Paphos

IMG_0908[1]14 – 15 July. A couple of days at Larnaka, then to Paphos. Feeling real chilled, after having explored the World Heritage Site ‘Tombs of the Kings’ up the road from my hotel. The Tombs of the Kings site is a complex of underground rooms and chambers used as tombs in Greek and Roman times from around 300BC to 300AD by wealthy and high-status residents of Paphos. IMG_0903[1]

The entrance is the busy ‘Tombs of the Kings’ road, and the whole complex is adjacent to the beach. As soon as you enter the noise of the traffic is muted and replaced with atmospheric distant sounds of waves and crickets and cicadas and the wind rustling in the olive and cypress trees – and occasional dopey pigeons, who had taken wholehearted advantage of the nesting opportunities in the complex. (When the tombs were built, the pigeons must have thought all their Christmases had come at once. Thanks, humans, for gifting these beaut nesting places to us!) Gratifyingly, there weren’t too many tourists around. Those that were, were probably thinking ‘gee it’s great – not too many Australians around’!

IMG_0904[1]It was easy to imagine I was back in Petra. The rock rooms, recesses and chambers were eerily like those carved out by the Nabateans in that unbeatable place.

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Hoofed it a couple of kilometres in the heat down to the Paphos Harbour and the Archaeological Park which features some impressive mosaics from Roman times. Gee, I have to say, the Romans loved their mosaics. Even after a couple of millenium of weather, wars and looters, they turn up all over Europe and the Mediterranean, often in prime condition. And they must have taken so frigging long to FINISH.

I can just imagine some poor mosaic craftsman in Roman times, going through his third mid-life crisis and really, really over his job, thinking “Holy Jupiter. Just got this huge commission from the Emperor Honorius for one of his country estates down at Tivoli. The floor size of this thing won’t be much less than that of the Colosseum. I have to do a double border around the edge, with squiggly wiggly lines and a repeating pattern of fish within the double border. Then in the centre, the Emperor wants a depiction of the Sacking of Troy, FFS. I AM SO SICK OF THIS! IF I SEE ONE MORE PIECE OF TESSERAE (fancy name for a piece of mosaic) I’M GOING TO PUKE!”

Or: “I labour away creating these bloody things, and all people do is walk on them! The Goths and Vandals are coming through in a century or so, give or take a few years, and you can’t bloody well tell ME, they’re going to tippy toey across my mosaic trying not to kick a piece of tesserae out of place! What an unbelievably meaningless job this is! As if in 2000 years time, people will be looking at my mosaics full of appreciation for all the work I put into them!”

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~ by margoforte12 on July 15, 2013.

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