Cyprus is a wonderful all-round holiday destination thanks to its beautiful coastline, vibrant cities and fascinating historical sites. One of the aspects that I find most fascinating about Cyprus, though, is its ties to Greek mythology.
In fact, the isle is littered with relics and ruins that date from this society, with some of these offering an amazing insight into Ancient Greek beliefs. Here are just a few that I think would be worth visiting during a holiday in Cyprus – if you still need help organising your trip, take a look at Monarch Airlines to find flights.
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess most frequently associated with Cyprus and one spot you shouldn’t miss if you’re keen to learn more about her legend is Aphrodite’s Rock. This is located on the south-west coast of the island close to Paphos and is a sea stack just offshore.
It’s believed that this is where Aphrodite rose from the sea in a spray of waves and was taken to shore on a shell. The locals say that sometimes when the waves break around the rock you can make out an ephemeral human shape in the foam.
The nice thing about visiting this site is that you can also enjoy a day at one of the island’s beautiful beaches while you admire the natural rock formation.
Sanctuary of Aphrodite in Old Paphos
If you choose Paphos as the base for your holiday, you’ll be within easy reach of another site associated with the Greek goddess of love – the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in Old Paphos. This dates back to the 12th century BC and is now in ruins, with excavations continuing on the site.
The best place to visit to get an idea of this area’s importance to the Ancient Greeks is the Paphos District Archaeological Museum, which has exhibits relating to Aphrodite and a host of other interesting finds that have been uncovered in and around the city.
Amathous Archaeological Site
The remains of the ancient city of Amathous are located close to Limassol, and it is thought to have been founded between the 12th and 11th centuries BC. Head to the ruins and you can see what’s left of the Temple of Aphrodite, as well as a host of other buildings from this ancient civilisation.
Two large monolith vessels stood here and were the focus of the sacred site. One of these was taken to the Louvre in the 19th century and has since been replaced by a modern replica.
Again, it’s worth combining your trip to this location with a few hours in a local museum, this time the District Museum of Lemesos, which boasts a wide range of information about Aphrodite and her importance in Cyprus.
Baths of Aphrodite
Our final site relating to Aphrodite is the Baths of Aphrodite, which is accessible from Paphos. They’re located in a really picturesque spot in the stunning Akamas Peninsula – well worth a visit if you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors.
Legend has it that this site is where Aphrodite used to bathe – it’s also believed that this is where Adonis first met the goddess and, after drinking the waters of the pool, fell in love with her. Don’t get any ideas of jumping in for a dip yourself, though, as bathing isn’t allowed here.