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CYPRUS FOR THE WINTER HOLIDAYS: WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE

NICOSIA – LIMASSOL – PAPHOS – NICOSIA

PART 2

 

READ MORE: CYPRUS FOR THE WINTER HOLIDAYS: PART 1

The road from Nicosia to Limassol took us a little over an hour and was quite comfortable. I pre-booked the hotel Kapetanios Odyssia for a one night stay, in order to get to know the city better. This is a 3 * hotel and has a good location near the seafront, SPA, a rich breakfast, and a reasonable price – everything that is necessary for one or several nightstay.

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The first thing that catches your eye when entering the city are the construction cranes EVERYWHERE.  In Limassol, construction works are in full swing! Opposite our hotel, there was a construction of three skyscrapers with a large pool in the middle and even with several apartments with their own small pools. It reminded me of Dubai .

 

 

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In Limassol, there is a magnificent boardwalk for long walks near the sea. The beach area was closed for the winter season, but in the summer, on the beach, they have all needed amenities – umbrellas, sun beds, beach bars. At the end of the boardwalk, there was a Christmas market and several restaurants and cafes with a view of the famous Limassol Marina. Since we got hungry, we had a choice of fish, meat or traditional Cypriot restaurant.

 

 

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We chose a meat restaurant – The Steak House, which was in the form of a glass box, standing on stilts and located on the pier of the old port. And  I made the right decision!  The interior of the restaurant was covered in noble colors and the service was an amazing experience.   First of all, we were introduced to the basics of varieties of steaks, bringing different pieces of meat so that we could make our best choice. Be sure to try their green salad with slices of beef – its taste and serving are beyond praise. Do not forget the dessert…it is so YUMMY!

 

 

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We returned back through Makariou Avenue, where the main shops and boutiques are located and walked out to another Christmas park. Here we rode on the Ferris wheel and I persuaded my boyfriend to join me in a 360-degree upside down attraction. Later, I regretted about this because I was having fun, but he felt really bad.

 

 

The next morning we went on a tour of the main historical sites in the area.

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Our first stop was the Kolossi Castle, 15 minutes drive from Limassol. It was built by King Hugh I de Lusignan at the beginning of the 13th century. The walls of the castle served as a command and defense point, a shelter for knightly orders that defended the Kingdom of Cyprus. The ground floor of the tower was supposedly served as a storeroom and consists of three rooms with tiny windows. On the second and third floors we found sleeping rooms, kitchen, refectory and huge fireplaces. The spiral stairs lead to the roof of the castle, from where  you can see panoramic and breathtaking views of the whole area.

 

 

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Since there were practically no tourists, we managed to take A LOT OF pictures in this castle.   Near the castle, you can see the dilapidated building of the sugar cane processing plant. From the grapes grown in this area, the Knights produced wine, which was highly valued at that time in Europe. The wine is made from certain varieties of grapes using unique technology and nowadays is the main alcohol brand in Cyprus.

 

 

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Not far from the castle you can find a huge Tipuana tipu tree (see image above) , also known as the rosewood tree. It was brought from Argentina, and now two hundred years as it is next to the castle.

 

 

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The next stop was the Kourion Archaeological Site. The ancient city-state of Kourion was founded in Cyprus around 1200 BC, and in the 7th century AD, after Kourion was ravaged by the Arabs, it was left by the locals and desolated.

 

 

The first thing that caught our eye was the ancient theater. At some time, the theater was used for gladiatorial battles and then regained its original purpose. In 365 year, a powerful earthquake destroyed both the city and the theater and only in 1961 it was restored and is still used today.

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House Evstolia is located very close to the entrance, it is covered with a roof that protects the unique mosaics from the weather. After exploring the house of Evstolia, we went westwards to several of Kurion’s sights – the early Christian basilica, the Roman forum, as well as the public bath complex.

 

 

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Having walked a little along the ruins, we went to the house of the Gladiators. The residence is named so because of mosaics with the image of gladiators there. Next to the gladiators is the home of Achilles. Well, not the same Trojan hero, as we know, but an ordinary Kuryon resident. Our last stop – Roman private house or Earthquake house. The house suffered from the same earthquake that happened 365 years and all its inhabitants were killed.😥

 

 

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We had little time left, so we immediately went to Aphrodite’s birthplace… called The Rock of Aphrodite💞 or Petra tou Romiou – the legendary place, one of the main and most visited attractions on the west coast of Cyprus. When we reached the place, we found a quite large FREE parking near the cafe. We crossed the road and went down a rather steep slope…BUT! On the way back, we found an underground tunnel that leads a very comfortable to the parking.  The most famous legend says that on this beach, 1200 BC. Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, fertility love, eternal spring, and life, has emerged from the foam of the sea and gained a human body. According to this fact, one of the rocks on the beach (there is still no consensus which one) – is the stone of Aphrodite and has a magical power, and if you hold an uncomplicated ritual around it, you can meet your true love and find eternal youth.  During summer, though the beach is pebble here are a lot of tourists who swim around all the rocks and climb on them. After a series of photos on the background of the rocks, we went back.

 

 

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After 20 minutes away we were in the legendary Paphos and quite hungry. We quickly found free parking at the end of the boardwalk and went in search of a tavern. The first thing I noticed is a large variety of fish taverns Unfortunately,  I have to say, our choice was bad, food was all frozen, and nothing really fresh as we thought it would be.  We actually chose a “Bar Cafe” instead of the proper fish restaurants around that area.   It was just a bad decision on our part to sit at that place.  Food was a lot ,for the price, however, not fresh.

 

 

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Did you know that Paphos, during the reign of the Romans was the capital of Cyprus?  Now there are many hotels, restaurants, nightlife and cozy picturesque bays, which is fully consistent with the canons of luxury holidays. Paphos is also famous for its historic sites, many of which are protected by UNESCO. I can note the Villa of Dionysus, the Royal Tombs, the catacombs of St. Solomon.  By the way, there are many museums in Paphos, among them the Archaeological Museum, the Ethnographic Museum of Eliadis and the Byzantine Museum. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit all of them.

 

 

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We managed to visit the Medieval Castle of Paphos.  Oh, yes, I love castles and will not miss the opportunity to visit one of them. The exterior that reached the present day in the Ottoman architectural style acquired a castle in 1592 after its reconstruction by the Turkish governor Ahmed Bey.  Nowadays, the castle of Paphos has the status of a museum and every year in September the Paphos castle serves as the venue for an opera festival dedicated to Aphrodite. Recently, in the castle wedding ceremonies are held very often (good to know for me).

 

 

This was a very rich day that passed so quickly and the time has come to come back, but new adventures awaited us…

 

 

READ MORE: CYPRUS FOR WINTER HOLIDAYS PART 3

 

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