Cyprus, like any place in the Greek world, is marked by mythology. Paphos is considered the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. The cult was inherited by the Greeks from the Phoenicians who were venerating here the goddess Astarte that was somehow morphed in the Greek mythology as Aphrodite. The charming birthplace location is on the coast at Petra Tou Romiou, 20 km out of the modern city and another 7 km of a small village of Kouklia that was the most important cult location of the entire Greek world of the goddess known also as Paleapaphos, the old Paphos. The new city, full of monuments of antiquity all UNESCO protected is paradoxically named Nea Paphos. Here are the tombs cut in the porous rock that were the resting places for the nobles of the society, by far not kings, that were developed for several centuries around the birth of Christ. Not far are the famous mosaics, many in situ covered by sands beds for protection but lots of them in enclosures that depict an amazing world pulled out of the mythology books. All dating around 2-4 century AD, a very fresh time for the Greek culture.
Christianity came from the source in Cyprus, a country that was able to keep its church independent of many influences around. The Cypriot church is considered a direct descendent from the apostles. No matter that St. Barnabas is credited with its founding, he traveled here together with St. Mark the Evangelist and St Paul landing in Salamis at 45AD spreading the new belief. The tradition says that in Paphos, St Paul was chained to a pillar and flogged for its proselytism but in the end his strong belief made the Roman consul to convert.