Near the modern Paphos lighthouse there is s a complex of ancient buildings, including a Roman Odeon, built in the 2nd century AD, which has been restored and is now used for summer orchestral, stage and ballet performances. The Odeon was the focus of the ancient city centre, of which some ruins still remain in the area. Close to the Odeon are the remnants of the Roman Temple of Asclepius, the God of Medicine, and south of the lighthouse are the ruins of the ancient town walls. The medieval castle, which overlooks Paphos harbour and is the romantic setting for numerous summer festivals.
The striking mosaic floors in a series of ancient Roman noblemen’s villas, dating from the third to fifth century AD, are a must-see for visitors to Paphos. The site where the villas are, is still being excavated and can be found about 300 metres from the Paphos harbour. The mosaics featuring mythological scenes are visible in the houses of Dionysus, Orpheus and Aion, and the Villa of Theseus. All were made of small cubes of marble and stone, called tesserae, with glass paste added to widen the range of colour. In the House of Dionysus, for example, 5,985 square feet (556 sq metres) of floor space in 14 rooms are covered with the gorgeous mosaics.
Paphos Castle is located on the edge of Paphos harbour.
It was originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbour. It was then rebuilt by the Lusignans in the thirteenth century after being destroyed in the earthquake of 1222.
In 1570 it was dismantled by the Venetians. After capturing the island, the Ottomans restored and strengthened it.
Throughout the ages it has seen many uses. It has served as a fortress, a prison and even a warehouse for salt during the British occupation of the island. More recently the castle serves as a backdrop to the annual open air Paphos cultural festival which takes place in September.
It was declared a listed building in 1935 and represents one of the most distinctive landmarks of the city of Paphos. Several archaeological excavations have taken place to investigate its past.
Kouklia village, 14 km east of Paphos.
Palaepaphos, Old Paphos, was one of the most celebrated places of pilgrimage of the ancient Greek world, and once an ancient city kingdom of Cyprus. The ruins of the famous Temple of Aphrodite, the most ancient remains, go back to the 12th century B.C. 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.
There are actually no kings buried here. Rather the site known as the Tombs of the Kings, one mile (2km) northwest of Paphos harbour towards Coral Bay, was the final resting place of about 100 Ptolemaic aristocrats who lived and died in the city between 3 BC and 3 AD. The tombs are impressive, carved out of solid rock, some featuring Doric pillars and frescoed walls. Archaeological excavations are still ongoing at the site, which also features a church known as Paleoekklisia, which sports traces of Byzantine frescoes.