Greek Mosaics and Columns Galore!
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Pafos was such a fantastic afternoon!
Do you love a beautiful mosaic? Have you been to Pafos?