Between the villages of Evretou and Sarama, we discovered a stone bridge dating from 1618. Built by the Venetians, it crossed over ‘Stavros tis Psokas’ river (a tributary of the Chrysochou River that flows through the Paphos Forest), though the path of the water has since moved.
Located across from the bridge (you have to drive across the valley to reach it), is the Skarfos Watermill. It is a good idea to have four-wheel drive as some of the way can get quite muddy, especially in spring.
Agios Neophytos Monastery
Located 15km west of Paphos, this monastery was founded by the monk Neophytos in the 12th century. According to legend, Neophytos had become a hermit in a cave here, wishing to study the word of God alone. Unfortunately, this idea attracted followers and he was soon mobbed by visitors. He fled deeper into the caves before eventually building a second level, pulling the ladder up behind him, and only talking to his followers through holes in the floor. By the time he died in 1214, the Engleistra encompassed his hermitage cell, a small chapel, and his tomb. As an additional point of interest, Byzantine paintings cover the Engleistra’s walls. The majority of the paintings completed in the original Engleistra portion of the monastery during Neophytos’ life were done by Theodore Apsuedes in 1183, as mentioned in the saint’s writings and a surviving inscription in his cell. The further reaches of the monastery that were also painted in the twelfth century were completed later, most likely sometime after 1197.
We were allowed to walk through the rest of the monastery complex, including a small museum encompassing Byzantine icons and ecclesiastical objects.
Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock)
On the other side of Paphos, on the way to Limassol, is a sea stack that is, according to one legend, the birthplace of Aphrodite.
According to the myth of Aphrodite, the goddess was born out of sea-foam when Uranus was cut by a sickle and fell into the sea (he had been attacked by his son Cronus). At the spot where Uranus had plunged into the sea, water began foaming and bubbling. Suddenly, the most beautiful maiden appeared on the surface. While the waves at first gently carried her toward Cythera, Zephyrus, the Western Wind, ultimately guided her to the shores of Paphos.
Aphrodite attracted a large cult following in Paphos, which was eventually crushed by the Romans. A local myth states that any person who swims around the Aphrodite Rock will be blessed with eternal beauty.
The Greek name, however, associates the place with the exploits of the hero Basil. Basil was half-Greek (Romios) and half-Arabic hence the name Digenes (two-blood). Legend tells that the Christian Basil hurled a huge rock from the Troodos Mountains to keep off the invading Saracens.