Paphos Archaeological Park
We first blogged about the Archaeological Park a couple of years ago. It was a short blog, and focused mainly on the pretty spring flowers. Now we are returning, to give the rest of the park the attention it so richly deserves.
Welcome to the Park!
Ok, so first things first. It costs €4.50 to get in, and the park is open all year round.
April 16th - September 15th 08:30 - 19:30
September 16th - April 15th 08:30 - 17:00
It is closed on Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Orthodox Easter Sunday.
Parking is plentiful, and free. As to when you should visit, during the cooler months, any time will do. In the summer, we recommend avoiding the middle of the day, as it can get very hot walking around the grounds in the hot sun. So stick to the early morning or late afternoon.
Once you have entered the park, the first building you come to is the information centre. They occasionally have specialised exhibitions here as well. We saw one on the local wildlife. If you fancy getting a guide book, you may want to wait until you are leaving, to save lugging it around. You do get given a map when you buy your ticket, but other than that you will have to rely on signs to find your way about. There are plans afoot to provide an electronic guide to accompany your visit, but that hasn't appeared yet.
Map Of The Park
This is our map of the park, showing the major routes. Most people seem to head to the Outdoor Mosaics first, followed by the Indoor Mosaics. A few make it up to the Odeon, and a few more to Saranta Colones; the Forty Column Fortress.
But there is more to see than that!
Toumpallos is a must, and there are a number of hidden tombs and settlements scattered around the park, waiting to be visited. So we have added two suggested routes to the map. The essential route is just that, if you want to see the park properly. The complete route includes the city wall and underground tombs at the far end. It is a bit longer but if you are up for it it is well worth it.
Also notice where the toilets are. By the time you get to the Odeon they can be a life-saver!
Finally, outside the main mosaics is a little building with some vending machines. They sell drinks, crisps and snacks and we are happy to report that they are reasonably priced. You can stock up on water there if you have run out, or rejuvenating crisp packets, and you won't feel like you have been mugged.
In this blog we will be following the complete route, starting at the outdoor mosaics. We won't be going into too much detail as we go around, as this is a summary. However, there will be a series of blogs following this one, which look at each of the areas in detail.
The Houses of Aion and Theseus
On to the archaeology. The outdoor mosaics consist of the Houses of Theseus and Aion. We shall go to Aion first. The mosaics of a portion of the house are contained within that building on the right.
Oh, and another thing to point out - we visited just after it had rained, so there are a lot of puddles about. If you get a chance, go after a decent rain shower. The mosaics that are unprotected will have been given a decent wash and look at their best then. It will however be muddy in places, so wear sensible footwear. Obviously, if you are reading this in the middle of Summer, this won't be an option, but bear this in mind in the Spring, Autumn or Winter months.
Inside The House Of Aion
The House of Aion (3rd – 5th cent AD)
Only a small part of the building has been excavated by the Polish Archaeological Mission of the University of Warsaw. The uncovered rooms include the reception hall of the building, decorated with exceptional geometric and figural mosaic floors.
The central panel of the main room is divided into five smaller panels, each depicting a different mythological scene, such as Leda and the Swan, the Epiphany of Dionysos, the beauty contest between Cassiopeia and the Nereids, the punishment of Marsyas. In the centre of the composition is the depiction of the god Aion, the personification of time, whose name was given to the house.
The mural frescoes of the house depicted Apollo and the Muses. Some parts of these have been restored and are currently exhibited in the Pafos Museum.
This mosaic is divided into five sections, and tells various stories from Roman folklore. That's Baby Dionysos in the top right corner.