The necropolis of Nea Paphos is located in the north and east of the city, just outside the fortifications. The northern part of this huge necropolis is known as the "Tombs of the Kings" and covers an area of 1.2 sq. Km.
The Tombs of the Kings owe their name to their size and magnificence - some must belong to the Paphos aristocracy and not because the Kings were buried there. They are carved on rocks and date back to the Hellenistic and early Roman years. Many of them look like regular houses, with rooms (here are burial rooms) that open onto a peristyle patio. They look very much like graves found in Alexandria, proving the close relationship between the two cities in the Hellenistic years.
The cemetery was in use from the Hellenistic period until the Roman era (2nd century BC-2nd century AD). The tombs were also used by the early Christians, and some of them, once appropriately modified, were also used in the Middle Ages by troglodytes. At the same time the site was a timeless quarry.
There are tombs of various types on the site: simple rock-hewn pits, road-made chambers and one or two burial chambers containing burial pits and, finally, tombstones. These are the most impressive. They consist of a large underground rectangular outdoor courtyard carved in natural rock.
The galleries surrounding the courtyard are supported by limestone columns of Doric style. The funeral chambers and funeral pockets are carved on the sides of the galleries. There is much evidence to suggest that these tombs bear frescoes, modeled on the corresponding Macedonian tombs, native to the Ptolemies.
The nearest tombs can also be found in the Ptolemaic necropolis of Mustafa Passia in Alexandria. The architectural features of both cemeteries are Greek and come from the Hellenistic house model, while the nave-shaped facade of the tomb no. 8 refers to the well-known Macedonian tombs of Vergina in Macedonia.
Note: Wheelchair accessible (top view only).
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Accreditation: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Operating Period: All year