Tombs of the Kings

The impressive necropolis, located 2 km northwest of Paphos Harbour, is another prominent archaeological site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Eight complexes of well-preserved tombs were brought to light by excavations conducted in the late 1970s and 1980s by the Department of Antiquities, which is still exploring the area. Contrary to what their name suggests, their dating from the 3rd century BC, after the abolishment of the monarchy in 312 BC, indicates that they are not in fact royal burial monuments, but rather places where Paphitic aristocrats and high-ranking civil servants were buried.

Most of these astonishing structures evoke Macedonian architecture rather than local types and seem to imitate the houses of the living. They are characterised by an underground, open-aired, peristyled rectangular atrium carved into the natural rock and surrounded by Doric-style pillars. It is presumed that the walls were originally covered in frescoes, but sadly only small fragments of these still remain. The entire site offers an enthralling experience.