The Mosaics of Ancient Paphos, Cyprus

mosaic house of aion paphos cyprus
Apollo judges a music contest. The House of Aion, Paphos, Cyprus.

The ancient city of Paphos, Cyprus, at the edge of the current city of Paphos, is called the city of mosaics. Not a bad thing to be known by. The ancient parts of the city are, collectively, a Unesco World Heritage site. They are spread over various parts of town, but for the most part, so indeed distinguish themselves with lots of excellent mosaics.

leda mosaic house of aion paphos cyprus
Leda prepares for her date with the swan. House of Aion.

These five mosaics are in threee excavated homes of what obviously was the wealthy part of town. The House of Aion is the smallest of the three, but, for me, has the most delicate and expressive of the works. The Leda at her bath, who is about to meet Zeus in the form of a swan, is a marvel in its detail, which rivals that of a fresco. Unfortunately, the walls of all these homes are gone, so no frescoes to compare with.

minotaur mosaic house of theseus paphos cyprus
Theseus and the Minotaur, in the House of Theseus. Note that the frame is a maze.

The House of Theseus is a huge home, with over 40 rooms, but unfortunately many of the mosaics are covered for protection and you can only see them on the signs posted next to where they are buried in sand. I love though, that this Theseus and the Minotaur is exposed, and that the surrounding mosaic is in the form of a labyrinth.

wine drinkers mosaic house of dionysius paphos cyprus
The legend says, “The first wine drinkers.” Note that they are drunk. Appropriately in the House of Dionysius.

The House of Dionysius is also large, with perhaps 20 rooms, and it has been totally enclosed with new modern walls and a roof, so all the mosaics are visible. They've built an elevated walkway throughout the new building over the ruins of the interior walls. So, you can see all the floors of the rooms and their mosaics.

animals mosaic house of dionysius paphos cyprus
Also from the House of Dionysius, a hunting scene with a boar and a tiger.
trees bent by the wind paphos cyprus unesco world heritage
The constant wind near the coast of Cyprus makes the trees permanently bent.

As a bonus when walking around Paphos, you'll see vistas like this–a reminder of the constant sea wind that aided sailors for thousands of years.

Paphos is a Unesco World Heritage site in Cyprus. For a list of all Cyprus Unesco World Heritage sites, with links to posts about the ones we've visited, click here.

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6 thoughts on “The Mosaics of Ancient Paphos, Cyprus”

  1. These look amazing. I have become fascinated with mosaics since I visited Ravenna which just blew me away. This makes me now want to go to Cyprus, as well as all the other places you have photographed.

  2. Ravenna is a completely unexpected, even when you think you are ready for it. I have never seen mosaics like it–not Venice or Torcello or Istanbul. If you know Yeats’s poems about Byzantium, it was the Ravenna mosaics he was actually describing. He never saw Istanbul itself. and the mosaics in Hagia Sophia are crude compared to those of Ravenna.

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