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Paphos - Harbour
The most famous of the buildings is the House of Dionysus, which has been named after the God of wine who is depicted in several of the mosaics. The House of Orpheus takes its name from the colourful mosaic depicting Orpheus, son of Apollo sitting, playing the lyre as wild beasts prowl around him, drawn by the sound of the music. The Villa of Theseus has a colourful mosaic showing Theseus bravely fighting the Minotaur in the labyrinth. The Villa of Aion has a remarkable five-panelled mosaic, which tells the story of Leda and swan, Leda accompanied by three maidens is preparing to bathe in the Evretas River whilst Zeus, in the form of the swan watches quietly.

The ancient Odeon, situated close to the lighthouse, is an impressive semicircular amphitheatre which was built in the second century AD, but was destroyed by earthquake two hundred years later. The Odeon was reconstructed and has been used throughout the centuries for the performance of satires and comedies, recently restored, it measures forty-seven metres across and has eleven rows of stone seats, enough for over one thousand people. The original amphitheatre was covered, but today it is open to the stars and provides a stunning setting for musical recitals and choral performances during the summer months.

The new coastal path leads from the harbour along the rocky shoreline which is a great walk to be enjoyed by everyone. On the afternoon of Green Monday, the harbour becomes alive with all the local children taking part in the local kite competition. Later in the Spring there will be a series of informal musical recitals in front of the castle and in early September, the Paphos Aphrodite Festival will be producing this years spectacular opera with the medieval castle as its backdrop, whilst every year the harbour is the focus for the scores of marathon runners taking part in the Cyprus Marathon. For an update of events in Paphos Harbour see the Cyprus Newspapers or contact the Paphos office of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO).

Paphos Harbour is a great place to go if you are keen on water sports as diving courses and parascending are available there, sea-fishing trips and other boat trips from Paphos Harbour! For those with the spirit of free adventure there are boats to hire by the hour.

In the evenings, as the fishermen head out to sea, it is possible to join a sunset cruise heading west. It is a fantastic experience as passengers can watch the rosy sun casts its shadows on the castle walls and enjoy the beauty of the harbour which many say is as magical as the beauty of Aphrodite herself.

The perfect place to wander Paphos Harbour, so why not have a day out there and enjoy all that she has to offer.

As the dawn slowly breaks over the horizon, a plethora of gaily painted fishing boats heads back to Paphos harbour. The fishermen shout out to each other across the waves, enthusiastically comparing their catches from the previous night. A short while later they can be seen at work in the harbour, removing the fish carefully from their nets and then sitting with a welcome cup of coffee whist they repair the nets and then pile them into their brightly coloured bags ready for the next night work. Others man the handful of market stalls opposite the castle that are always popular with local restaurateurs.

As they work in their boats, the first of the coffee shops opens its doors for the days business, and shortly after the first the first tourists on a holiday in Cyprus stroll towards Paphos Castle. The harbour first became important in Roman times when Paphos was the islands capital. The original castle was built in Byzantine times to protect the prosperous harbour, and, in those days it consisted of two towers linked by a fortified wall. Over the years it fell into disrepair but was reconstructed by the during the 13th century, but later dismantled by the Venetians in 1570 when they could no longer defend it against the invading Ottoman Turks.

During the occupation of the Turks the west tower was restored and strengthened in 1592, and the inscription above the entrance refers to Ahmet Pasha, the Governor of the island at that time. The motto Kalai Baftir Bir Hisni Hasin , which translated means Paphos castle is a strong castle. During this period, the castle was used as a prison, with one of the first floor rooms used as a mosque.

Over the years the castle fluctuated in importance and during British rule it was used as a salt store. In 1935 it was made a protected building, but alas was damaged in the severe earthquake of 1953. Today, the castle is open to the public all year round. Access is by wooden footbridge over the shallow moat, through the thick stone doorway into the vaulted central hall. Rooms lead to cells and dungeons below, whilst the staircase leads up onto the roof that fantastic panoramic views of the harbour below. Further along the breakwater the old ruins of the eastern tower remain and across the roof tops the lighthouse, ancient Odeon and mosaic buildings can be seen. A wander around the harbour soon reveals boats from many different European nations, although in ancient times it was pilgrims heading for Aphrodites temple at Palae Paphos {now Kouklia} who arrived almost daily. From this time onwards it was the most important port in Western Cyprus.

The whole area around the harbour is steeped in history and many archaeological discoveries have been made. The most spectacular of these was the discovery of the beautiful Roman mosaics, dating back to the 3rd century AD, which were unearthed by a local farmer in 1962. Subsequent excavations have revealed a series of buildings, which were a Roman villa with beautiful floor mosaics that have been intricately designed, depicting scenes from ancient mythology and amongst the finest examples in the world. The mosaics are so special that the whole of the area has been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.