Petra tou Romiou – Rock of Aphrodite
A not-to-miss attraction in Cyprus is Petra tou Romiou, widely known as Aphrodite’s Rock.
As one of the most photographed rocks in the world and one of the most impressive natural sites of the island, this huge rock along with its satellites and surrounding pebbly beach is located just off the southwest coast of Cyprus in the Paphos district. As revealed by its name, it is associated with Aphrodite, the legendary goddess of sensuality and fertility. According to the ancient Greek writer Hesiod, this wonderful creature arose from the waves of this strikingly beautiful spot after Uranus’ (Sky) blood-stained testicles, mutilated by Cronus, fell into the water and mixed with foam. Hence, her name Aphrodite, meaning “Foam Born”. A myth states that if one dives into the waves at midnight in a full moon, one will be blessed with everlasting beauty. In reality, the waters around the rock are so turbulent that tourists are strongly discouraged from swimming there.
As for the Hellenic name of the site, Petra tou Romiou, “Rock of the Greek”, it refers to the deeds of the Byzantine “two-blood” hero, Digenis Akritas, who is said to have hurled a huge rock from the Troodos Mountains into the sea to keep away the invading Saracens by destroying their ships. Another tradition likes to imagine that the hero with supernatural strength threw the rock at pirates in order to protect his beloved lady.