The Archaeological Site of Kato Pafos (Lower, or “New”, Paphos), Cyprus

a-team-from-a-university-in-poland-under-the-supervision-of-cypriot-archaeologists-conducting-a-dig-in-a-portion-of-the-agora-of-kato-pathos-the-forum-or-central-meeting-place-of-the-city-kato

A team from a university in Poland, under the supervision of Cypriot archaeologists, conducting a dig in a portion of the Agora of Kato Pathos (the forum, or central meeting place, of the city), Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

“Paphos, Cyprus, has been inhabited since the Neolithic period.  It was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities.  Aphrodite’s legendary birthplace was on this island, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century B.C.  The remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs mean that the site is of exceptional architectural and historic value.  The mosaics of Nea Paphos are among the most beautiful in the world.

“Paphos, which has been inhabited since the Neolithic period, was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities.  Aphrodite’s legendary birthplace was on the island of Cyprus, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century BC and continued to be used until the Roman period.  The site is a vast archaeological area, with remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs.  These illustrate Paphos’ exceptional architectural and historic value and contribute extensively to our understanding of ancient architecture, ways of life, and thinking.  The villas are richly adorned with mosaic floors that are among the most beautiful in the world.  These mosaics constitute an illuminated album of ancient Greek mythology, with representations of Greek gods, goddesses and heroes, as well as activities of everyday life.” – www.whc.unesco.org

 

mosaics-from-the-house-of-aion-3rd-5th-c-a-d-the-central-panel-of-the-main-room-is-divided-into-five-smaller-panels-each-depicting-a-different-mythological-scene-such-as-leda-and-the

Mosaics from The House of Aion (3rd – 5th c. A.D.): The central panel of the main room is divided into five smaller panels, each depicting a different mythological scene, such as Leda and the Swan, the Ephinay of Dionysos, the beauty contest between Cassiopeia and the Nereids, the punishment of Marsyas — in the center of the composition is the depiction of the god Aion, the personification of time, whose name was given to the house; Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

“The inclusion of the Kato Paphos archaeological site in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1980 was the starting point for the creation of a General Plan whose aim would be primarily to protect and maintain the archaeological remains, as well as to promote them and provide comprehensive information to visitors.  Kato Pafor archaeological Park includes sites and monuments from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, while most of the remains date to the Roman period.  The marvelous mosaic floors of the Roman villas form the impressive epicenter of the finds.” – Source: Cyprus Tourism Organisation

 

mosaics-from-the-house-of-aion-3rd-5th-c-a-d-portion-of-the-lower-left-panel-of-the-central-panel-in-the-main-room-showing-a-half-naked-maenad-leading-the-triumphal-procession-of-the

Mosaics from The House of Aion (3rd – 5th c. A.D.): portion of the lower left panel of the central panel in the main room, showing a half-naked Maenad leading the Triumphal Procession of the god Dionysos through the world; Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

mosaics-from-the-house-of-aion-3rd-5th-c-a-d-in-the-center-of-the-composition-is-the-depiction-of-the-god-aion-the-personification-of-time-whose-name-was-given-to-the-house-kato-paf

Mosaics from The House of Aion (3rd – 5th c. A.D.): in the center of the composition is the depiction of the god Aion, the personification of time, whose name was given to the house; Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

“A country’s cultural heritage is the most important living treasure of its people.  It is through this that its identity can be expressed and an awareness of its historical continuity through time can be created.  Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean.  It is situated at the crossroads of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa.  This geographic position has since antiquity played an important part in the island’s turbulent history.  Its prehistoric age inhabitants were joined by Mycenaean Greeks 3500 years ago, who introduced and established their civilization, thus permanently instilling the island’s Greek roots.  Many other cultures followed since then, including Phoenicians, Assyrians, Franks, Venetians, Ottomans, British, all leaving behind visible traces of their passage.” – Source: Cyprus Tourism Organisation

 

the-house-of-theseus-roman-period-300-a-d-kato-pafos-archaeological-site-cyprus

The House of Theseus (Roman period, ~ 300 A.D.), Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

the-mosaic-floor-of-room-36-of-the-house-of-theseus-depicting-in-a-medallion-the-mythical-duel-between-theseus-and-the-minotaur-in-the-labyrinth-of-crete-see-our-previous-post-the-great

