Spread along the southwestern coast of Cyprus, the sprawling Tombs of the Kings are eight excavated tombs dating back to the third century BC. Around 100 Ptolemaic aristocrats are estimated to have been buried there, along with a substantial trove of jewels and personal effects, long since pillaged by grave robbers.
This well-preserved necropolis features a series of sunken graves and underground chambers pocked with niches, although only minimal traces of the original stuccos and colorful frescoes remain. One of the tombs was converted into a chapel during early Christian occupation, and evidence of pottery work indicates that the catacombs were used as dwellings or workplaces during the Middle Ages. One of the most popular attractions in Paphos, the Tombs of the Kings are a stop on many area tours; going with a guide can be useful as there isn’t much in-depth signage at the site.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This archaeological site is a must-visit for anyone interested in ancient history.
- Wear sturdy shoes and bring sun protection as the ground here is uneven and much of the site is exposed.
- The Tombs of the Kings do not accommodate wheelchair users.
- Combination passes are a good deal for travelers planning to visit multiple sites, with 1-, 3-, and 7-day passes available.
How to Get There
The Tombs of the Kings site is located right off the main road (E701) that runs along the southwestern coast of Paphos, about a 10-minute drive north of Paphos Archaeological Park. There is plenty of free parking in a lot in front of the site, and buses to and from the city center stop on the main road, a few minutes' walk away.
When to Get There
The Tombs of the Kings archaeological site is open throughout the year, except on Christmas, Orthodox Easter, and New Year's Day. Open hours are 8:30am to 5pm from mid-September to mid-April, extended to 7:30pm between mid-April and mid-September.
What’s in a Name?
Archaeologists don’t believe kings were buried at the Tombs of the Kings (especially as the tombs were built after Cyprus’ kingdoms were abolished following the Ptolemaic conquest). It’s likely that the site instead gets its name from the grandiosity of its architecture. However, at one tomb, archaeologists found two statues of eagles (the royal emblem of Ptolemais), and some postulate that a king from the Ptolemaic dynasty may have been interred here.