Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite's Rock)

A not-to-be-missed attraction, Petra tou Romiou is also known as Aphrodite’s Rock.

This huge boulder is one of the most photographed rocks in the world and, along with its satellites and the surrounding pebbly beach, makes up one of the most impressive natural sites in the island. It is located just off the south-western coast of Cyprus, in the district of Paphos. As its name reveals, it is associated with Aphrodite, the legendary goddess of sensuality and fertility. According to the ancient Greek writer Hesiod, this wonderful creature arose from the waves of this strikingly beautiful spot after Uranus’ (the Sky) blood-stained testicles, mutilated by Cronus, fell into the water and mixed with foam. Hence her name Aphrodite, which means “Born from the Foam”. A myth states that if one dives into the waves at midnight under a full moon, one will be blessed with everlasting beauty. Truth be told, the sea around the rock is so turbulent that tourists are strongly discouraged from swimming there.

As for the Hellenic name of the site, Petra tou Romiou, “Rock of the Greek”, it refers to the deeds of the Byzantine “two-blood” hero, Digenes Akritas, who is said to have hurled a huge rock from the Troodos Mountains into the sea to destroy the ships of the invading Saracens. Another tradition likes to imagine that the supernaturally strong hero threw the rock at pirates in order to protect his beloved.