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Paphos Old Town


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Paphos old town: A walk in the past

Published by Oat Sitalasai — 5 years ago

Every single vacation requires walking around the city or town center, and as much as Paphos is a beach city and that summer-cation kind of destination, it is absolutely crucial not to overlook the historical beauty of its town center. So just briefly, your holidays in Paphos, located on the western coast of the Greek side of Cyprus, should include a stay in a decent hotel or apartment short-rent, a car or vehicle to get around the island, at least three local Cypriot meals, and of course, either spending a few hours at the beach or heading over to what I will share with you today, The Old Town for a nice afternoon stroll.

To get to The Old Town, just get to the town's main intersection, which is the traffic light where the municipalities and the police station are. From here, turn left, and keep going straight.. well there will be signs that would point to The Old Town. If you're feeling super energetic, you could even try to walk to The Old Town from where ever your accommodation is. A walk from to this section of town is roughly fifteen to twenty minutes from Tombs of the Kings Road, and I would say around half an hour to forty five minutes from the harbour. The residents of Paphos would agree that during spring or falls the weather and temperature are perfect for this sort of walk, and I would recommend this to you if you happen to be in town around those times. If you are driving, then the trip will be less than ten minutes, but that really depends on the traffic and the time of the day.

Speaking of the time of the day, this does play an important role in determining how your walk in The Old Town will be. Most shops in Paphos do take afternoon breaks, but we call them "lunch breaks". Different shops and different establishments will have their own time for his afternoon pause, but you could expect this period to be somewhere within 12 noon to about 3 or 4pm in the afternoon. During this time, shops will be close and you won't be able to do your shopping or look around. There are usually a few exceptions, but these are quite rare, and again, depends on the season and time you go to Paphos.

It wouldn't be so interesting if I just go on and on about the shops they have here, because the main focus of this post is The Old Town, which refers to its history, culture and identity. With this in mind, the photos I took were taken during the afternoon, while the shops all took their little break. This allowed us to walk around without any distraction from the mannequins sporting the latest fashion trend and what not.

It was a super hot day and most of the people chose to go to the beach and hit their personal and hotel swimming pools instead of walking through the town. As you enter the street, you could expect this :

PAPHOS OLD TOWN A WALK IN THE PAST

This is how the streets look like in the town when people take their breaks. Cyprus typically has a culture rich in family values, so a good portion of the working people would go home and enjoy lunch with their family. It is also very common to head out with friends to a place like Kourides, a family-run restaurant that serves delicious and varied home cooked meals every day for lunch. If you would like to find out more about this restaurant, back track on my post and look out for the title with something like Kourides and you will not regret it.

Back to The Old Town in the afternoon. As you could see from the picture earlier, we were pretty much the only people walking around here. The locals don't really come around this area in the afternoon as there is nothing to do. This was the perfect setting to take pictures of the peaceful town, something that is very rare in other towns and cities.

I also really like the style of the streets and their buildings. The streets are pretty small and most of them will only have one lane that is just good enough for one car. This only means one thing: many, many one way streets in The Old Town. If you're driving, the best advice I could give you is to follow the locals and only make turns that you're super sure of. And of course, don't worry about getting lost because you most likely will.

PAPHOS OLD TOWN A WALK IN THE PAST

The buildings are a little bit more mainland Europe looking here, as you could see by the balconies and style of the doors and entrances of this barber shop. I will later show you guys the traditional style of buildings and houses around here, but personally I just find that this section has something quite different and unique.

Another thing you will do well to notice is that almost every single sign is written in English. Your assumption may be that this is a very touristic destination so they try to accommodate by putting up English signs, and you may be right. But I think another reason, if not the main reason, as to why there are English signs everywhere, is because Cyprus was once under British rule. If I'm not mistaken, this history was only within the last one hundred years, so it's not too distant history. This also explains why so many people can communicate in English (they speak quite a decent level of English here), even the older grand fathers and grand mothers out there. I've come across many people and had always been surprised when older people spoke to me in English, but now I understand.

Moving on from this shopping street, make a left turn or make any turn you want that would lead you to something new. We did just this and turned left into a small street. Here, we were able to see much older houses and buildings, like the ones here in the photo :

PAPHOS OLD TOWN A WALK IN THE PAST

My assumption is that this building was once (or maybe could still be today) home to offices and something similar. One thing for sure is that it looks super run down and terribly maintained (if this is even considered a part of the maintenance). But I see this from a positive point of view and really see this building as very artistic, and may I say, very authentic, rustic and original. Just to add on to the current context, Paphos has been honoured with the title of European capital of culture 2017, hence various projects to live up this title. If you think that this building is as old and as rustic as it gets here in The Old Town, wait until you walk a few steps further.

You will come across a rustic looking house similar to this one here :

PAPHOS OLD TOWN A WALK IN THE PAST

It is very common to find these houses around, all scattered in different locations during town. These houses will have scars showing its interior made from bricks, rocks and other resources that were locally sourced. The windows and doors are usually made out of wood and then painted in colours that are usually blue and or grey. After years being on the block, these colours do fade away, creating colours that are pale and really worthy of its very own instagram filter. There is just something wonderful about these houses now that some of them actually sit side by side with the new kids on the block.

But what is a town center without the very place people would meet up in? For the case of The Old Town, we have this beautiful church, which is hidden away form the main shopping streets and the modern hustle and bustle:

PAPHOS OLD TOWN A WALK IN THE PAST

Unlike the two previous examples of a building and a house, the church is very well maintained and looks super clean. I also really like the style of churches and other religious elements in this town. You could see, even from a distance, that the church holds a clean, white and pure colour, very similar to those expensive marbles. I think the colour combination as well as the material of this beautiful church is something to really take in. Everything from the dark-brown wooden door, to its lighter brown tiles on the roof, to the bell tower, to unique looking facade and windows, to even the smallest details of the property was really interesting.

Everything I've just mentioned can be seen within five minutes of walking through the main entrance of the street. There are also other attractions in the area, but unfortunately, I did not take any photos of them, so if I were to share my experience with you guys, without pictures, that would be super boring for you the readers. I will leave it at this: you should find some time to take a walk in The Old Town of Paphos, just to soak in the rich history, culture and identity of the town. Whether you go during the break for the shops or early in the morning with the local market, I am confident that this walk will not only be good for your health, but also good for your knowledge of the country and its history!

Paphos 2017 - European Capital of Culture: http://www.pafos2017.eu/

The Modern Face of Paphos an interesting read on what Paphos was, has become, is, and will offer!

If you like the content of this post, or just want to check out some pictures that I take on my adventure, feel free to like and/or follow me on instagram at oat93, cheers!

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