The House of Dionysus
The House of Dionysos is the jewel in the crown of Paphos Archaeological Park - a fine collection of well-preserved mosaics, conveniently located under one roof." When people refer to the mosaics in Paphos, they are usually talking about this place. So let's take a look.
Outside The House
This is the second part of our detailled tour of Paphos Archaeological Park. If you are following along you will have already been to the houses of Aion and Theseus and will have now made your way here. Before entering the house it is worth having a look around outside. The house was built on top of older remains, and you can see some of them here.
Incidentally, if you missed the first part of our tour use the link below.
There are even some geometric-patterned mosaics you can just make out. It gets better inside though.
There is not normally a lake here. However, there had been a lot of rainfall before we went on this particular visit, so we were lucky enough to be able to capture this scene.
Before entering the house you cannot fail to notice all the other rooms that aren't covered up. I wonder how many more mosaics must lurk under there, waiting to be discovered? There is also a sign outside.
The House of Dionysus (2nd – 4th cent. A.D.)
The area has been excavated by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus and was the first house with mosaic floors to be discovered in Pafos. The house consists of a peristyle atrium with a garden pool and about forty rooms on all sides. All the communal rooms and halls around the atrium are paved with mosaic floors. Near the atrium a pebble mosaic representing the monster Scylla was discovered. This is the oldest mosaic floor in Cyprus, belonging to an earlier building located under the House of Dionysus, dated to the early Hellenistic period.
The house was named after the figural scenes inspired by the Dionysus mythological circle, which decorate the reception hall. In the most prominent place, the triumph of Dionysus is represented. Other scenes represent Dionysos and Acme, Ikarios and the shepherds, Poseidon and Amymone, Pyramos and Thisbe and the metamorphosis of Daphne. On the floor of the reception room, a large vintage scene is represented while a series of hunting scenes is represented on the floors on three sides of the atrium. Other rooms of the house are decorated with scenes depicting Hippolytos and Phaedra, Zeus and Ganymedes, Narcissus and the personification of the four seasons. Finally, other rooms are decorated with multicoloured geometrical compositions and other decorative motifs.
When you see italic text like the above in the blog, we have transcribed it from a sign on-site.
Begin at the Beginning
This is the main entrance to the house. There is another plaque here with more information:
House of Dionysos
Luxurious Roman residence with an atrium and an impluvium, a central open court surrounded by a colonnaded portico, and a wealth of mosaic floors. It was built during the end of the 2nd cent A.D. and was destroyed in the first half of the 4th cent. A.D., probably due to earthquakes. The house was constructed on earlier buildings, the earliest of which was a sanctuary carved into the natural bedrock.
The building occupies an area of 2000m2, 556m2 of which are decorated with mosaic floors. The building has been named the “House of Dionysos” as many of the mosaics depict scenes related to the worship of the god Dionysos. All the mosaics are in situ except the mosaic depicting “Scylla”.
The house was excavated between 1962 and 1965 by Dr. Kyriacos Nikolaou, then Curator of the Department of Antiquities.