Well, the sun finally came out for the last couple of days of our trip to Aphrodite’s Isle so, having visited the Baths of Aphrodite on a previous visit, this time we headed to the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Kouklia and the nearby ‘birthplace’ of Aphrodite at Petra tou Romiou (Rock of the Greeks, aka Aphrodite’s Rock).
From all accounts the cult of Aphrodite was a fairly salacious forerunner of the 1960s summer of love (not that I personally witnessed the former and was too young to be a participant in the latter!) and Aphrodite was not actually born at her ‘rock’, but merely made landfall there, apparently carried ashore on a turtle shell.
The beach at her birthplace is shingle and very painful to walk upon barefooted. Still, I paddled there in the Med and made landfall myself, sadly not as Adonis, but as a late-middle-age Brit with his jeans rolled up to his knees.
This is the coastline with the furthermost sea stacks identifying the ‘birthplace’:
… and this is where she made landfall:
The cult of Aphrodite on Cyprus really took off around the 12th century BC so it was no surprise on our earlier visit to discover that the Baths of Aphrodite is actually a rather attractive freshwater pool fed by a small waterfall and not what we would recognise today as a proper bathtub. More of a surprise, then, on our current visit to discover it could well have been a ‘proper’ bath. The Palaepaphos museum at the Sanctuary of Aphrodite has a terrific carved limestone bathtub on display at the Sanctuary dating from the 12th century BC, inclusive of an inner seat and a sponge holder:
Anyone old enough to remember the 1979 TV mini-series ‘The Aphrodite Inheritance’, itself set in Cyprus, will probably recall that Alexandra Bastedo played the role of a mythological goddess in human form. I don’t think her character was supposed to represent Aphrodite per se despite the fact that she had developed her own cult-following after playing Sharron Macready in the late 60s TV series ‘The Champions’ . Maybe that is what piqued my interest in Cyprus and the Aphrodite connection, or maybe it was because a young Greek woman called Afrodite once thought me good-looking 😉