Cyprus, the birthplace of Aphrodite!
While in Frixos Hotel, you can make the most of your time in Cyprus and explore various sights all around the island. Here are some of the must-see places, as suggested through the Cyprus Tourism Organization official website.
Petra tou Romiou - Rock of Aphrodite , Pafos
Certainly a legendary landscape, this interesting geological formation of huge rocks off the southwest coast in the Pafos (Paphos) district forms one of the most impressive natural sites of Cyprus associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
According to legend, this strikingly beautiful spot is where Aphrodite rose from the waves and the foaming sea and was then escorted on a shell at the rocks known as ‘Rock ofAphrodite’ or ‘Petra tou Romiou’ in Greek. The Greek name, Petra tou Romiou, “the Rock of the Greek”, is associated with the legendary Byzantine hero, Digenis Akritas, who kept the marauding Saracens at bay with his amazing strength. It is said that he heaved a huge rock into the sea, destroying the enemy's ships.
It is said that in certain weather conditions, the waves rise, break and form a column of water that dissolves into a pillar of foam. With imagination, this looks for just a moment like an ephemeral, evanescent human shape. The site is on the Aphrodite Cultural Route.
The Tombs of The Kings, Pafos
A Unesco world heritage list monument, the Tombs of the Kings are situated close to the sea in the north western necropolis of Pafos (Paphos). They owe their name to their size and splendour – some probably belonged to the Pafian aristocracy, and not because royalty was buried there. They are rock cut and date to the Hellenistic and early Roman periods. Some of them imitate the houses of the living, with the rooms (here the burial chambers) opening onto a peristyle atrium. They are similar to tombs found in Alexandria, demonstrating the close relations between the two cities during the Hellenistic period.
Akamas Peninsula, Pafos
The natural beauty of Akamas Peninsula is definitely worth a visit. The Akamas Peninsula, the northwestern tip of the island, is an area of natural wilderness where pine-clad cliffs plunge down into turquoise waters. With its rugged coastline, alternating between rocky shores, promontories and sandy bays, it is an area of breathtaking beauty exuding an aura of ancient peacefulness.
Here a network of trails, such as those of “Aphrodite” or “Adonis”, provides spectacular views across the Mediterranean. Nature trails go from near sea level past carob, mastic and eucalyptus climbing up to juniper and pine. Along the way you can see rare endemic plants, like the Cyprus orchid, tulip and crocus.
In the spring or autumn hundreds of migrating birds pass by overhead, as the island is on the migration path between Europe, Asia and Africa. Interesting geological formations are present here, from narrow deep valleys, caves and islets to gorges, such as that of Avakas. The area boasts the largest concentration of rare endemic plants on the island, including the Cyprus tulip, while the sandy beaches on the western coast of the Akamas are important breeding grounds for the green and loggerhead turtles.
Baths of Aphrodite, Pafos:
This beauty spot is situated past the fishing harbor of Latsi towards the tip of the Akamas peninsula. A natural pool grotto surrounded in greenery, the site lies at the end of a small nature trail. As its name suggests, the grotto is said to be where the Goddess of Love used to bathe. Myth also has it that this is where Aphrodite met her lover, the handsome Adonis, when he stopped off for a drink while hunting. The moment he drank the water, Adonis fell in love with the goddess.
Theatre of Kourion, Limassol
Probably the most impressive archaeological site on the island, Kourion Theatre is located on the southern end of the abrupt hill on which the city is built. It was constructed at the end of the 2nd century B.C., but took its current dimensions during the 2nd century A.D. The theatre consists of a semi - circular orchestra that is surrounded by seats of the cavea (subterranean cells). It was enclosed to the south by the building of the scena frons (façade) that must have reached the height of the cavea, though today only the foundations remain. On either side of the scene were two vaulted parodoi (corridors) from where the audience entered the theatre. Kourion Theatre could seat up to 3.500 spectators.
During later reconstruction, it was modified so as to accommodate animal hunts. Many cultural activities and theatrical performances take place at Kourion Theatre, especially during the summer.
The Medieval walls of Lefkosia, Nicosia
The first walls surrounding Lefkosia (Nicosia) in the 14th century were built by the Franks and enclosed a much larger area than the 16th Venetian Walls that still surround the old town. When the Venetians occupied Cyprus, they decided to demolish the Frankish Walls because they were old and did not offer adequate defence against new weapons such as artillery. The Frankish Walls were also too big to be manned by the Venetian army and too close to the hills in the east and southeast of the city.
Forming a circle, the walls built by the Venetians were fortified by eleven heart - shaped bastions and protected by an 80 metres wide moat. They were built of mud - brick, with the lower part only buttressed by stone. When the Ottomans occupied Lefkosia (Nicosia), they repaired the walls and covered the upper part with stones. The moat around the walls now has many different uses, serving as sports fields, public gardens, an open - air sculpture exhibition, car parks etc.
Lefkosia Old city, Nisosia
Located within the Medieval walls of Nicosia the Nicosia old city is full of life and offers something for every taste. Pavement streets for strolls, coffee shops, restaurants, bars and shops, all blended perfectly with the old city character. The visitors can take a walking tour within the Walls. Organised every Thursday at 10:00, the walking tour aims to give an overall picture of the city within the walls and how it has evolved through the centuries. Special emphasis is paid to the town’s architecture from the medieval years to the present and to some of its churches. Visitors also have the chance to visit workshops and shops where craftsmen such as candle makers, blacksmiths, chair-makers, cobblers, coppersmiths and tailors remain true to their traditional crafts.
Cape Gkreko National Forest Park, Ayia Napa
The rocky promontory on the south-eastern coast of Cyprus, east of Agia Napa and south east of Protaras, is an area of unspoiled natural beauty that has been declared a National Forest Park and conservation area and covers an area of 385 hectares.
Hike along the network of nature trails lined with miniature pine trees and juniper stopping to admire spectacular views from sea cliffs overlooking turquoise seas. Benches along the way provide the opportunity to rest and gaze down into crystal clear waters. One of these trails forms part of the European Long Distance Trail E4, running from Gibraltar to Cyprus. The 2 kilometres Aphrodite nature trail which goes along the north east coast of the Cape GKreco promontory is part of the Aphrodite Cultural Route and commemorates the link with the goddess. Do not miss the small white washed church of Agii Anargyri with steps down to the sea where the Holy Water exists, or take one of the trails leading to theso-called Cyclops’ cave stopping at the nearby picnic site for a pleasant rest.
Specialist cycling paths also exist in the area both for lovers of this sport and as a means to explore. The island has perfect weather for cycling, especially in the winter months, what with low annual rainfall and few of the headwinds that are a bane to cyclists.
Take a boat trip along the coast anchoring near these a caves that nature has carved out of the ten-metre limestone cliffs and adorned in such a way as to merit the name the Palaces.
The Cape Gkreco area is popular with divers, thanks to warm seatemperatures ranging from 16ºC in winter to 28ºC in summer and with avisibility reaching 30 to 40 metres. The fauna of the waters of Cape Gkreco hide many interesting sea creatures.
Konnos - Agioi Anargyroi (Linear) Nature Trail, Ayia Napa
This coastal route has rich vegetation and offers excellent views. It ends at Agioi Anargyroi chapel, built over a sea cave that was once occupied by hermits. The route links up with the Konnos - Spilia tou Kyklopa (Cyclops’ Cave), Agioi Anargyroi - Sea Caves and Profitis Elias-Konnos trails.
Cyprus: Discover, Enjoy, Experience, Love! For more information visit: www.visitcyprus.com