Cyprus: Pafos and Aphrodite
Hello everybody, today we have visited many important places. First the place of birth of Aphrodite or in Latin – Venus. We are now visiting the southwestern part of Cyprus:
Her place of birth was where the three rocks are:
Petra tou Romiou, a rock off the shore along the main road from Paphos to Limassol, has been regarded since ancient times as the birthplace of Aphrodite, goddes of love and fertility.
According to ancient tradition, Aphrodite was born from the waves on the site off the coast of Cyprus. In his Theogony (178-206), Hesiod provides the following dramatic account of the event: Aphrodite was then escorted ashore on a shell by the soft breezes of the Zephyrs at the rocks known as Petra tou Romiou.
This myth is, of course, most memorably depicted in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (on display in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence). A much older rendering of the event can be seen in a fine mural at Pompeii.
Petra tou Romiou means “the Rock of the Greek” and does not refer to Aphrodite but to another myth, that of the Byzantine hero Dighenis who threw the rocks at pirates to protect his lady. 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.
On our way to Pafos, in a small town of Yeroskipou, we saw this beautiful church with five domes from the 11th century:
This church stands in the place of the ancient basilica. Beside the basilica there are ruins of a church built by the Crusaders and the famous Pillar of St Paul:
Pillar of St Paul. Saint Paul visited Pafos in 45 AD in an attempt to convert the ruler of the time to Christianity. He was successful in his efforts, but not before being tied and whipped to this otherwise unremarkable lump of stone.
The Pillar of Saint Paul is one of several popular stops for pilgrims who come to see the religious sites of this early bastion of the Christian faith. He received 40 lashes for evangelising on the island.
Pafos was a very important city in the ancient time and for long time capital of Cyprus. Today it is a popular tourist destination with a huge area of archaeological excavations.
Kato Pafos Archaeological Park includes sites and monuments from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, while most remains date to the Roman period. The marvellous mosaic floors of four Roman villas form the impressive epicentre of the finds.
Lonely Planet Travel Guide, Cyprus, 2015