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Cyprus has traded in wine from as early as 2300BC and throughout the years Sherry became the preferred tipple of the British with Cyprus in the 1960’s supplying the UK with over 13.6 million litres of Cyprus wines. Today there are more than 25 registered wineries spread over the island from Paphos, up to the Troodos and beyond. Local varieties of grape are Xynisteri and Mavro and these flourish alongside global varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Not forgetting the 20.000 bottles produced annually of our exceedingly fortified ‘white Lightening’ liquid called Zivonia. The wineries are all situated in attractive rural areas and offer visitors a great day out with free sampling always on offer. Our Guest Relations Department is always particularly ‘happy’ to help plan a wine tasting route.
The art of the potter has long been appreciated in Cyprus with several well known creators of both artistic and utilitarian pieces having made a reputation for themselves in Europe. The village of Lemba offers visitors the very best example of perfect pottery designs and glazes with many pieces created by George and his wife Soteroula that can fit easily into a suitcase, you will then be taking home a piece that has been entirely hand crafted and signed by a master potter. Here you can also try your hand at throwing clay onto the potter’s wheel and have a go at modeling the clay into a bowl (or maybe just a saucer!) then move on to see how the glazing and firing procedures are carried out. Time also to browse the many beautiful examples for sale in the Lemba Pottery shop. To learn more about ‘going to Pot’ please contact our Guest Relations Department.
Loukoumia is a delicately flavoured sweet prepared from starch and sugar, served in cubes and covered with a generous dusting of icing sugar. Originally this delicacy was only flavoured with rose water but today you can also discover a whole new range of deliciously different and delectable flavours. From orange, mandarin, mint, lemon, cinnamon and vanilla, also included are chopped dates, pistachios, hazelnuts or walnuts. The epi-centre of Loukoumia is in the village of Geroskipou, located east of Paphos and this family run business has recently received approval for their product to be deemed one that can bear the title of Geographic Indication (PGI) under EU regulations. For a sweet scented visit to the factory our equally sweet Guest relations department will once again be able to give more details.
Fyti Village and Museum
There was a time when from every household there could be heard the ‘clacking’ of the weavers loom, few now keep up the craft but in the quiet village of Fyti the sound of the loom can still be heard and its here some of the designs known as “Fythkiotika” can be admired, with designs having been handed down from medieval times. These bright richly coloured hand crafted fabrics make perfect gifts, and will act as a lovely memory of a holiday spent in Cyprus where art and crafts still flourish. Examples of these textiles are exhibited in the Fyti museum.
Paphos District Archaeological Museum
Any European capital would be delighted to have ownership over the many treasures that fill this small but perfectly formed home to a collection of unearthed treasures dating back to the Neolithic Age. Pottery, wall friezes, stunning statues, glassware and even a set of ancient surgical instrument are displayed over five rooms and such is the volume of exhibits unearthed over the years that the museum has an ‘overflow’ collection in the garden areas. Well worth a visit to appreciate the beauty and skills of the ancients. The museum is part of the Aphrodite Cultural Route. Opening hours: Monday: 08:00 - 14:30, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 08:00 - 15:00, Wednesday: 08:00 - 17:00, Saturday: 09:00 - 15:00, Sunday: closed. Operating period: all year round. Entrance fee: € 1.70
Walk the old town of Paphos
A leisurely stroll through a “classical” part of town with a visit to the Byzantine Museum, Ethnographical Museum, and the Paphos Archaeological Museum with its collection of glorious finds from the Paphos area. Into the traditional pedestrian quarter or “LaikiGonia” where shops sell local souvenirs and on to the Municipal fruit and vegetable market. Organiser: Cyprus Tourism Organisation. For further information, please contact our Guest Relations Department.
The star of the Byzantine Museum of Paphos is the 8th century Icon of Agia Marina, one of the oldest to be found in Cyprus. The museum’s remarkable collection also includes a superb collection of woodcarvings, frescoes and illuminated books, also intricately crafted religious vessels and richly decorated ecclesiastical garments displaying stunning examples of complex stitchcraft. Here we have preserved, the rich history of religion in Cyprus and of the artists and craftsmen and women who dedicated themselves to creating artworks to the glory of God. The museum was created in order to preserve, promote and study the treasures trove of Byzantine art discovered throughout the parishes of the Paphos diocese and allows visitors to then gain some insight into the Byzantine heritage of the Paphos area. Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 09:00 - 15:00, Saturday: 09:00 - 13:00. Operating period: all year round. Entrance fee: € 2.
Although the name sounds rather formal and stuffy, this family run museum is not at all stuffy, it’s not just a collection of objects it’s really about the culture that produced them, and the human stories attached to them, for this is a living place. It’s also home to the family who run the museum, it’s their passion and is shown in the veritable treasure trove of visual and tactile delights to be found here. Entire rooms are in situ as living examples of different periods of Cyprus history, a kitchen, a bedroom, a store room for hundreds of old tools even a barbers shop. Handmade jewellery, embroidery, weaving, carved dowry chests, and a massive coin collection all contribute to this marvelous and slightly eclectic living portfolio of treasures. Operating hours: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 - 17:30, Sunday: 10:00 - 13:00. Operating period: all year round. Entrance fee: € 3.
Paphos Mosaics, Ancient Odeon
In 1962 a local farmer was ploughing his field when he came across what has been described as one of the finest examples of ‘floor art’ in the Eastern Mediterranean. The farmer had unearthed what were to then become the stunning Paphos mosaics, consisting of examples of mosaics from five houses owned by rich Roman noblemen and dating from the 3rd to the 5th centuries A.D. Depicting mainly scenes from Greek mythology the mosaics at the House of Dionysos depict the god of wine, while the House of Thyseus is named after a mosaic showing the ancient Greek hero brandishing a club against the Minotaur. Many other superb panels can be seen from the House of Aion, the House of Orpheus and the House of the Four Seasons.
