Old town of Pafos
Paphos Travel Blog› entry 4 of 20 › view all entries
I start the morning fairly early it is not first light but it is pretty close - ok sunrise is not at six down here. But fortunately I had an earlier start than most other people around the area - hence when I get to the old town there is hardly anybody else down at the site. I get in there to have a look around.
The town is a very old place which were first inhabited somewhere around 4 hundred BC but the town were later moved to the present spot for the old town by the Greek rulers of Egypt the Ptolemies. It was made the capital of Cyprus during the Egyptian rule and when the town in 58 BC was seceded to Rome the town remain the main administrative centre in the new Roman province of Cyprus and it was still on the trade route to and from Egypt. The town flourished in the following period and became really famous for the big mosaic houses built by the rich Romans.
The old city is actually only partly preserved area a large part of it is hidden under the surface of the new town. But there is still most of the old city left - well ok when I say most of the old city is left I actually mean it is included in the archeological area and not that there is a lot of big buildings around the area.
The main attraction of the place is the old mosaics which were build in some big Roman houses in town in its heyday in the 2nd and 3rd century.
The mosaics is clearly the most interesting thing of the place but there is a couple of other small things on the area - there is a old theatre though it has been remodeled sometime in the 70ties and I am sure the people who did it will never win an award for their restoration work. I had to check my guidebook to make sure that this was actually an ancient thing and not just something you had put in twenty years ago to give some sort of informatory information of the site.
There is also a small fort which apparently used to have 40 columns but today there is not much remaining of the fort because it was destroyed by yet another of the many earthquakes which seems to hunt Cyprus - so I can not only get myself killed because of them driving on the left I might die in an earthquake as well - and I just survived the one in Copenhagen a couple of weeks ago.
Ok I got to go out in traffic with all the hazards and it seems traffic has picked up a lot since I got in here.
I just head a bit down the road to a place called the Tombs of Kings. Wauv I get to see some tombs of the kings of Cyprus - this is exiting. I get in and there is no tombs of the kings of Cyprus actually there have never been a king of Cyprus. So what is there instead some pretty big tombs built for the rich upper-class of the city during the time of the Ptolemies who built graves resembling their houses with a rich supply of all the new inhabitant needs to get by in the afterlife.
There are several big tombs just at the beach they are cut into some sandstone which seems to have been at the place - I guess that is why this area where chosen in the first place to be used to burial.
When you go down into the different tombs you will not find any of the big gifts their inhabitants got with them into the grave. They have all been emptied by grave robber - including the former US consul to Larnaca which apparently were one of the most efficient of the grave robbers. Hence what you see today is mainly a big central area in the graves with rooms cut into all the walls - I suppose these spaces were for the big gift they put into the graves as gift. Only one of the tombs have been restored and down in this one there is big columns surrounding the central square area from where you got access to the other rooms of the grave.
You can probably spend some time in this place but after seeing several of the graves I am a bit tombed out and I give up searching for the last couple of graves and head out of the place.