Petra tou Romiou is a geological formation of massive rocks, with one rock predominantly larger than the rest, found in the southeast coast of Paphos. A long and narrow pebbly beach stretches along the coast extending on either side of the rocks. Strangely enough, geologically there is no relation between the famous rock and the adjacent formations. This has caused the rock to be shrouded with mystery, myths and legends.
The birthplace of the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite
Most notably, this stunning natural site is believed to be the birthplace of the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. The legend states that Aphrodite is born after sea foam forms around the mutilated genitals of the god Uranus. She emerges from the sea on a shell and drifts towards the rock. Hence, this site is sometimes referred to as Aphrodite’s rock. This myth has also led to the building of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in the nearby village of Kouklia. It is believed that anyone who succeeds in braving the rough seas prevalent in that area and swims around this rock will be blessed with eternal beauty.
Petra tou Romiou literally means “the rock of the Greek”. This term does not refer to the myth of Aphrodite’s birth but to another myth. It is related to the legendary Byzantine hero Digenis Akritas, also known as Romios. He kept the pillaging Saracens away with his incredible strength by hauling huge rocks into the sea towards his enemies and destroying their ships.
Locals also claim that when the sea is rough, waves rise and form a column of water which dissolves into a pillar of foam and for a fleeting moment it looks like a human figure. The majestic views of this location together with its romantic appeal make it one of Paphos most popular tourist attractions.