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Villa Amalia

in Coral Bay, Cyprus

ABOUT PAPHOS

THE PORT OF KATO PAPHOS
Today Paphos, with a population of about 47.300 (end of 2001), is a popular sea and a fast developing tourist resort, home to an attractive fishing harbour. It is divided into two major quarters - Ktima, on the sea terrace, is the main residential district, and Kato Pafos, by the sea, is built around the mediaeval port and contains most of the luxury hotels and the entertainment infrastructure of the city. The harbours of Paphos are not so important: the normal shipping goes via the harbour of Limassol. Just as is the marina of Paphos for fishing and other kinds of interest.

THE CASTLE OF PAPHOS
At the harbour, there is the Castle of Paphos, originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbour and rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century, then dismantled by the Venetians in 1570, who found themselves unable to defend it against the Ottomans, who in their turn restored and strengthened it after they captured the island. Saranta Kolones, Kato Paphos, near the harbour is castle was built in the first years of the rule of the Lusignans (beginning of 12th century) maybe on the site of a previous Byzantine Castle. It was destroyed in the earthquake of 1222.

CYPRUS IN THE WORLD CULTURAL HERITAGE LIST
The legacy from its remarkable history adds up to nothing less than an open museum, so much so that UNESCO simply added the whole town to its World Cultural Heritage List. Among the treasures unearthed, are the remarkable mosaics in the Houses of Dionysos, Theseus and Aion, beautifully preserved after 16 centuries under the soil. Then there are the mysterious vaults and caves, the Tombs of the Kings, the Pillar to which Saint Paul was allegedly tied and whipped, the ancient Odeon Theatre and other places of interest including the Byzantine Museum and the District Archaeological Museum, with its attractive collection of Cypriot antiquities from the Pafos area, dating from the Neolithic Age to 1700 AD. Near Odeon, there are the remains of the ancient city walls, the Roman Agora and a building dedicated to Asklipeios, god of medicine. 

The mosaic floors of these noblemen's villas dating from the 3rd to the 5th century AD are considered among the finest in the Eastern Mediterranean. They mainly depict scenes from Greek mythology. 

The city contains many catacomb sites dating back to the early Christian period. The most famous is Saint Solomoni Church, originally a Christian catacomb retaining some of the l2th century frescoes. A sacred tree at the entrance is believed to cure the ailments of those who hang a personal offering on its branches.

PETRA TOU ROMIOU
A few miles outside the city, the rock of Aphrodite (Petra tou Romiou) emerges from the sea. According to legend, Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, rose from the waves in this strikingly beautiful spot. The Greek name, Petra tou Romiou (The Rock of the Greek), is associated with the legendary frontier-guard of Byzantine times, Digenis Acritas, who kept the marauding Saracens at bay. It is said in one such fight he heaved a large rock (Petra), at his enemy. 

Near Petra tou Romiou, there is Palaepaphos, Old Paphos, one of the most celebrated places of pilgrimage of the ancient Greek world, and once an ancient city kingdom of Cyprus. Here are the ruins of the famous Temple of Aphrodite, the most ancient remains, go back to the 12th century BC. The temple was one of the most important places of cult and pilgrimage of the ancient world, till the 3rd-4th century A.D. The Museum, housed in the Lusignan Manor, is small but impressive with many finds from the area.

AGIA PARASKEVI CHURCH IN YEROSKIPOU
Geroskipou with its remarkable five-domed Byzantine church of Agia Paraskevi, and its Folk Art Museum is a town in Paphos metropolitan area known for many years now for its special delight `loukoumi'. 

Agios Neophytos Monastery, famous for its `Encleistra', Enclosure, carved out of the mountain by the hermit himself, boasts some of the finest Byzantine frescoes of the l2th and l5th centuries.

PAPHOS SPORTS
The most successful team of Paphos, is the volleyball club of the town, Pafiakos, which has been Champion of Cyprus three times (last in 2006).Dionysos, a volleyball team from Stroumbi, a village of Paphos, plays in First Division as well. Both teams use the indoor Aphrodite Stadium. The football club in Paphos is AEP Paphos, a team founded in 2000, was traditionally in Cypriot First Division, however this year plays in Second Division. The team plays in the football stadium of the town, Pafiako.

PAPHOS HISTORY
Paphos has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. It was founded by King Kinyras in 1400 BC. It was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Aphrodite's legendary birthplace was on this island, where her temple was erected by the Mycenaean's in the 12th century BC. The remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs mean that the site is of exceptional architectural and historic value. The mosaics of Nea Paphos are among the most beautiful in the world. 

The port of Paphos was built by Nicocles, the last king of Paphos, at the time of Alexander the Great. It became the capital of the island replacing Salamis during the Hellenistic, under the successors of Alexander the Great - the Ptolemies and in those days its harbour was a busy, thriving port. Period as its masters, the Ptolemies, favoured a location closer to their capital, Alexandria. It continued as the island's first city for more than seven centuries, retaining its importance under Roman rule here that Apostle Paul converted the Roman Governor of the time, Sergius Paulus, to Christianity. The Romans retained Pafos as the seat of the Roman Governor. But Paphos history dates back a great deal further. In fact the whole area abounds in historical and archaeological treasure. Despite its vulnerability to foreign incursions and raids, the city survived through the centuries, retaining an indefinable, legendary charm through the ages. It even survived the devastating earthquake in the 4th century AD. Paphos, however, was gradually losing much of its attraction as an administrative centre, especially after the Nicosia. The city and its port continued to decline throughout the Middle Ages and Ottoman Rule, as Nicosia, and the port cities of Larnaka and Famagusta were gaining in importance. The city and district continued to lose population throughout the British colonial period and many of its inhabitants moved to Limassol, Nicosia and overseas. The city and district of Paphos had remained the most underdeveloped part of the island until 1974. The Turkish invasion and occupation of the major tourist resorts of Kyrenia and Famagusta led to major investments by the government and the private sector in the district of Paphos. There was rapid economic activity in all fields but especially tourism and the district's population stopped shrinking and indeed showed some signs of increasing. The government invested heavily in irrigation dams and water distribution works, road infrastructure and the building of Paphos International Airport - the second international airport in Cyprus - while private initiative concentrated in hotel, apartment and villa construction and the entertainment infrastructure.