The ‘Tombs of the Kings’ is the impressive necropolis that is located just outside the walls, to the north and east of Pafos town. It was built during the Hellenistic period (3rd century B.C.) to satisfy the needs of the newly founded Nea Paphos. Its name is not connected with the burial of kings, as the royal institution was abolished in 312 B.C., but rather with the impressive character of its burial monuments. The ‘Tombs of the Kings’ was the place where the higher administrative officers and distinguished Ptolemaic personalities as well as the members of their families were buried. The necropolis was continuously used as a burial area during the Hellenistic and Roman periods (3rd century B.C.-beginning of 4th century A.D.). There is sufficient evidence to support the fact that the first Christians also used the site for their burials, while at the same time the site constituted an endless quarry. Squatters established themselves in some of the tombs during the Medieval period and made alterations to the original architecture.
The existence of the site was already known from the end of the 19th century by Cesnola, who severely looted the tombs. In 1915-16 the then curator of the Cyprus Museum, Markides excavated some shaft tombs, while the honorary curator of Paphos Museum Loizos Philippou started clearance work in a few others tombs in 1937. But it was in 1977 that systematic excavations were undertaken by the Department of Antiquities, which brought to light eight large tomb complexes.
Most of the tombs are characterised by an underground, open aired, peristyled rectangular atrium completely carved into the natural rock. Columns or pillars of the Doric style supported the porticoes, which surrounded the atrium. The burial chambers and the loculi for single burials were dug into the portico walls. It seems that the walls were originally covered with frescoes although today only small fragments are preserved. The tombs’ architectural characteristics directly relate them to Hellenistic prototypes from Alexandria, Delos, Pergamon and Priene.
Distance from Julipapas Gardens: 5,7 Km
Contact No: Tel: +357 26 306 217
Operating Hours: April 16 – September 15, daily: 08:30 – 19:30
September 16 – April 15, daily: 08:30 – 17:00
Operating Period: All year round.
Closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday (Greek Orthodox).
Entrance Fee: €2,50
For organised groups consisting of more than 10 persons there is a 20% reduction on the entry fees.
The Department of Antiquities can issue special entry cards for all its museums and ancient monuments: One (1) day entry cards – €8,50, three (3) day entry cards – €17,00, seven (7) day entry cards – €25,00.
Disabled Access: Partially wheelchair accessible (view from above only).