A gem of the Cypriot cultural heritage, the ancient town of Nea Pafos in Pafos arouses awe and admiration.
The Pafos Archaeological Park, or else “Nea Pafos”, is situated near the small harbour of Kato Pafos. The ancient city of Nea Pafos was founded in the 4th century B.C. by the king of Pafos, Nikokles, who transferred the city of Palaipafos (today, Kouklia village) a bit further north. When Ptolemies declared Nea Pafos the capital city of Cyprus in the 2nd century, B.C., it turned into a centre of political and economic affairs in the island.
Additionally, when Cyprus was conquered by the Roman Empire, the city had the unique privilege of minting coins. In the 4th century A.C., the capital was transferred to Constantia or Salamis (today, Ammochostos city), but even then, Nea Pafos dominated the other cities of Cyprus mainly thanks to the Temple of Aphrodite. Nevertheless, three centuries later, the decline finally took place because of the Arab raids that force the inhabitants to abandon the area and move further inland, where the present town of Pafos (Ktima) developed.
Nea Pafos and its Archaeological Park have been inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO since 1980. The most important monuments at the site are the house of Dionysus, the house of Orpheus, the villa of Theseus, the house of Aion, the Roman Agora, the Odeon, the Asklepieion, and the castle of Saranta Kolones. At the house of Dionysus and Orpheus, the villa of Theseus and the house of Aion, you will see the spectacular mosaic floors.
Other important monuments are the Theatre and the Basilica of Chrysopolitissa which are situated outside the Archaeological Park.
Finally, within the archaeological site, near the harbour and the castle of Pafos, there’s an old lighthouse, the first ever built in Cyprus. It was built in 1888 by the British colonialists who constructed the rest of the lighthouses in the last quarter of the 19th century using materials from the Cypriot land.
It’s easy to conclude that the town of Nea Pafos was the outcome of a great craftsmanship. Its surviving monuments are a pole of attraction for both local and foreign travellers, and undoubtedly, it is a living example of the long history of the city of Pafos, and of the age-old Cypriot culture.