Aphrodite on the half shell


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Middle East » Cyprus » Paphos
May 25th 2016
Published: May 26th 2016
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We spent the day at Paphos, the place where Aphrodite drifted ashore on her half shell. Her birth was the consequence of a particularly nasty father-son conflict, when Cronos emasculated his father Ouranos and the severed member fell into the sea off Cyprus. The "foam" (as they politely call it) from this organ caused the sea to give birth to Aphrodite. She was almost born on Cythera, near the Peloponnese, but the winds blew her to Paphos. (I wonder what the Cytherians have to say about that!)

Anyway, her landing spot is a beach of beautiful polished stones with several impressive white rocks rising from the waves.

Paphos was, not surprisingly, a major location for worship of Aphrodite and there's a large complex of religious buildings there that date from around 1400 BC through to 400 AD or so when the emperor (now an enthusiastic Christian) outlawed worship of the traditional Greek gods.

At the edge of the nearby ancient town there are elaborate tombs cut into the rock. In typical Greek fashion there are no barriers, so you can burrow into and clamber all over them.

This was the last day with the group - everyone's heading out tomorrow - so we had an especially good dinner at a fancy restaurant in Limassol old town, just by the Crusader castle.

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