Nea Pafos

unescoPaphos is one of the island’s most mesmerising archaeological sites and the most accessible to visitors. Located in the resort of Paphos on the south-west coast of the island, Nea Pafos -as it was called in antiquity- is home to a treasure trove of some of the most lavish ancient mosaics in the world.

Coordinates: 34° 45′ 26.85″ N 32° 24′ 33.85″ E

Paphos

Founded in the late 4th century BC, Pafos became the capital of the island, replacing Salamis, during the Hellenistic and Roman eras. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the site is a vast archaeological area with remains of four Roman villas, an odeon, an agora, an Asclepeion (a healing temple, sacred to the god Asclepius, the god of medicine) and royal tombs.

The city originally occupied an area of about 950,000 square metres and reached its zenith during the Antonine and Severan periods (second half of 2nd / early 3rd century CE). This is reflected by the number of opulent buildings, both public and private, which survive from this period. Like Salamis, Nea Pafos was severely damaged by earthquakes on several occasions and went into decline following the devastating earthquake of the 4th century CE. A chance discovery made in 1962 by a farmer ploughing his field has brought to light exquisite mosaics that decorated the floors of wealthy residences of the Roman period.

One of the most exquisite and best-preserved mosaics unearthed at the site is the round mosaic of Theseus and the Minotaur in the Villa of Theseus, named after the representation of the Athenian hero fighting the Cretan monster in the Labyrinth. The most spectacular group of mosaics comes from the House of Dionysus. The building occupies an area of about 2000 square metres, of which 556 are covered with mosaic floors. A short walk away lie the Agora (forum), the Asclepeion and the Odeon where musical performances were held. These buildings constituted the heart of the ancient city.

PORTFOLIO

The House of Theseus, Paphos Archaeological Park
The House of Theseus. With more than 100 rooms, this house is the largest residential structure on the island and one of the largest in the Mediterranean. It was the residence of the governor of Cyprus (proconsul).
Mosaic floor depicting the mythical duel between Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth of Crete, House of Theseus, 3rd-4th century AD.
Mosaic floor in the House of Theseus depicting the mythical duel between Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth of Crete, 3rd-4th century AD.
The House of Theseus, The first bath of Achilles mosaic, 5th century AD, South Wing.
The first bath of Achilles mosaic in one of the rooms of the House of Theseus, 5th century AD. The hero lies in the arms of his mother Thetis who is shown in the centre lying on a bed. This part of the scene has been greatly damaged. Achilles is also shown sitting on the knees of his nurse who is preparing to dip the infant in a basin.
The House of Theseus.
The House of Theseus.
The House of Theseus.
The House of Theseus.
The House of Theseus, mosaic with geometric pattern, mosaic with the Three Horae (Dike, Eunomia and Eirene), and mosaic with Aphrodite.
The House of Theseus with three mosaic pavements.
The House of Dionysus.
The House of Dionysus. The building occupies an area of about 2000 square metres, of which 556 are covered with mosaic floors. The name given to the house is due to the central mosaic featuring Dionysus, the god of wine.
The Triumph of Dionysus in the House of Dionysus, late 2nd / early 3rd century AD, Dionysus sits on a two-wheeled chariot.
The Triumph of Dionysus in the House of Dionysus, late 2nd / early 3rd century AD, Dionysus sits on a two-wheeled chariot.
Mosaic of Narcissus in the House of Dionysus, late 2nd/early 3rd century AD.
Mosaic of Narcissus in the House of Dionysus, late 2nd / early 3rd century AD.
The Rape of Ganymede mosaic in the House of Dionysus, the god Zeus having transformed into an eagle carries Ganymede away, late 2nd / early 3rd century AD.
The Rape of Ganymede mosaic in the House of Dionysus, the god Zeus having transformed into an eagle carries Ganymede away, late 2nd / early 3rd century AD.
Phaedra and Hippolytus in the House of Dionysus, late 2nd / early 3rd century AD.
Phaedra and Hippolytus in the House of Dionysus, late 2nd / early 3rd century AD.
The Odeon located in the northeastern part of the ancient city, it was built in the 2nd century AD and could held approximately 1,200 spectators, Paphos.
The Odeon located in the northeastern part of the ancient city, it was built in the 2nd century AD and could held approximately 1,200 spectators.
The Odeon located in the northeastern part of the ancient city.
The Odeon located in the northeastern part of the ancient city.
In the foreground the Agora, the central square court of the city surrounded by colonnaded porticoes and dating from the middle of the 2nd century AD, in the background on the left is the Asclepeion, on the right the Odeon.
In the foreground the Agora, the central square court of the city surrounded by colonnaded porticoes and dating from the middle of the 2nd century AD, in the background on the left is the Asclepeion, on the right the Odeon.

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One thought on “Nea Pafos

  1. This post is such a coincidence Carole because only today I have been reading a book about Paphos given to me by my sister in law who immigrated to Cyprus All the mosaics are in it of course. Your photo’s are stunning. I particularly like, The first bath of Achilles and the mosaic of Dionysus in his two wheeled chariot. Thanks again for a superb post.

    Liked by 1 person

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