Tombs of the Kings | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Tombs of the Kings

Pafos, Cyprus, Cyprus

Antara Bate

23 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Tombs of the Kings

The Tombs of the Kings is a Hellenistic necropolis in Paphos in Cyprus containing a series of eight well-preserved tombs.

Tombs of the Kings history

Given that the Tombs of the Kings is a 3rd century BC site and the monarchy was abolished in 312 BC, the name is somewhat of a misnomer, but this does not detract from its significance. The name is said to derive from the impressive nature of the site.

Built for nearby Nea Pafos, the Tombs of the Kings was the cemetery to the elite, including prominent figures and high ranking officials. It continued to be used throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods up to the fourth century, possibly even by early Christians. However, as with many sites of this kind, the Tomb of the Kings was subject to looting and used to quarry materials. Furthermore, in medieval times, the Tomb of the Kings was damaged by squatters, some of whom apparently made changes to the tombs.

Nevertheless, it is well worth visiting the Tomb of the Kings. The tombs are actually quite unusual for the area, being more Macedonian in architecture than local styles.

Tombs of the Kings today

Visitors can wander down into the depth of these, mostly subterranean, rock tombs and view the atriums which still survive. The architecture of these tombs is quite impressive, some seeming more like houses than burial places.

The seven excavated tombs are scattered over a wide area. The third is the most impressive and has an open atrium below ground level, surrounded by columns. Other tombs have niches built into the walls where bodies were stored.

Sadly, very few of the frescoes which would once have adorned them survive, but you can see fragments here and there. What can still be seen are the structures of the tombs, their columns and porticos.

The whole of Paphos is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Getting to Tombs of the Kings

The site is just over a mile from Paphos harbour on the road which goes north towards Coral Bay. Pafos bus 615 to Coral Bay stops right outside the entrance departing roughly every 15 minutes from the Harbour Bus Station.

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