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Tombs of the Kings

One of the most visited tourist attractions in Cyprus, the Tombs of the Kings, is located in Kato Paphos, along the southwestern coast of Paphos district.

A set of well-preserved underground tombs and chambers entirely hewn-out of rock, the Tombs of the Kings were used from the Hellenistic to the Roman era (3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD). Consisting part of Paphos’ Archaeological Park, the site has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ List, since 1980. This illustrates the exceptional architectural and historic value of the area.  

Despite the name of the monument, “Tombs of the Kings”, there were no substantial evidence that the tombs were related to the Cypriot royal families.  The magnificence of the tombs’ architecture and the sense of monumental aspect have contributed significantly to the name. Similar to other ancient tombs, the Tombs of the Kings were not designed as places where the dead were buried and forgotten. It was a place that resembled the structure of residences, where the bodies were preserved and prepared for the afterlife. Therefore, it was an ancient necropolis reserved for distinguished Ptolemaic personalities; nobles, important officials and the aristocracy of the island.

In the site, there are various types of tombs. Among them, rock-cut pit tombs, basic single-chamber tombs to multi-chamber ones, and finally tombs with a peristyle atrium, which without doubt, are the most astonishing. The latter have an admirable burial architecture. Observing them from above, one will see the atrium that is surrounded by a Doric portico, with limestone columns. Additionally, unlike the rest, there is another tomb that in the middle instead of an atrium, it has a rock carved in the shape of a four-sided construction. Apart from its distinguished design, this tomb has attracted great interest from archaeologists, further to the discovery of two limestone sculptured eagles. The eagles represented the royal emblem of the Ptolemy kings and thus, it is believed that the tomb might have belonged to one of the kings of the Ptolemaic dynasty, who died in Cyprus.

The Tombs of the Kings is definitely a must-visit location for anyone who is interested in ancient history, but not only. It is a site that provides information on the past civilizations and cultures, while it gives a valuable insight into the ancient population's way of life and their burial rituals.

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