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Paphos Castle and Habour (Paphos, Cyprus)

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An historic castle on the edge of Paphos Harbour.

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      16.12.2010 17:14
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      I love the harbour area but like visiting in the evening the best of all.

      PAPHOS HARBOUR Paphos is a very popular holiday resort on the west coast of the island of Cyprus. There's something here for everyone, whether you are interested in its architectural heritage, the shopping, or the many bars and restaurants, or if you feel adventurous enough to try water sports or a boat trip from the harbour then this is a place you will enjoy. On our family holidays to Paphos, we always like to visit the harbour area and in fact do this several times. Last year we stayed at the Ledra Beach Hotel and from there it was possible to walk to the harbour along a pathway which could cope with push chairs. It wasn't completely paved but seemed well underway. It was a hot trek in August, although if visiting outside the summer months when Cyprus is at its hottest then this would prove a pleasant walk, especially in the evening. This year we stayed on the outskirts of Paphos and so we used the local busses to travel to the harbour. The bus service in Cyprus is quite good and reasonably priced. Most journeys cost 1.50 Euros, some are less. Paphos Harbour is a lively, bustling area and well worth a visit. BOAT TRIPS The harbour's a great place for water activities. Along the harbour just before the restaurants you'll find the boat owners offering the best prices. It's worth haggling here. You can try scuba diving, take out a speedboat or, do as we did and hire the boat AND the driver. We decided on a half hour speedboat trip and it was a terrific experience. Boats leave from here to take you on trips around the harbour or further out. All types of vessels- a pirate ship or why not try a glass bottomed boat? SHOPPING There is an abundance of gift shops and mini marts in this area. Most shops are comfortably air conditioned and in the summer its worth shopping just to enjoy the cool air blowing through these shops. They sell everything here, with gift shops displaying souvenirs, postcards, swimwear, and beach shoes, and much more. There are sweet shops, leather shops, and a good choice of jewellers. The stores are varied with the usual gift shop to the more upmarket. RESTAURANTS Paphos is a place of contrast because, as with its shops, there are also modern cafes and restaurants, while others remain more traditional. You can try Greek fare, Italian, Chines or Indian. There is, though not necessarily a good thing, a Macdonald's and a pizza hut, but they are not right on the harbour, thank goodness! The owners of the many restaurants along the harbour will vie for your custom, offering free carafes of wine or a discount. You are spoilt for choice. Many are so keen to entice you into their restaurant, or to one of their outside tables, that they will often create something for you. Most have vegetarian options such as veggie moussaka or risottos, pizzas and omelettes. The meat dishes are wide in choice and if you like sea food well, as this is the harbour you really are spoilt for choice. Service is good as the competition is fierce, although everything, and everyone, seems to be in good humour. This is a wonderful place to dine of an evening with the lights s reflecting from the boats onto the sea. The busses seem to stop around 11.30 p.m. but taxis are easy to obtain either by hailing, or they stop, or from the taxi rank near to the harbour. Please agree a price first. HISTORY/CASTLE Romans, Byzantines, Greeks all have their place in the history of the island of Cyprus. If you are interested in the history then you will enjoy the castle which was built in the Byzantine times to protect the harbour. The castle was reconstructed in the thirteenth century and then dismantled in 1570 by the Venetians, when the Ottoman Turks invaded the island. Part of the castle was restored in 1592. It has been used not only to keep invaders out but to keep prisoners in, when used as a prison. It has also been used, strangely as a salt store. Although this building was a protected one it suffered with the earthquake of 1953. The castle is a popular attraction for visitors to this area. And if you would like to see the Roman mosaics then these can be seen here to, as can a Roman villa with its mosaic floor. The harbour area has a lighthouse and an amphitheatre, which can hold over one thousand people, at its events. I think it's wonderful that this amphitheatre is still in use. If you visit the Paphos area then I would recommend a trip to the harbour.

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