Tombs of the Kings In Paphos
With so much history literally beneath your feet, every visit to Paphos should include at least one trip to an archaeological site to find out more about the past. Top of the list has to be Paphos Tomb of the Kings, a real gem and one of the island’s most popular historical sites.
Dating back 5,000 years, the magnificent Tomb of the Kings is one of the finest ancient sites on Cyprus, and is bound to blow you away! A huge necropolis burial site, it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status in recognition of its unique and important place in charting the island’s history, spanning the Hellenistic (Greek) and Roman periods.
This fascinating burial site was used from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD. The underground tombs are carved out of solid rock and follow the ancient Egyptian belief that tombs for the dead should be as impressive as houses for the living. Some imitate the style of houses, complete with atriums, giving a unique glimpse into ancient life.
The site is exceptionally well preserved, although most of the treasures buried with the bodies have been whisked away by grave robbers almost before the occupants were cold! And although many of the frescoes that would have originally decorated the tombs have been lost to the march of Time, there are still glimpses here and there.
Tombs for kings, without any kings!
If you’re into your architectural history, you’ll spot fabulous Doric pillars decorating some of the tombs, which are similar to the pillars on the Parthenon in Athens. Even though it has huge historical importance, you won’t find the tombs fenced off from visitors. Instead you can actually go down into many of them to really explore around and climb the steps where ancient feet have tread.
But don’t expect to find any kings buried here. Despite the name, these tombs were the final resting place of important local officials and aristocrats, not royalty. The name Tomb of the Kings was given because of their magnificence and splendour.
Take in the natural beauty too
Positioned overlooking the sea near Coral Bay, a trip to the Tomb of the Kings is a chance to enjoy the natural landscape of the area as well as find out more about the history. Open throughout the year, it’s located just a couple of kilometres north west of Paphos’ harbour. The ticket price to get in is very reasonable, and it’s worth taking some water with you if you visit on a hot day.
It’s easy to get there by bus, with the trip taking around five minutes using the 615 route to Coral Bay. Driving in a hire car or taking a taxi are other options, or you could make the trip on foot if it’s not too hot. There’s a stunning coast path that winds up behind Paphos harbour by the castle to the Tomb of the Kings, so a stroll lets you take in the very best of the coastal views. It’s around a 3.3km walk and will take approximately 40 minutes to get there. You can stop and admire the view on the way, or have a dip in the sea at Lighthouse beach. Time your walk to coincide with sunset to complete the magical experience.