Location: Present village of Kouklia close to the Dhiarizos River near the Birthplace of Aphrodite

Founded: Tradition refers to Kinyras, the legendary Cypriot king, as the founder and first High Priest of the sanctuary. Another legend mentions Agapenor, the King of Tegea in Arcadia in Greece, as the founder of the city and sanctuary.

History : Although the site was continuously inhabited from the Chalcolithic period to the present day, its most important period is the end of the Late Bronze Age, when Mycenaean Greeks settled there ca1200 BC. According to legend, Pafos was one of the city-Kingdoms of Cyprus established by heroes after the end of the Trojan War. In an 11th century BC. tomb at Palaepafos a bronze skewer was found, bearing the engraved Greek name "Opheltis"; this is the earliest evidence for the use of the Greek language in Cyprus.

Palaipafos -KoukliaPalaipafos -Kouklia

Excavations: Archaeological objects found illustrate the material culture of the newcomers at the beginning of the 12th century BC and the sanctuary of Aphrodite, built in the 12th century BC., indicates a deeply-rooted tradition of a fertility cult. The sanctuary was continuously in use until the end of the Roman period.

It did not follow the plan of a Greek temple. According to representations of the Temple on coins and amulets of the Roman period, it was an open shrine with a peribolos wall enclosing a tripartite cella that housed a conical baetyl in the centre, symbolising the power of the goddess. Incense burners were found in the side rooms and the actual baetyl was found at the site of the temple.

The orthostats of the peribolos of the temenos of the original temple are amongst the most imposing structures in Cypriot architecture of the Late Bronze Age that survived until the 4th century AD.

Parts of the defensive walls of Palaipafos have also been uncovered including the north-east gate which is associated with the dramatic siege of Pafos by the Persians during the revolt of the Cypriots in 499 BC.

Other buildings of the late Archaic and Classical periods have also been uncovered at this site.

Vassos Karageorghis

 
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