Paphos City Reiseführer Zypern


Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the district capital Pafos is its layout. Two distinct setdements -the harbour, archeological zone and hotel strip at Kato Pafos, and the true town centre ofKrima, 3km up the hill- are joindy and confusingly referred to as Nea (New) Pafos, to distinguish it &om Palea (Old) Paphos, now by the village ofKouklia, l6km to the east. For the moment, Kato and Ktima together still form a fairly pleasant provincial capital of around forty-five thousand permanent inhabitants, but the upper town, first setded by the Byzantines as a haven &om coastal attacks, seems in danger of losing its separate identity, as the blank spaces between it and the lower resort area are being steadily filled in by ready-mix concrete lorries and their high- rise offspring. Development, frankly, has got out of hand; the only bright spot of the inconvenient excavations and traffic diversions -which continue as a new access road to the airport is built -was the discovery of a considerable quantity of buried Roman and Hellenistic antiquities, which should eventually find their way into the archeological museum.

Pafos Arrival and information

There is no bus service to or from the airport, 15km southeast ofKato Pafos, but taxi fares shouldn't be more than C£10 to Ktirna, perhaps C£12 to Kato Pafos; strenuously resist those drivers who demand C£15-20. Facilities in the arrivals lounge include three or four relatively pricey car-rental booths, a part-time tour- ist information booth, a bank ATM and a money-exchange counter. (There are no banking facilities in the big, shiny departures hall.) However, Pafos airport is set to undergo further expansion, specifically the addition of a second terminal, between now and 2007, so you can expect changes in layout and amenities.

Driving into Kato Pafos, you'll probably end up in the enormous, free, paved lot behind the waterfront -nominally an archeological site -or the dirt lot immediately behind this; in high season the narrow streets of the hotel "ghetto"will be out of the question (unless you're booked into accommodation with parking space). Up in Ktima you're best off using the enormous free car park at the foot of the bluff on which the bazaar and old Turkish quarter of Mouttalos are built.

Pafos's tourist information office (Mon-Fri 8.15am-2.30pm, Sat 8.15am-1.30pm, plus Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri 3-6.15pm), which has a fairly complete stock of maps and handouts, can be found in Ktima on Pavlou Mela. The street is still cited as Gladstonos on many maps and is home to various other tourist services such as estate and travel agencies.

Nightlife and entertainment in Pafos

Conventional local nightlife is concentrated down in the hotel district of Kato pafos, with most bars and clubs found along Posidhonos or just inland on Ayiou Andoniou, aka "Nightlife Street". One word of warning: the parts ofTafon ton Vasileon with cabarets and attendant pimps, touts and street hassle are worth avoiding, especially by unescorted women. Among cinemas, the Cine Orasis two-plex at Apostolou Pavlou 35 tends to have more first-run foreign fare in English than Othellos at Evagora Pallikaridhi 41; it also has a Thursday-night art-rum club. The pafos Aphrodite Festival (early September) and the Akamas Festival (late March) see concerts and other events in the larger hotel venues or Pafos castle. Other classical performances are regularly staged .at the Markidion Theatre,on Andhrea Yeroudhi in Ktima.

Some history about Pafos

The foundations of Nea Pafos are obscure; in legend Agapenor, leader of the Arcadian contingent to Troy, was shipwrecked near here in the twelfth century BC and decided to stay. But it seems to have been only a minor annexe to the sanctuary and town at Palea Paphos (see p.18l) until Hellenistic times, when the last independent Pafiot king, Nikoklis, laid out a proper city. Its perimeter walls enclosed much of the headland behind the harbour, which shipped out timber &om the hill-forests.

The Ptolemies made Pafos the island's rather decadent administrative centre, which it remained during the Roman period, when it rejoiced in the pompous tide of Augusta Claudia Flavia Paphos. Cicero was proconsul here for two years, as was one Sergius Paulus, the first recorded official convert to Christianity, at the behest of aposdes Paul and Barnabas. Acts 13: 6-12 records the event, and verse 9 is in fact the first time that Paul is referred to as such (rather than as Saul of Tarsus). A Jewish sorcerer named Elymas attempted to distract the proconsul, at which Paul temporarily blinded Elymas. Sergius Paulus was so impressed that he embraced the True Faith forthwith. Despite this success, Paul seems to have had a hard time combating Aphrodite's love-cult here, and was reputedly scourged for his trouble on the site of the Byzantine basilica.

Successive earthquakes, including two in the fourth century, relegated Pafos to the status of a backwater, and the Cypriot capital reverted to Salanris (Constan- tia), though P:ifos was designated -and has since remained -an important bishopric. The Arab raids of the seventh century completed the process of desolation, however, and for more than a millennium afterwards visitors were unanimous in characterizing the shabby port as a hole -that is, if they were lucky enough to survive its endemic diseases and write about it.

Under British administration Pafos's fortunes perked up: the harbour was dredged and the population began to climb from a low point of less than two thousand to about nine thousand at independence. During the late 1950s, when Pafos district was hotbed of EOKA activity, the british ran a major interrogation and confinement centrin the town. But when in 1974 Archbishop Makarios took refuge here following the EOKA-B coup, it was the British who saved his bacon by airlifting him out by helicopter to the Akrotiri air base, and thence into exile.