Geroskipou Shrine Caves Walking Tour

This is a walking tour of the Shrine Caves in Geroskipou. 


A Bit Of History:
Ritual prostitution seems to have been a significant part of the cult of Aphrodite at Palea Paphos. It was said that every young maiden went once in her lifetime to the sanctuary to make love with a stranger. The man chose his maiden, and threw some money at her feet (the sum was unimportant) and pronounced the formula, "I invoke the goddess upon you." Beautiful maidens were able to fulfill their duty quickly, while the ugly had to wait sometimes as long as four years to get it over with.

The memory of these rituals remained strong long after the destruction of the shrine. In the mid-14th century, the German priest Ludolf of Suchen described the ancient pagan pilgrimages.

During spring festivals for Aphrodite and Adonis, separate processions of garlanded men and women walked along the Sacred Way from Nea Paphos to the shrine of Aphrodite at Palea Paphos, where there were games and contests of music and poetry. This tradition survives (except for the prostitution) in the modern spring flower festival, Anthistiria, which is especially popular in Ktima Pafos.

The Sanctuary of Aphrodite continued to flourish in the Roman era. Several Roman emperors honored the shrine, and it was visited by Titus in 69 AD when the future emperor was on his way to Egypt. He consulted the oracle of Aphrodite, and was told that he had a great future. The sanctuary was rebuilt by the Romans after the earthquake of 76/77 AD, in a design that preserved the oriental layout of the original.

The cult of Aphrodite survived at Palea Paphos until the 4th century AD, when Emperor Theodosius outlawed paganism. It is not known when the cult of Aphrodite was suppressed or if the local population resisted the edict.


Apparently it all happened here.

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