Tombs of the Kings
The Tombs of the Kings, situated in Kato Paphos along the southwestern coast of Paphos district, is among the most frequented tourist attractions in Cyprus.
This remarkable archaeological site features a collection of meticulously preserved underground tombs and chambers carved entirely out of rock. The tombs date back to the Hellenistic to the Roman era, spanning from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD. As an integral part of Paphos' Archaeological Park, the site has earned a place on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites' List since 1980, attesting to its exceptional architectural and historical significance.
Despite the name "Tombs of the Kings," there is limited evidence to support a direct association with Cypriot royal families. The grandeur of the tomb's architecture and its monumental appearance have likely contributed to the name. Similar to other ancient tombs, the Tombs of the Kings were not mere burial sites. Instead, they were designed as places where the deceased were preserved and prepared for the afterlife, resembling elaborate residences. This ancient necropolis was reserved for esteemed Ptolemaic figures, such as nobles, important officials, and aristocrats of the island.
Various types of tombs can be found at the site, ranging from rock-cut pit tombs to basic single-chamber tombs and multi-chamber structures. Among the most captivating are the tombs with a peristyle atrium. These tombs boast impressive burial architecture, with an atrium surrounded by a Doric portico featuring limestone columns. One particular tomb stands out due to its unique design. Instead of an atrium, it features a rock carved in the shape of a four-sided construction. Archaeologists have taken special interest in this tomb, especially after discovering two limestone sculptured eagles inside. The eagles are believed to represent the royal emblem of the Ptolemaic kings, hinting that this tomb might have belonged to one of the kings of the Ptolemaic dynasty who passed away in Cyprus.
The Tombs of the Kings is a must-visit destination for anyone intrigued by ancient history and more. The site offers valuable insights into past civilizations, cultures, and burial rituals, providing a glimpse into the way of life of the ancient population.