Located within a rich fertile plain in the foothills of the Troodos mountains, the small town of Polis, which in Greek simply means ‘town’, overlooks the beautiful bay, with its warm, clear and safe seas. With its quaint sandstone buildings around a pedestrianised town centre with its restaurants, bars and souvenir shops, it is a delightful place to hang out on a summer evening. Don’t miss the Church of Agios Andronikos near the town square, with its 16th century wall paintings, which for 400 years served as a mosque and today stands as a monument. The 18th century church of Agia Kyriaki is also interesting or the open-air naive sculptural exhibition. The small church of Agios Nikolaos in the pedestrian precinct is also used for Catholic masses. A small eucalyptus wood lies between the town and the sea, providing shade for a camping site by the beach. Polis is a 45 minute drive from Pafos airport and just over two hours from Nicosia.
Officially, the town’s full name is Polis Chryssochous, which means the ‘town of gold’, thanks to the nearby copper and gold mines. It is believed that Mycenaean Greeks first settled in the area about 3000 years ago, while legend has it that returning heroes from the Trojan war established a city here. One of Cyprus’ ten great city-kingdoms, called Marion, flourished here thanks to the nearby mines and the resulting trade. Marion had strong ties with Athens but subsequently fell to the Persians. When Kimon, the great Athenian general, tried to free Cyprus from the Persians, Marion was the first city he liberated. A statue in memory of Kimon stands in front of the Polis cultural centre. Later Marion was destroyed during the success struggle following Alexander the Great but was finally rebuilt by Ptolemy II who renamed it Arsinoe after his wife and sister. The Polis archaeological museum in the heart of the town has finds from Polis’ glorious past. The ruins of this great ancient city, Marion-Arsinoe, can be seen near the hospital.
The Polis Archeological Museum is open every day and closed on Sunday.
Agios Andronikos church, open only on Sunday 09:00 – 16:00, Entrance, free.