The Old City of Paphos


As I walk through the dusty, rugged old city of Paphos, I am hearkened back to a bygone era. For a moment I am a Roman soldier parading through the town in my finery. I am powerful. I am admired, feared, and respected. People watch me as I pass by their homes, and men salute me because I have authority. I march with my battalion through the streets where men work hard, sweating in the suffocating heat and humidity. I watch as women tend their homes and their children. I hear the sounds of people chatting, catching up on all the news. I listen for the orders of my commanding officer, bellowing out his orders. It is easy to be ensnared by the sights and sounds of a ruined city, and wonder what life was like two thousand years ago. My imagination knows no bounds as I walk through these once crowded streets in a city which was rich, a city of huge cultural importance. So important was it that it replaced the capital of Cyprus and became one of the most important strategic sites of the ancient world. My mind shifts as I enter the house of Dionysus and I am now in the great hall being entertained by my host, the Roman Pro Consul. Laughter fills the room, men and women gathered to share their lives with one another, or at least an evening. I stand on, and marvel at, the great mosaic floors which have withstood the test of time. As the evening draws to a close, my imagination brings me back to the present and I wonder at these ancient monuments before me. How could they have survived an earthquake? As I stand in the arena which once entertained people from all walks of life, I marvel at Roman ingenuity, and the sheer sustainability of what they had created. And as I head to leave the old city, passing the ancient castle which stands proud no longer, I am glad. Glad to have had the chance to exercise my imagination. Glad to have been part of something which once was great. Glad that I will go home to my own little piece of history. And I tell myself that I will go home and let others know of this great ancient sight worth visiting in the idyllic island of Cyprus. But I wonder if my minds eye will grant me my request, that I will always know how I felt that day when I stepped back in time in the old city of Paphos? Time will tell.........

P Cathcart

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