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May 23, 2007

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Pafos, Cyprus

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Jamas! That's Greek for "cheers" and is pronounced "yamas". Last week, we left off from the Elysium Beach Resort in Cyprus. This week, we continue our trip through Europe's southernmost country, visiting historical sites, dining on mezes (small dishes, like tapas) and staying at a wide assortment of hotels. If you're in a hurry, there's a 2-minute Johnny Jet video at the end of this week's story.

A quick recap from last week: Although Cyprus joined the European Union in May 2004, it hasn't switched to the Euro yet (it's expected to do this on January 1, 2008). At the date of publish, $100 USD equals 42 Cyprus Pounds (CY£) and 100 Cyprus Pounds equals $233 USD. Use to determine current currency rates.

I didn't want to check out of the Elysium because it was so plush, but I knew that the next place on my weeklong press tour was going to be just as nice, if not nicer. The Elysium is located just minutes away from the ancient city of Pafos (also spelled Paphos). Pafos is located on the west coast of Cyprus and was the capital of Cyprus for 600 years. Pafos is so full of history that the entire city has been declared a UNESCO heritage site. For starters, right next to the Elysium are the Tombs of the Kings. You can walk there from the resort. The tombs are carved out of rock and the entrances resemble temple facades. They were used during the Hellenistic and Roman periods and are set underground. Despite the name, there aren't actually any kings buried in these tombs but rather rich citizens and high-ranking government officials. Walking around these burial chambers, with their Doric columns and small courtyards, made me feel as though I were on the set of an Indiana Jones movie. Highly recommended! The entrance fee is CY£1 ($2.32 USD). For more information, see

Five minutes from the Tombs of the Kings in the upper part of Pafos (the city is divided into two parts) is a daily market open from 6:30am to 2:30pm (it's closed on Sundays). Here, you'll find fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables. Half a block away is the beginning of town where you'll find plenty of restaurants to dine in and shops to pick up souvenirs. On my swing through, I stopped by the post office to buy stamps for my postcards. FYI: To send a postcard to the U.S. cost 26c ($0.60 USD).

In 45 AD, St. Paul, who traveled here from Antioch, came to preach Christianity. For this, the Roman governor punished him with 39 lashes and a pillar, appropriately called St. Paul's Pillar, marks that very spot. The area was excavated by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus and is now a monument. Also found here is the body of Eric Ejegod, the King of Denmark from 1095 to 1103, who stopped in Cyprus on his way to the Holy Land and died suddenly. Many churches have been built on this property but after numerous wars and a major earthquake, they kept being replaced. The first was a Christian Basilica erected in the 4th century and the last was built in the 16th century. It's still standing and today is called the Cruciform Church of Agia Kyriaki and is a Catholic and Greek Orthodox place of worship. FYI: Cyprus is 78% Greek Orthodox .

One of Pafos' major attractions is the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park. The highlight here is the House of Dionysos, an old Roman villa that dates back to the 3rd century. The incredible mosaic floors, which mostly depict scenes from Greek mythology, are in such good condition that they're considered the finest in the world. What's amazing is that these mosaics weren't actually discovered until 1960 when a farmer accidentally uncovered them while cultivating a field. The park has other worthwhile sites as well, including a reconstructed 2nd century Odeon where concerts were once held. My most memorable moment was skipping out on our private, guided tour and wandering through a field of thousands of bright yellow flowers until I wound up at a locked lighthouse where the view, even from the base of the coastline, was divine.

Just a short walk from the park is the bustling port of Pafos. The outdoor cafés, souvenir shops and the Medieval Fort of Pafos (originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbor) are filled with tourists. The fort is bare inside but the entrance fee of CY£1 ($2.32 USD) is worth it for the view from the top.

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Copyright 2007 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


Entrance To The Tombs Of The Kings


Tombs Of The Kings


Doric columns


Pafos Market


Monument Area


St. Paul's Pillar






Medieval Fort of Pafos


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