The temple of Aphrodite was officially established by its cult by constructing a hilltop temple on the important pilgrimage site of Palea Paphos (Palaipaphos). Although erected in 1500 BC, idols and coins related to Aphrodite dating back to 3800 BC have been found at the site. The temple stood on a knoll about 2 kms inland around which soon the town of Palea Paphos started forming. The Cyprus Exploration Fund first excavated the sanctuary in 1887 with findings again by the British Kouklia Expedition in 1950-55. Recently it has been dug by the Swiss-German expedition since 1996.
Palaipaphos is an ancient town which is located near the village of Kouklia, 16 kilometres east of Pafos town. Palaipafos site is linked to an ancient cult associated with the goddess of fertility, who was worshiped in Cyprus since the Neolithic period. Back in time, the Myceneans, who lived at the area at the beginning of the 12th century, they adopted the local goddess of fertility and create a temple in her honour. The founder of the sanctuary was the king Kinyras (Cinyras). However there is another legend for the creator of the sanctuary and according to that, the Agapenor, who was the king of Tegea in Arcadia (Greece), he was the founder of the Palaipafos and the sanctuary.
Nevertheless, Palaipafos remained as one of the biggest rural and religious centres of Cyprus, from the beginning of the Geometric period until the end of the Classical period. The last king of Palaipafos was Nikokles and he relocated his capital at the end of the 4th century B.C. about 16km to the west, the newly founded Nea Pafos. Due to the continuation of the cult at the temple of Aphrodite the town retained its importance.
During September 1980 Palaipafos and Nea Pafos were the first Cypriot sites that were included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Address: Kouklia village, 14 km (9 miles) east of Paphos, Paphos, Cyprus
- Tel: +357 26432155
- Operating Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 8.00 - 16.00
- Operating Hours: Wednesday: 8.00 - 17.00
- Entrance: €4.50 (includes entry to the Local Museum of Palaipafos)