As the home of one of the most important ancient civilisations in the Mediterranean, Paphos doesn’t fall short when it comes to compelling culture that’ll rival the best of them. Dive in to a whirlpool of ancient architecture dug straight from Aphrodite’s island itself and wander through streets laced with decades of monumental history. Here’s five of the best museums in Paphos.
Housing more than 25,000 exhibitions of rare artefacts, the Byzantine Museum was founded in 1914 and is one of the best museums to see when visiting Paphos. Dating from the third century to the late Middle Ages, the collections here include pictures, pottery, fabrics, frescoes, scriptures and manuscripts. Located within the precincts of the city Bishopric, the museum is also home to an impressive display of sixth century metallic objects such as candlesticks, lamps, chalices and bishops staffs as well as an array of eleventh and twelfth century frescoes taken from ruined churches across the area. Boasting the oldest icon of Cyprus, Agia Marina, this museum is not to be missed.
Owned by the Eliadi family, this private museum is located in a two-storey 1894 building made of stone, unusual gothic arches and a series of stunning gardens. Formerly known as the Museum of Folk Art until 1971, the collection consists of artefacts from the personal anthology of George Eliadi, an intellect who unearthed art treasures from across the country. Featuring pieces of both the natural and manmade environment, discover natural caves, a terebinth tree, decorative wooden furniture, the tomb of the Hellenistic period carved in a rock, kitchen items and agricultural tools. A wealth of visual history, this is definitely one to add to the list of what to see when visiting Paphos.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980, Katos Archaeological Park includes sites and monuments from prehistoric times, the Middle Ages and the Roman period. Famous for its intricate collection of colourful mosaic floors based on Greek mythology, the park is a rare opportunity to gain insight into the ways of ancient civilisation. Located in the Neo Pafos section of the seaside city, the archaeological remains found here include the Odeion, Saranta Kolones Fortress, the Tomb of Kings, the Asklepieion and Limeniotissa Ruins of an early Christian Basilica. A real sight for sore eyes and one of the main tourist attractions in the city, the park is without doubt one of the best and most unique museums in Paphos.
Sitting in the archaeological area of Kouklia, this museum lies in the east wing of medieval mansion, Louzinian. Spread across two rooms in the house, the museum’s findings are sourced from the lero of Aphrodite and its surrounding area as well as from the necropolis. Head to the first room and notice the mosaic flooring, conical stone to the goddess Aphrodite, a ceramic bathtub dated to the late Bronze Age and a plethora of other artefacts from the lero dated from the Bronze until the Roman Ages. In the second room, coming from the necropolis, find ceramic tools, metal instruments, jewellery, glazed pottery and Venetian canons, all dating from the second century BC until the Roman Ages.
Founded in 1978, the ethnographic museum is housed in a traditional 18th century building known as ‘the House of Hadjismith’ and exhibits a large, diverse collection of artefacts from all over Cyprus. Representing aspects of daily life for ancient Cypriots, the displays include pieces of difference expressions of native folk art during the 19th and 20th centuries such as pottery, rug weaving, scarf making, rope crafting and manufacturing silk, a craft for which the island is famous. Listed as an Ancient Monument, the building itself is a must-see when visiting Paphos and is located in the village that was one believed to be the sacred garden of the goddess of love, Aphrodite.
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Flights to Paphos
- Lucy Norris