Some incredible historical sites to see the next time you are in Cyprus
From ancient archaeological sites to charming towns, Blue Flag beaches and delicious eateries – Cyprus should be on your bucket list of places to visit.
Your first stop should be the Kato Paphos Archaeological park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of Paphos. Step back in time, unwind in the history and culture, and discover a world of ancient treasures. For anyone who loves Greek mythology, these ruins are not to be missed – include the Roman houses, the seashell floor of House Dionysus and the magnificent amphitheatre in your wander round.
Day 2 – head to Aphrodite’s rock, the birthplace of the ancient Greek goddess of love. Found along the coast between Paphos and Limassol, there is a nearby beach and a viewing pavilion to get the best view. It is said the goddess Aphrodite emerged from the foamy water when Uranus was cut by a sickle and fell into the sea.
Day 3 – discover the Tombs of the Kings, an ancient necropolis a short walk up the scenic coastal path from Paphos. This burial site is one of the most popular historical sites in Cyprus – it is another UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back over 5,000 years. The tombs were built for people of local importance but were named Tombs of the Kings due to the architecture and design. What makes visiting the site really special is that you can step inside and explore the tombs yourself.
Last but not least, set aside time to wander the streets of Limassol’s old town. On the south coast of Cyprus, the city of Limassol is built around the old town. It is a delicious maze of winding streets that surround Limassol Castle. It is definitely worth a climb to the top to enjoy the views and the Old Harbour, before stopping for some fresh food in the Municipal Market.
The Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (MUSAN)
An underwater forest and 93 sculptures make up the first underwater sculpture park, by artist Jason deCaires Taylor
Cyprus has become home to the world first subaquatic museum; the Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (MUSAN).
The project, which cost €1 million to bring to life, boasts 93 sculptures created by Jason deCaires Taylor, whose previous work also includes projects such as the Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada and Mexico’s Isla Mujeres National Marine Park.
MUSAN’s underwater forest, located off the coast of Pernara, Ayia Napa in Cyprus, includes spectacular artworks which represent trees and children playing in the woods. Divers and snorkellers can swim through the underwater museum and enjoy the sea life that the project attracts; the structures are 8-10 metres deep and sit in crystal clear waters.
The whole project refers to the latest contemporary issues of our era, such as habitat loss and pollution, whilst having a positive outlook for the future by projecting the hope that what mankind has done can be reversed. Not only is MUSAN designed as a museum, but it is a re-wilding project. Only approximately 10-15% of the seabed has a solid enough substratum to allow reefs to form naturally, so artificial replacements can significantly help underwater conservation.
The sculptures are made from inert pH neutral materials that attract marine life and have been placed at different depths designed to allow natural growth and algae to settle on the surface. This creates homes and food sources for other marine life.
Taylor has spent 2 to 3 years working on the project and explains: “It’s about inspiring people to watch what’s going on, to hold people responsible for how our world is changing and to try and affect a better outcome”.
Visits to the museum can be booked via local dive centres and can be found just a few hundred metres from Ayia Napa’s Pernera beach, within the Ayia Napa Artificial Reef Marine Protected Area (MPA).