Heritage and identities

Heritage and identities: Kato Pafos Archaeological Park

The following presentations will he held during the Thematic Group sessions:

1.      Marios Christodoulides, Architect Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Simpraxis Architecture Design Studio, will give a presentation on “Awarded 1st prize for the UNIFICATION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES OF KATO PAPHOS Competition” on Friday the 18th of March at 14.00 and will take place in LEDA ROOM (mezzanine).

2.      Dr. Kyriakos Themistokleous – Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Cyprus University of Technology, will give a presentation on “Cultural Heritage and New Technologies” on Saturday the 19th of March at 16.00 and will take place in LEDA ROOM (mezzanine).

Paphos has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. It was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Aphrodite’s legendary birthplace was on this island, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century B.C. It is situated in the District of Pafos in western Cyprus and is a serial archaeological property consisting of three components at two sites: the town of Kato Pafos, and the village of Kouklia. Kato Pafos includes the remains of ancient Nea Pafos (Aphrodite’s Sacred City) and of the Kato Pafos necropolis known as Tafoi ton Vasileon (“Tombs of the Kings”), further to the north. The village of Kouklia includes the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite (Aphrodite’s Sanctuary) and Palaepaphos (Old Pafos). Because of their great antiquity, and because they are closely and directly related to the cult and legend of Aphrodite (Venus), who under the influence of Homeric poetry became the ideal of beauty and love, inspiring writers, poets, and artists throughout human history, these two sites can indeed be considered to be of outstanding universal value.

Kato Pafos Archaeological Park is located in Pafos, southwest Cyprus and is situated near Pafos Harbour. The park, still under excavation, is within the Nea Pafos (“New Paphos”) section of the coastal city. Its sites and monuments date from prehistoric times through the Middle Ages, while most remains date to the Roman period. Of the most significant remains are four Roman villas, the House of Dionysos, the House of Orpheus, the House of Aion and the House of Theseus, all with preserved mosaic floors.  In addition, excavations by the Cypriot Department of Antiquities and foreign archaeological missions have uncovered important monuments such as the Agora, the Asklipieion, the Odeion, the “Saranta Kolones” (Forty Columns) Fortress, the “Limeniotissa” ruins of an early Christian Basilica, and the Hellenistic-Roman Theatre. The complex also includes a necropolis known as the “Tombs of the Kings”.

The inclusion of the Kato Pafos archaeological site in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1980 was the starting point for the creation of a General Plan whose aim is to sustain the outstanding universal value of the site over time, protect and maintain the archaeological remains, preserve the site’s unique values for future generations, reinforce efforts undertaken within the framework of the national legislation to minimise dangers of encroachment and the erection of inappropriate buildings and  promote the site of the archaeological park as probably the most inspiring and exciting site on the island.

Pafos is protected and managed according to the provisions of the highly effective national Antiquities Law and the international treaties signed by the Republic of Cyprus. Pafos (both the town of Kato Pafos and the village of Kouklia) is for the most part under government ownership, due to the policy by the Department of Antiquities to gradually acquire land within the sites and their vicinity. Furthermore, the Antiquities Law provides for the establishment of “Controlled Areas” within the vicinity around the sites to control the height and architectural style of any proposed building. However, there is no buffer zone, though the national Antiquities Law provides for the establishment of “Controlled Areas”, in the vicinity of the archaeological sites. Fortunately, the site of the Archaeological Park does not suffer unduly from adverse effects of development and/or neglect. Development pressures in the surroundings of the site that threaten to alter the landscape and setting are being dealt with through cooperation with other governmental departments and the local authorities. Finally, Pafos was given “enhanced protection” status in November 2010 by UNESCO’s Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

The city of Pafos is a vast archaeological area of exceptional architectural and historic value that contributes extensively to our understanding of ancient architecture, ways of life and thinking. It is a living cultural place that combines very rich, diverse and time-deep landscapes with rapidly evolving modern and contemporary landscapes of a distinctive 21st century kind that fuse extreme urbanisation with the impacts of tourism. Both identities– the ‘past within the present’ and the ‘future in the present’ – speak to us about the role of heritage in society, and in economic and environmental terms. Notably heritage, tightly entwined with memory as it is, contributes to the formation and modification of identities.  This role of heritage is explored in Cultural heritage represents important spots for orientation and identity in a dynamic and changing landscape.

For the workshop, monumental heritage sites and their relationship to the cultural identity of the city as well as their connection to tourists and everyday people will be closely examined.  Archaeological locations will be visited centered on Kato Pafos Archaeological Park  whose surrounding landscape provides a chance to consider a wide range of time-depth, multi-temporal layering, presumed local and regional identity, and landscape as well as building/site heritage. One aim will be to raise awareness about the relationship between individual cultural monuments and sites on the one hand, and on the other hand, the wider functional, historical, perceptual and symbolic landscape which underlies present day identities. Questions, challenges and themes might include:

  • Is professional landscape practice currently involved in heritage / identity?
  • How people relate to cultural landscapes individual sites/ monuments, or certain landscape elements?
  • How is heritage regarded by different groups such as local town-dwellers, rural populations, incomers, tourists, professionals and practitioners, politicians?
  • What meaning can we afford to read into heritage as landscape in regions with long visible histories as they undergo rapid change; to what extent is the local population aware of cultural / historical values in the landscape?
  • How far and in what ways is/can be/ should be heritage and inherited character (e.g. building styles, layout, and values) used to influence development and design? Are cultural monuments valuable and in which ways?
  • How we can increase awareness of the connection between landscape and heritage sites?
  • How sites and monuments in a landscape relate to each other?


Download info file: LLF2016_Pafos_Heritage