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New Article from Holiday Villas Magazine – Cyprus
June 15th, 2008 by admin

Petra tou Romiou, Cyprus

In this article from Issue 68 of Holiday Villas Magazine, Ron Toft turns his back on the beaches and bars of Cyprus to follow the tourist trail celebrating the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

In Search of Mighty Aphrodite

It was an uncomfortably hot day –
somewhere around 35°C – as the
sun’s rays blazed down on us from a
cloudless, cobalt sky. But after a 30-
minute climb up the dusty, pebble-
strewn track, we eventually reached
the top of the hill above stunning
Lemesos Bay on the south coast of
Cyprus, and there, all around us,
were what we had come to see: the
remains within ancient Amathous of
the sanctuary of Aphrodite – the
Greek goddess of love and beauty,
and the divine protector of the
delightful Mediterranean island on
which, the myth has it, she was born.

Amathousis is one of the highlights of
the cultural trail comprising 36 sites,
including 11 museums, associated
with and celebrating Aphrodite.
The first traces of a sanctuary on the
acropolis date from around 800 BC,
when Phoenicians settled in
Amathous. Another important date
on the Amathous timeline is 22 AD,
which was when Rome allowed the
Temple of Aphrodite – then one of
the island’s three most important
temples – to retain the right to offer
asylum.

Aphrodite worshippers were driven
from the temple when Christianity
was established at the end of the
fourth century AD, after which it was
repaired in the fifth century and used
as a church for 250 years until the
site was destroyed by Arab raiders.

By far the most striking
archaeological structure is a colossal
stone vase – dating from the seventh
century BC and weighing 12 tons –
at what was the entrance to
Aphrodite’s sanctuary. Originally
there were two of them – the other
is now on display in the Louvre in
Paris. It’s thought that both vessels,
quarried from the north cliff of the
acropolis, held water used in
purification and other rituals
associated with Aphrodite.

One of the sites worth visiting as
much for its natural beauty as for its
connection with the goddess of love
is Petra tou Romiou– the
legendary birthplace of Aphrodite
15 miles east of Paphos. A series of
rocks jutting out from the sea, Petra
is where Aphrodite is said to have
emerged from the briny foam…

You can read the full, illustrated article in our online version of the magazine.


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