The Sanctuary of Aphrodite
Situated on the southwestern coasts of the island, in the village of Kouklia within the Paphos district, lies the archaeological site of Palaipaphos. This ancient city-kingdom holds direct associations with the cult and legend of the goddess of fertility and love, Aphrodite, with the site encompassing the remains of her Sanctuary.
The Temple of Aphrodite, a significant and expansive center of worship in the region, was established by the Mycenaeans in the 12th century BC. Its use persisted until the Roman period when the spread of Christianity led to the abolition of all pagan rituals on the island.
The deep-seated tradition of worship linked to the Sanctuary is evident from the diverse archaeological artifacts unearthed in the area. Notably, a conical stone dating back to the 12th century BC was discovered. This stone idol represented the goddess Aphrodite and is now housed in the local museum.
Today, the archaeological site of the Sanctuary comprises two sections. The oldest sanctuary, constructed during the Late Bronze Age, is situated in the southern part, while the second Sanctuary, built later between the end of the 1st and the beginning of the 2nd century AD, is located in the north. Regrettably, only the foundations and scattered columns of the majestic temple remain.
Nonetheless, the mythological goddess Aphrodite, symbolizing love and beauty, was undeniably widely recognized and celebrated in antiquity, rendering the Sanctuary of fundamental value.