Aphrodite's Rock, Cyprus

Petra tou Romiou, a rock off the shore along the main road from Paphos to Limassol, has been regarded since ancient times as the birthplace of Aphrodite, goddes of love and fertility.

According to ancient tradition, Aphrodite was born from the waves on the site off the coast of Cyprus. In his Theogony (178-206), Hesiod provides the following dramatic account of the event:

Aphrodite was then escorted ashore on a shell by the soft breezes of the Zephyrs at the rocks known as Petra tou Romiou.

This myth is, of course, most memorably depicted in Botticelli's Birth of Venus (on display in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence). A much older rendering of the event can be seen in a fine mural at Pompeii.

Homer's account of Aphrodite's birth is less dramatic. He said she was the daughter of Zeus and the fresh water nymph Dione, at whose bosom she would sometimes seek solace (Iliad 5.370-417).

Petra tou Romiou means "the Rock of the Greek" and does not refer to Aphrodite but to another myth, that of the Byzantine hero Dighenis who threw the rocks at pirates to protect his lady.

It is said that in certain weather conditions, the waves rise, break and form a column of water that dissolves into a pillar of foam. With imagination, this looks for just a moment like an ephemeral, evanescent human shape.

There is a long narrow pebbly beach at Petra tou Romiou that extends to either side of the largest rock and its satellites.

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Getting There

You can park on the old B6 on the uphill side of the road. Pedestrian access to the beach is via an underpass.

Quick Facts on Aphrodite's Rock

Site Information
Names:Aphrodite's Rock
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:34.663923° N, 32.627163° E
Address:Cyprus
Lodging:View hotels near Aphrodite's Rock
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Bernard McDonagh and Ian Robertson, Blue Guide Cyprus, 4th ed. (1998), 103-04, 107-08.
  2. Marc Dubin, The Rough Guide to Cyprus, 5th ed. (2005), 157-58.

More Information

© Colin Moss
© Holly Hayes
© hadae
© John Thurm
© Steve Wood

Map of Aphrodite's Rock, Cyprus

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