Sanctuary of Aphrodite, Kouklia, Cyprus

repro mosaic leda aphrodite temple paphos cyprus
The reproduction of the mosaic of Leda and the Swan is in situ in a house thought to be that of the temple priests.

We more or less stumbled upon the Sanctuary of Aphrodite as we were starting toward the Unesco World Heritage painted churches up in the mountains of Cyprus. Legend has it that Cyprus is the birthplace of the goddess of love, and this site was her “sanctuary” dating back to 1500 B.C., long before even the supposed date of the Trojan War.

This sanctuary was the goddess's main worship site in the ancient world from the time it was built until it was left behind in the late 4th Century when Christianity took over. The site is mostly destroyed due to myriad earthquakes, intentional destruction by Christians, and scavenging building materials over the centuries for other uses.

orig mosaic leda aphrodite temple paphos cyprus
Here is the original mosaic, which is behind glass in the Sanctuary Museum, and is a bitch to photograph without reflections. I need to come back with a tripod and polarizing filter.

So, the site itself is rather spare, with just a few columns and fragments of walls left to suggest its early grandeur. However, there is a very nice small museum on site with plenty of artifacts from the area, and, like I said the original mosaic of Leda and the Swan that was removed long ago by treasure hunters but later recovered.

sanctuary aphrodite kouklia cyprus
The sparse ruins of the temple of Aphrodite give only the barest hint of what once was.

2 thoughts on “Sanctuary of Aphrodite, Kouklia, Cyprus”

    • Hard to say, Debra because you couldn’t look a them side by side. The reproduction was outside under a bright sun, and the original inside under crappy lighting, and behind reflective glass. So you couldn’t get a look at it without any reflection unless you stepped all the way back to the other side of the room, which is what I did. So you have different light, different photography parameters, so I wouldn’t infer that the original is necessarily richer. It’s just photographed under warmer light.


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