House of Dionysos

Paphos, Cyprus

The House of Dionysos is a rich Greco-Roman type building where the rooms were arranged around a central court, which functioned as the core of the house. It seems that the house was built at the end of the 2nd century AD. and was destroyed and abandoned after the earthquakes of the 4th century AD. The House of Dionysus occupies 2000 square metres of which 556 are covered with mosaic floors decorated with mythological, vintage and hunting scenes. The magnificent mosaic decorations and the mythological compositions are the main characteristics of this restored Roman villa and it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Paphos.

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Founded: c. 190 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Cyprus

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Joao Carlos Vergueiro (7 months ago)
The mosaic pavements of the House of Dionysus, and the surrounding mosaic houses, are among the finest to be found in the Mediterranean and are the top tourist attraction in Paphos. They are part of the larger Paphos Archaeological Site, which spans the western side of the harbor. Discovered accidentally by a farmer ploughing his fields, the mosaic artwork here is excellently preserved, depicting scenes from Greek mythology using vibrant natural limestone colors. One of the most well-known mosaics is found at the back of the house, depicting a Ganymede being taken back to Olympus by an eagle. The most famous mosaic though, is the scene depicting the triumph of Dionysos with the God in a chariot drawn by leopards, while behind him are a gathering of followers engaged in various revelries. In this house, look to the top left for a depiction of Leda and Zeus in the form of a swan. The top right panel shows Dionysos as a baby, accompanied by various nymphs, and the middle panel depicts a beauty contest between sea nymphs of which Aion is the judge. The final picture shows Apollo punishing a foolish man who had challenged the God to a musical duel and lost.
B H (14 months ago)
Great place to visit. Go early and take plenty of water.
Peri Lai (14 months ago)
Breathtaking ancient mosaics
Remote Life (16 months ago)
Very interesting house of Dionysus, something unique.
Tony Jack (2 years ago)
Definitely for the amateur explorer or the curious interested in ancient history. Some of the mosaics on the floors and walls of what were once villas are in good shape with some designs that would go well in any modern villas anywhere. The site is devoid of tall trees and there is hardly anywhere to hide firm the hot sun. Take water with you and there is an entry fee, but at times the kiosk isn't manned. Click like if the comments are useful to you. Enjoy.
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Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.