One of the reasons for my absence between Christmas and a couple of days ago was that I have been out of the country relaxing and enjoying some fine weather. Whilst Strasbourg suffered in the cold and under 6cms of snow I was having to brave the 21C temperatures, beaches etc of Cyprus. This was my fourth visit to the island and the second New Year I have spent there.
This visit we decided to see some of the sites on the island connected to Aphrodite,(wiki) the goddess of love. The picture is of Petra tou Romiou (wiki) which is refered to as Aphrodite’s birthplace. The Encyclopedia Mythica says of Aphrodite’s birth:
According to Hesiod, she was born when Uranus (the father of the gods) was castrated by his son Cronus. Cronus threw the severed genitals into the ocean which began to churn and foam about them. From the aphros (“sea foam”) arose Aphrodite, and the sea carried her to either Cyprus or Cythera.
The next place we went to the the Temple of Aphrodite, or Sanctuary of Aphrodite, at nearby Palea Paphos. The description by Sacred Destinations is not far wrong:
The ancient Sanctuary of Aphrodite consisted of rustic, relatively impermanent buildings, like most temples in the pre-Hellenic Middle East. This, in addition to the damage done to the site over the centuries, means that little has survived of the temple except the low foundations on the north.
The other part of the site worth visiting are the Leda Mosiac House which has a replica of a mosaic depicting Leda (wiki) emerging from a stream and baring her behind to the lustful Zeus-swan, who is tweaking her garment in its beak. The original of the mosiac is in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia. There is also a museum in the former headquarters for the Crusaders sugar plantation.
The third place we visited was Loutra tis Afroditis, or the Baths of Aphrodite, where:
after swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Bay, Aphrodite used to bathe in this pond, surrounded by idyllic landscape with the sweet smelling wild flowers. It is here that she met her beloved Adonis for the first time. Adonis was hunting in the Akamas forest when stoped over the woderful spring to quench his thirst. He was struck by the sight of the naked goddess bathing in the crystal waters. Aphrodite and Adonis were instantly bewitched by each other’s extraordinary beauty.
There was a man stood there in a suit, presumably to make sure that we didn’t avail ourselves of the Goddess’ bath, especially any Aphrodites and Adonises who should wish to follow their illustrious forebears. Here endeth the Goddess part of the report from the New Year excursion.