In 2017, Paphos, Cyprus city will be the European Capital of Culture. And if you do not know it yet, it’s time to admire its vestiges. The ancient Paphos was not only the capital of Cyprus, the island at the crossroads of East and Europe was for centuries a haven for travelers. It was also the central place of worship of Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love.

The city guard remains exceptional, declared World Heritage by Unesco, the designation of Paphos as one of two European Capitals of Culture in 2017 -with Aarhus, Denmark- will place the spotlight. The curious visitors have something to enjoy. In the archaeological park of Kato Paphos, the Odeon and the mosaics in the House of Dionysos, contained scenes from the life and mythology, we are delving into ancient beliefs and lifestyles. More eccentric, the Tombs of the Kings, dating from the third century BC, are also an object of hiking, with open views over the Mediterranean. As for the sanctuary of Aphrodite, in the village of Kouklia (Palaepafos), he reached in 16 small kilometers by road through the arid hills. Besides the early Christian church of Agia Kyriaki and its pillar of St. Paul, or the Byzantine frescoes of religious buildings around.

Archaeology at the center

But these riches must coexist with the urbanization of a resort focused on mass tourism. Since the 1980s, it pretty concreted in Paphos. The year round sunshine makes lazing field and many Europeans entertainment British in -Cyprus head is a former colonie- as Russians. We see them stroll to the harbor, the medieval fort and its new marina, along the pleasant promenade isolated cars that separates the beaches, all public, hotel complexes where the sunbed is paid.

Visitors in search of history may feel lost in this disparate and noisy modernity. They can rest assured that the 2017 deadline gives finally archeology at the center! Many works will beautify the city -it is particularly intended that the sites are finally connected via pedestrian routes, and signage, sometimes minimalist improved. They will be the setting for an open outdoor programming on myths and religion. A complete with beautiful escapades in the unspoilt Akamas peninsula or remote villages, towards the high mountains of Troodos, are quiet.