Aphrodite's Rock - Atlas Obscura

Aphrodite's Rock

Kouklia, Cyprus

This sea stack in Cyprus is traditionally seen as the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. 


Aphrodite’s Rock, also known as Petra tou Romiou, is a prominent geological formation located along the coast of Paphos, Cyprus. The rock is an iconic landmark and holds significant cultural and mythological importance. According to Greek mythology Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was born from the sea foam near this rock.

According to Cypriot folklore, Aphrodite rose from the waves off the coast of Paphos. And she didn’t come alone—a plethora of fairies arose from the waters with her and guided her to shore.

Legend has it that she emerged fully grown from the waves and was blown by the winds to the shores of Paphos. Due to its connection to Aphrodite, the rock has become a popular destination and is considered a symbol of love and fertility. Many people come to swim around the rock three times believing they will be granted new love or if you’re already in a relationship, you will be blessed with pregnancy as well as good fortune and eternal love in your marriage. Aphrodite’s Rock has become a pilgrimage spot for newlyweds, who swim around the formation in the hopes of earning the goddess’ good graces.

Since the moment she stepped on the shore, Paphos has been considered Aphrodite’s main center of worship, not only to Cyprus but also to the wider ancient world. There are many sacred sites and sanctuaries dedicated to her that have been unearthed in the area, including Roman shrines honoring her as Venus and votive sites to her as Hathor-Isis, Ishtar, and Astarte among many other epithets.

The present name, Petra tou Romiou, which means “Rock of the Romans” refers to the legend of a hero of the Eastern Roman empire from the ninth century called Digenes Akritas. He was half Syrian and half Roman, hence his name, which means “double born”. According to legend, Digenes threw a huge stone in the direction of the Saracens to prevent them from invading the island. There is another large rock nearby called the Saracen Rock.

The rock sits off the coast of a pretty but stoney beach although the waters are very clear here, making it perfect for snorkeling.

Know Before You Go

There's a free parking lot and shops nearby. It is not possible to access the beach with a wheelchair.

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April 18, 2024

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