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location iconHarbour, Paphos, Cyprus telephone icon+357 2630 6217 website iconWebsite

Compared to other harbor fortresses around the world, the Medieval Castle fo Paphos is a modest structure. Yet it doesn’t lack charm. The views from its top floor inspire nostalgia and a sense of romantic wonder.

Paphos Castle: Medieval fort with a checkered past

Symbol of the city, the Medieval Castle has a frantic history. The first Byzantine fort to protect the harbor, Saranta Kolones, was destroyed by the 1222 Cyprus earthquake. It was a violent event that caused significant loss of life and extensive damage. In fact, archeological discoveries at the site of Saranta Kolones revealed the remains of a man who died trapped in the castle’s main drain trying to escape the quake. The ruins of the first sentinel of the port still stand and can be seen inside the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park.

To replace the fortress destroyed by the 1222 AD earthquake, the Frankish rulers erected a new structure with two towers in the middle of the 13th century, but this too suffered changes later.The Genoese captured Paphos in 1373 and made changes to the stronghold also shaping its moat. At the end of the 15th century, the round tower of the new Paphos Castle was destroyed by an earthquake. Its ruins can be seen at the west of the existing tower. In 1570, as the Ottoman threat drew near, the Venetians destroyed the second tower. The building that stands today guarding the harbor is the 1780 Ottoman restoration of the original Frankish western tower with the Venetian enhancements.

The Ottomans used the basement of the castle as a long-term jail, while the garrison lived on the upper floors. They also used the central room as a mosque and set twelve battlements with cannons on the roof to protect the harbor. When the Turks handed over the administration of Cyprus to the British in 1878, the guns were removed. The building was subsequently used as a salt warehouse until 1935 when the edifice was declared an Ancient Monument under the Antiquities Law.

Today, the Paphos Medieval Castle is a notable landmark open to the public every day, year round. It is a lovely sight from the land, and it’s also worth a visit for its rooftop vistas, which allow you to observe the sea and the harbor in all its muted splendor.

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Open daily

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Summer hours

(16th April - 15th September) 8:30 - 19:30

Winter icon

Winter hours

(16th September - 15th April) 8:30 - 17:00

Entrance €2,50
Leonardo Cyprus Hotels & Resorts Leonardo Cyprus Hotels & ResortsLeonardo Cyprus Hotels & Resorts

More Architecture & Ancient Sites

Tombs of the Kings
This magnificent underground necropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. Recognized for exceptional historical value, the Tombs of the Kings (Tafoi ton Vasileon) are the final resting place of Ptolemaic aristocrats and officials who lived in Paphos from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD.
Kato Paphos Arhaeological Park (Paphos mosaics, House of Dionysus)
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980, the Kato Paphos Archeological Park lies within the Nea Pafos area of the city. It is an outstanding tourist destination, noted for its ancient houses and ecclesiastical buildings unearthed from 1962 when the Department of Antiquities commenced digs at the site until today.
Agia Solomoni Catacombs
A pistachio tree with rags and pieces of cloth tied sturdily around tiny twigs and branches guards the entrance to the Agia Solomoni Catacombs. It’s supposed to be sacred, with offerings for Agia Solomoni, the Jewish martyr who was forced to watch her seven sons being tortured and killed by Antiochus IV Epiphanes for refusing to eat pork.
St. Paul's Pilar
St. Paul’s Pillar stands next to the ruins of Panagia Chrysopolitissa, a monumental basilica at its time. It is said that the Roman Governor Sergius Paulus ordered the saint to be tied to one of the columns that now lie in the close proximity to the ancient basilica and flogged for preaching Christianity. The column still stands marked by an inscription in stone.

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