Petra tou Romiou

Kouklia, Cyprus

Petra tou Romiou, also known as Aphrodite's Rock, is a sea stack in Paphos. The combination of the beauty of the area and its status in mythology as the birthplace of Aphrodite makes it a popular tourist location. According to one legend, this rock is the site of the birth of the goddess Aphrodite, perhaps owing to the foaming waters around the rock fragments. Another legend associates the name Achni with the nearby beach, and attributes this to it being a site where the Achaeans came ashore on their return from Troy.

Excavations have unearthed the spectacular 3rd- to 5th-century mosaics of the Houses of Dionysus, Orpheus and Aion, and the Villa of Theseus, buried for 16 centuries and yet remarkably intact. The mosaic floors of these noblemen's villas are considered among the finest in the Eastern Mediterranean. They mainly depict scenes from Greek mythology.

The present name Petra tou Romiou (Rock of the Greek) associates the place with the exploits of the hero Basil as told in the Digenes Akritas. Basil was half-Greek (Romios) and half-Arabic, hence the name Digenes (two-blood). Legend tells that Basil hurled the huge rock from the Troodos Mountains to keep off the invading Saracens. A nearby rock is similarly known as the Saracen Rock.

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Kouklia, Cyprus
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More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

Nathalie DS (3 years ago)
Beautiful sight but not much around to do. Avoid the hottest hours of summer as there is literally no shade anywhere. Cross from the cafe to the beach through an underground passage, don't cross the highway!
David Benn (3 years ago)
This used to be called Aphrodite's rock. And legend had it that if you swim around it you will have everlasting love. I swam round it in 1967 and have now been married for 46 years, maybe there's something in it. There is a small gift shop and tavern at the other side of the road where you can park for free and a tunnel under the road for safe access. Well worth a visit if only to throw a few pebbles into the sea.
Aris Vidalis (3 years ago)
This is an iconic place in Cyprus. A place from where you watch beautiful sun sets especially in late autumn. And nice for swimming. The seawater is usually turbid though because of the southwestern winds. There is always a crowd here but it doesn't feel too crowded.
Ірина Менчинська (3 years ago)
Unforgettable experience. Don’t forget to climb on the rock - the beautiful view will appear for you! Before the trip better to take good shoes for your comfortable climbing.
Ling Lin (4 years ago)
One of my favourite spot in Cyprus. Much quieter than the commercial beaches full of tourists. Turquoise water and the sea stack are gorgeous, absolutely wonderful to enjoy a good afternoon there.
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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.