The mosaic floor of room 36 of the House of Theseus, depicting, in a medallion, the mythical duel between Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth of Crete [see our previous post, “The Great Palace of Knossos (Minoan era), Heraklion, Crete, Greece”].  In the center of the scene Theseus is depicted holding a club in his right hand, while with his left hand he grabs the horn of the Minotaur, who has fallen to his knees. On the left side of the scene is a personification of the Labyrinth as an old man watching the duel. Above the rocks are the personifications of the island of Crete and the goddess Ariadne; Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

the-above-scene-in-the-mosaic-floor-of-room-36-of-the-house-of-theseus-is-framed-by-successive-decorative-zones-that-symbolize-the-labyrinth-the-frame-consists-of-a-chain-of-diamonds-and-colorful-tre

The above scene in the mosaic floor of room 36 of the House of Theseus is framed by successive decorative zones that symbolize the Labyrinth; the frame consists of a chain of diamonds and colorful tresses that symbolize the thread of Ariadne; Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

columns-of-the-house-of-theseus-roman-period-300-a-d-kato-pafos-archaeological-site-cyprus

Columns of The House of Theseus (Roman period, ~ 300 A.D.), Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

tools-of-the-trade-for-the-archaeologists-working-on-site-at-kato-pafos-archaeological-site-cyprus

“Tools of the trade” for the archaeologists working on site at Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

The House of Dionysos was a luxurious Roman residence with an atrium and an impluvium, a central open court surrounded by a colonnaded portico, and a wealth of mosaic floors.  It was built during the end of the 2nd century A.D. and was destroyed in the first half of the 4th century A.D., probably due to earthquakes.  The house was constructed on earlier buildings, the earliest of which was a sanctuary carved into the natural bedrock.  Just over 25% of the building is decorated with mosaic floors!  The building has been named the “House of Dionysos”, as many of the mosaics depict scenes related to the worship of the god Dionysos.  All the mosaic are in situ except one.  The house was excavated between 1962 and 1965 by Dr. Kyriacos Nikolaou, then Curator of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities.

 

a-tiger-in-a-long-hunting-scene-mosaic-in-the-house-of-dionysos-a-luxurious-roman-residence-built-during-the-end-of-the-2nd-century-a-d-kato-pafos-archaeological-site-cyprus

A tiger in a long hunting scene mosaic panel floor in The House of Dionysos, a luxurious Roman residence built during the end of the 2nd century A.D., Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

the-first-of-four-panels-in-room-16-of-the-house-of-dionysos-a-luxurious-roman-residence-built-during-the-end-of-the-2nd-century-a-d-depicting-the-mythological-love-story-of-pyramos-and-thisbe-kat

The first of four panels in Room 16 of The House of Dionysos, a luxurious Roman residence built during the end of the 2nd century A.D., depicting the mythological love story of Pyramos and Thisbe, Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

the-four-seasons-mosaic-in-room-3-of-the-house-of-dionysos-a-luxurious-roman-residence-built-during-the-end-of-the-2nd-century-a-d-with-anthropomorphic-representations-centrally

The “Four Seasons” mosaic in Room 3 of The House of Dionysos, a luxurious Roman residence built during the end of the 2nd century A.D. with anthropomorphic representations: centrally, an unidentifiable figure (probably Dionysos, Aion, or the personification of some concept such as the genius of the Year), and in the four corners, the personification of the Four Seasons; Spring and Summer are represented in the upper corners, while Winter and Fall in the lower corners; Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

the-odeon-theater-like-space-adjacent-to-the-agora-of-kato-pathos-the-forum-or-central-meeting-place-of-the-city-kato-pafos-archaeological-site-cyprus

The “Odeon” (theater like space) adjacent to the Agora of Kato Pathos (the forum, or central meeting place, of the city), Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

the-archaeological-dig-continues-with-tedious-work-carried-out-by-all-members-of-the-team-as-they-seek-to-reveal-new-treasures-at-kato-pafos-archaeological-site-cyprus

The archaeological dig continues, with tedious work carried out by all members of the team, as they seek to reveal new treasures at Kato Pafos Archaeological Site, Cyprus

 

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