According to the myth Paphos is the son that the goddess Aphrodite bore, and it is for this reason that the city is founded under the patronage of Aphrodite. The area was first inhabited by the cult of Aphrodite. Architectural remains of the Hellenistic and Roman period still exist, as Paphos grew to become an important city during the pre-Christian time. Under Greek rule Paphos enjoyed big economic growth, yet soon the Romans became the main power in the Mediterranean and the Greeks submitted under their control. In 46 AD Saint Paul visited the island and converted the governor. During the Middle Ages the Byzantines protected Paphos from foreign invaders.
The capital of Cyprus was moved to Salamis, and was an important place for many of the soldiers of Richard the Lionheart’s Third Crusade. The Crusaders left Cyprus, then the Byzantine ruling house moved on, and in this time the Venetians, Turks, and British all took turns to rule. All these changes of power left Paphos in decline. Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960 and the country was allowed to join the League of Nations. The pro-Greece Cypriot government took control, sparking an invasion by Turkey in 1974 that split the island indefinitely. Paphos, however, benefitted from the invasion as two competing resort towns became part of Turkish control, and the Greek-Cypriot government invested in Paphos as a business centre and tourist destination.