gios Georgios (St George) at Peyeia is a well-known pilgrimage site on Cape Drepanon in the Pafos district in the west of Cyprus. In this area, between 1952 and 1955, the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus excavated three Early Christian basilicas and a bath, all dated to the 6th century. The excavations were continued by the Aristotelean University of Thessaloniki in 1992-98, and then taken over by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture’s Archaeological Expedition in Cyprus in 1999. During the excavations an extensive unwalled settlement was revealed occupying the neck and the south slope of the cape in the Roman and Early Christian periods. The settlement flourished under Justinian I (527-565 A.D.).
Situated at the western-most extremity of the island and at the mid-point of the sea route between Alexandria and Rhodes, the settlement was probably a port of call for the ships that transported grain from Egypt to Constantinople. The centre of the settlement on the neck of the cape is occupied by a large complex consisting of a large three-aisled Basilica A with adjacent structures on the north side, an open quadriporticus and a baptistery to the west. A smaller three-aisled basilica with a transept is annexed to the north side of the baptistery. The complex is completed to the west by a large two-storey ‘episkopeion’ (bishop’s residence), built in the style of a Graeco-Roman house (with rooms around a four-sided open courtyard).
To the north of Basilica A, the excavations have uncovered a bathtub incorporated into a large courtyard, in which a subterranean tomb of the Roman period, (accessed via a staircase), was used to collect the effluent from the bath. To the north-east, at the side of the road leading inland to Peyeia, are the remains of the small three-aisled Basilica C with adjacent structures along the north side (sacristy, oil press, well, guest-house, and courtyard).
The core of the settlement, which has yielded parts of houses, underground cisterns, and a third three-aisled Basilica B, lies at the foot of the southern slope of the cape. The settlement’s necropolis, with tombs carved into the rock, occupies the brow of the steep cliff rising from the west and northwest shore of the cape. On the natural plateau between the site of the basilicas and the necropolis is the place of pilgrimage of St George located with the pilgrims’ lodgings around the small single-aisled chapel of the same name, founded in the late 13th-early 14th century. The stone-built domed church of St George was built more recently.
Opening hours: for Public Holiday opening hours see home page Winter hours (16/9 – 15/4 )
Monday – Sunday: 8.30 – 16.00
Summer hours (16/4 – 15/9)
Monday – Sunday: 9.30 – 17.00
Accessibility: Non wheelchair accessible
Courtesy of the MCW