I did not know a lot about the small island of Cyprus before I travelled out there for a long weekend. Everything I knew came from Shakespeare and Homer. I knew that many wars had fought on it because of its strategic position, and that it was one of the islands that Odysseus stopped at during his long voyage. Recently, there had been talks about Russian oligarchs losing their yachts that were parked on its shore, but beyond that I couldn’t tell much else about it.
I did discover that it is place of rich history and of great beauty. Just because of its location, I knew that I would be running into Greek and Roman ruins, and on my first day there, I was not disappointed. There are actually a lot of places to find ruins on the island, but the one that is closest to the waterfront of Paphos is the Kato Paphos Archeological Park. It sprawls all over a peninsula to the north and cost only 2.50 Euros for entry. I would recommend to go early because there is a lot to see and it closes down by 5 PM.
It is obviously still being dug up, so I am excited to go back in five or six years to see if anything has changed during that time, but in the meantime, there are a lot of hidden corners to explore that will keep anybody busy for a good portion of their day. There is also enough of variety among what to see so that it does not get boring. There are columns, caves, old buildings, and my favorite thing to see, the mosaics.
There is a really nice one in the House of Theseus which is out and exposed to the weather, and it really surprised me that they did not protect it better. I tried to get a good picture of it, but I had found it so late in the day that it was shrouded in shadows. Despite this, it was by far the most intricate of the mosaics and the best one to look at. I will leave it up to you to find it some day, and it will be worth the trip.
The House of Dionysus held the biggest collections of the mosaics, and most of them were surprisingly well preserved for how long they have been around. They depicted many of the greatest scenes from Greek mythology, and they had done a much better job of protecting them from the elements. Though all of the places that are presented in this historic sight, it was the House of Dionysus that impressed me the most. If you come here, and you don’t have a lot of time, I would make it for this spot because you will get the most out of the little time you have by coming here.
It was a nice introduction as to what the island of Cyprus had to offer, and it made me realize that there were many more surprises that I would find on my short weekend trip there.