About 2 miles northwards of the Old Harbour you will find the Tombs of the Kings. The tombs are impressive enough to be worthy of kings. They are burial caves carved into the bedrock of the hill and decorated with Doric columns and capitals. You can freely walk about the place once inside, searching through the rooms of the tombs, with parts underground carved into the rock.
This Necropolis of Pafos is situated on the North East section of the town, right outside the ancient town fortifications. The northern section of this vast Necropolis is known as “The Tombs of the Kings” and covers an area of approximately 1.2 square kilometres. The name of the site is derived from the magnificence of the tomb structures; which in many of these the Doric architectural rhythm is evident. These tombs appear to have been the burial grounds of the members of the political and executive elite of the then Capital of Cyprus, Pafos, during the Ptolemaic period of reign on the island.
At the site you may view tombs of various types: Simple tombs which are dug into the solid rock to multiple chamber tombs which contain corridors leading to two or more burial chambers (which used to house the burial sarcophagus) and magnificent columns dug out of the rock. These are indeed the most imposing. The underground chambers are surrounded by a courtyard which is upheld by limestone columns of Doric rhythm. The burial chambers and sarcophagus are annexed to the sides of the structure. Many clues lead to the conclusion that the walls of the structure where adorned with paintings, similar to those present in Macedonian tombs, the place of origin of the Ptolemaic.
Seeing that the tombs cover a wide area you may expect to spend at least 1-2 hours there. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, preferably trainers, as these tombs are dug into solid rock mounds and you will be expected to walk up and down rocky stairwells which tend to be slippery due to dirt and gravel. If you will be visiting the site during the hot summer months make sure you wear a hat and carry with you a small bottle of water as this site is uncovered and exposed to the blistering Cypriot summer heat. Nevertheless these tombs are a site worth visiting and will at times make you feel like a modern day Indiana Jones! The fact that it is acclaimed as a UNESCO Heritage Site reveals the historical significance of these tombs.
The site is adjacent to the main road leading from Pafos to Coral Bay where you may find an array of bars, restaurants, shops, hotels and is very close to the beach. It can be reached by car easily. A taxi from Pafos centre will cost around €8 or €15 from the Pafos International Airport. You may also use the bus service which makes its way there daily and on frequent intervals from the Pafos central promenade to Coral Bay.
Organised excursions are available at local travel agencies and the offices of the Cyprus Ministry of Tourism in all towns
• Dates back to 300 BC
• UNESCO World Heritage Site
• Significant tombs numbered from 1-8
• Fantastic architecture from the Ptolemaic period.
• Influences from the Greek and Roman periods
Look Out For:
• Wear comfortable shoes, preferably trainers
• If in the summer carry with you some water and wear a hat. Sunscreen is advisable as well as the Cypriot summer tends to be very hot
• Littering is strictly prohibited throughout the site
• Carving and/or inscribing anything on the rocks or altering the form of the site in any way is against the Law