Nea Pafos - History and Facts | History Hit

Nea Pafos

Pafos, Cyprus, Cyprus

Nea Pafos is an archaeological site near Paphos Harbour which served as the capital of Cyprus from the fourth century BC.

Peta Stamper

20 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Nea Pafos

Nea Pafos is an archaeological site near Paphos Harbour in Cyprus housing the remains of what was once the capital of the island. Since 1980, Nea Pafos has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nea Pafos history

Founded in the 4th century BC by Nikokles, the last king of nearby Palaipafos, Nea Pafos then went from strength to strength, particularly under the Ptolemaic kingdom from the 3rd century BC. The city was a stopping point for pilgrims travelling to the shrines of Aphrodite in Old Paphos.

After the founding of Nicosia (today Cyprus’ largest city), Nea Paphos lost much of its standing and declined along with its port throughout the Middle Ages into the Ottoman period.

Nea Pafos today

One of the main remnants of the earliest stages of Nea Paphos – albeit with changes made to it over the centuries – is its ancient theatre, probably built around the time that the city was founded. This was in use until the 5th century AD.

However, the most famous sites at Nea Pafos are its Ancient Roman villas, mostly dating to the 2nd century AD. Amongst them are the House of Dionysos, the House of Orpheus and the Villa of Theseus, all of which have impressive mosaic floors depicting Greek mythological scenes. There are also the remaining foundations of an Agora.

The Byzantine and medieval stages of Nea Paphos are represented by other sites such as the initially 4th century AD Basilica of Chrysopolitissa, later altered and added to in the 6th, 12th and 16th centuries.

Also of interest is the Castle of Forty Columns, a Byzantine fortification known locally as ‘Saranda Kolones’. Constructed in the 7th century AD, this castle is known – and named after – the many granite columns which still remain there today.

Getting to Nea Pafos

Located just behind Paphos Harbour, Nea Paphos is easily found by car just off the B20 from Paphos and there is parking on site. Otherwise the Kato Paphos Bus Station is only a 5 minute walk from the park.

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