Tombs of the Kings
Situated close to the sea in the northwestern necropolis of Paphos, these ‘tombs’ were the last resting place of members of Paphian aristocracy who had sufficient funds to construct these impressive burial tombs during the 4th century BC. Painstakingly carved out of solid rock and supported by an array of Doric pillars these deep and somewhat eerie tombs were given the ‘Royal’ title purely because the stonemasons and those who commissioned them wished to have a ‘King’ like construction for their remains.
Paphos Medieval Castle/Fort
Originally a Byzantine fort built by the Lusignans in the 13th century to protect Paphos harbour from seaborne invaders, during its long history it has also been used as a prison, and as a storage area for salt. Now a National monument the castle enjoys its current role, acting as a unique backdrop for the annual Aphrodite Opera season, its solid stone walls have also absorbed the beat of drums and electric guitars as pop concerts take place right in front of the castle during the summer months, along with displays of local folk dancing, food and wine festivals and even an annual dog show.
Birthplace of Aphrodite – Petra tou Romiou
Aphrodite was a truly unique woman in that she had neither a mother or a father but was born after a murder and the victim’s body was thrown into the sea, then from the foam arose a beautiful naked maiden and when she stepped ashore flowers bloomed and the sandy beach around her birthplace of Petra tou Romiou was said to have turned to green. The massive rock set just off the shoreline is said to have been the place where she first appeared, and the myth is portrayed in the famous painting Birth of Venus by Botticelli. Aphrodite Goddess of love and beauty pleasure and fertility was what one might describe as today as a lady of somewhat easy virtue, and her life and many lovers coupled with her popular cult has her name permanently associated with being a promoter of one of life’s more ‘lusty’ pleasures.
Situated past the fishing harbour of Latchi towards the tip of the Akamas peninsula is Aphrodite’s personal bathing pool, now this natural spring fed pool is at the end of a short nature trail. Here one can only imagine the interesting pool parties which must have taken place as here Aphrodite would meet up with her lover Adonis. Myth has it that the moment he drank from the water in the pool he fell madly in love with the Goddess. Sadly no guarantees can be made today for such positive reactions to H2O so, best stick to our tried and tested bottled water!
Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palaepaphos
This area was recognised by ancient Greeks as one of the main centres of pilgrimage in their world, here stood the famous (and often infamous) sanctuary of Aphrodite which dates back to the 12th century B.C. The museum on site is part of a classic Lusignan Manor and visitors will find some fascinating exhibits reflecting the life and cult of Aphrodite that have been excavated from the original site. Address: Kouklia, Paphos. Operating hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 08:00 - 16:00, Wednesday: 08:00 - 17:00. Operating period: all year round. Entrance fee: € 3.40.
Ayios Neophytos Monastery
A turnoff on the Polis road exiting from Paphos takes you on a short by truly panoramic view of the town entering this monastery set high on the hill with one of the most perfect sea views in the area. Founded in 1200 by the Cypriot hermit and writer Neophytos his exclusion from society and his dedication to God had him create his own personalized cave dwelling hewn out of the rock face. Here you climb stairs to visit the hermit’s home and marvel at the superb examples of Byzantine frescoes dating from the 12th to 15th century. Close by is the more modern church and monastery, inside there is a fascinating collection 16th century frescoes and icons also the mortal remains of a Saint.
The Monastery of Chrysoroyiatissa is situated 40km north east of Paphos and sits limpet-like to the side of a hill just outside the village of Panayia ( where Archbishop Makarios was born) The monastery was dedicated in 1152 to ‘Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate’ by the monk Ignatios who found a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. The monastery has an icon restoration studio also a museum of religious artifacts and the church itself is quite beautiful boasting a single aisle with marvellous rocco chandeliers, and a very fine collection of frescoes which hang above the three entrances. The monastery was one of the first to go into the commercial making of wine and the current Abbott has been responsible for introducing chardonnay grapes into Cyprus, there is also a shop on site where you can buy wine and religious souvenirs.
Agia Kyriaki Church, Panagia Chrysopolitissa and St. Paul’s Pillar
Built in the 13th century and around 100 years after its construction and following the Turkish invasion of 1570, it became the Byzantine Cathedral of Kato (Lower) Paphos. Originally constructed with seven aisles it was later reduced to five aisles and beneath your feet there used to be a veritable carpet of beautiful mosaics some of which are still visible after the conservationists took on the job of trying to recover them. In the first century AD, the apostle Paul of Tarsus and Barnabas along with evangelist John Mark visited the town. Although their mission to convert the people to Christianity was a success in that the then Roman Governor of Paphos Sergius Paulus duly accepted this new faith, the apostles weren’t always welcomed and legend has it that St Paul was tied to a pillar outside the church where he suffered 39 brutal lashings. The pillar still stands in the same place today and many Christians from all over the world come to pay homage to the saint and all that he and his fellow apostles underwent in their promotion of Christianity.
Agia Paraskevi Byzantine Church Geroskipou
Claimed as one of the finest examples of a 10th century church its structure fairly ripples with architectural marvels. These include a nave and two aisles, the walls of which are dotted with delightful frescoes dating back to the 15th century. But the main source of admiration has to be the five domes that rise like a clutch of large village ovens from the roof of the building. This has to one of the most remarkable and attractive Byzantine Churches on the island.