Cyprus the island of Saints, Culture and Beauty
This tour will take you from the District of Paphos to Limassol visiting some of the major sights on the route such as:
- Rock of Aphrodite
- Omothos Village
Rock of Aphrodite
- A not-to-miss attraction
- Beautiful photography opportunities
- Souvenir shopping
One big attraction for you not to miss is the Rock of Aphrodite. Its Greek name is Petra tou Romiou or ‘The Rock of the Greek’. Legend has it that Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, rose from the waves in this strikingly beautiful spot. There are several versions of the story of the goddess’s birth, but the most famous is that Aphrodite rose naked from the sea on a scallop shell. Blown by the wind, Aphrodite’s first stop was on the island of Cythera, but this was such a tiny island that Aphrodite kept moving and eventually got to Cyprus, where she began living in Paphos.
A myth states if you swim around the Aphrodite Rock, you will be blessed with eternal beauty. However the waters around the rock are so rough persuading tourists not to swim there. The Aphrodite Rock however is one of the most photographed rocks in the world; therefore do not miss out on this sight!
You can also find a restaurant as well as a souvenir shop at the Rock of Aphrodite.
- Greco Roman Amphitheatre
- Mosaics in the House of Gladiators, House of Achilles and House of Eustolios
One of the other most fascinating archaeological sites in Cyprus is Kourion, this spectacular ancient city dates back to the 12th century B.C. and was once one of the most marvellous cities throughout the Mediterranean. The grand Greco Roman Amphitheatre has now been completely restored and being in the audience for a theatrical or musical performance in this primeval arena is an unforgettable experience.
The Kourion is characterized by numerous ruined houses from the late Roman period; the House of Gladiators, the House of Achilles and the House of Eustolios are some of the remnants from early centuries. The floors in these houses are paved with mosaics, the early Christian Basilica dates back to the 5th century A.D.
One of the famous structures here is the Nymphaeum which was built in the 2nd century A.D. and is a sacred place devoted to water nymphs, the salient features of the stadium stand for its magnificence.
- Wine producing village
- Timiou Stavrou Monastery
- Sweets made out of local fruits
- Handmade table cloths etc
- Village full of beauty and Cypriot character
Since ancient times Omothos is renowned for its superb grapes and tasty wines. According to tradition, the -of excellent quality and sweet smelling -wine Afames, which took its name from the mountain that bares the same name and is located east of the village, was the cause for the island being conquered by the inebriate Sultan Selem II so that he could have this famous wine as his own.
No visit to the picturesque wine-producing village of Omothos is complete without stopping at the Timiou Stavrou (Holy Cross) Monastery, which is considered the true pride of the local people.
The church, built in two-levels and in the shape of the Greek letter Pi, is of imposing architecture and plays a very significant role of Cyprus’s cultural heritage, being one of the oldest monasteries on the island.
A place of great ecclesiastical importance in Cyprus, it attracted pilgrims from all over the world during many centuries, and its importance was confirmed when Saint Helen presented the monastery with a section of the blood-stained rope that bound Jesus to the Holy Cross during her visit to Cyprus back in 327 AD. Many other important relics are kept in the monastery such as the skull of Apostle Phillip.
The known mediaeval winepress, found at a small distance from the Holy Cross Monastery, is evidence to the fact that production of traditional wine took place in Omothos since ancient times.
The inhabitants of Omothos, apart from growing vines and producing excellent wine and “zivania” (traditional alcoholic beverage), also handle the making of “soutzoukos” (must-stick with almonds), “palouze” (must jelly), “kkiofterka” (dried must jelly in rhomboid pieces), and “koulourka” (rusks). The “arkatena koulourka” (crunchy rusks with yeast) of Omothos are also well known and sought after throughout Cyprus. Also, genuine and of excellent taste sweets are made out of local fruits.
Home handicraft flourishes in Omothos. The village’s women, apart from the plentiful and hard work that they offer next to their husbands for the cultivation of the earth, are also occupied with handmade embroideries, making wonderful brocades, tablecloths, threaded quilts, and narrow-knit and Chantilly laces.
Omothos, built at the slope of the mountain, between verdant carpets of vines, surrounded by mountains that appear as though they were placed in a masterly layout, is one of the most picturesque villages of Cyprus. The large plaza of the village, unique in its graphic quality and size, in front of the majestic monastery of the Holy Cross, the mediaeval Winepress, the narrow alleys, and the stone-made houses all “drowned” in green lend a special beauty and charm to the village. Moreover, the village’s houses themselves present some interest as far as folkloric architecture is concerned, with the tiled roofs or terraces, the picturesque upper storeys, the paved and flowery yards with jars inside, the wooden doors and the variously decorated gateways, and the balconies and elongated rooms being the main elements.
Omothos is, perhaps, one of the few villages that keep unadulterated its old beauty and its absolutely Cypriot character.