

Sunday 12th of July 2015

Rachael, They are beautiful, but I'll bet they were even more colorful then!