Kouklia is the ancient capital of Cyprus – Palaipafos (ancient Pafos), 16 kilometres east of the modern town of Pafos. The site of Palaipafos and its surrounding area are linked to an ancient cult associated with the “Great Goddess”, the goddess of fertility, who was subsequently called Venus or Aphrodite worshiped in Cyprus since the Neolithic period. The Myceneans, who settled on the island at the beginning of the 12th century, adopted the worship of Aphrodite and erected a sanctuary in her honour. According to tradition, Kinyras, the local legendary king, was the founder and first High Priest of the sanctuary. Another legend, however, mentions Agapenor, the king of Tegea in Arcadia, Greece, as the founder of the city and the sanctuary.
Palaipafos remained the largest rural and religious centre of western Cyprus, from the beginning of the Geometric period until the end of the Classical period. When the last King of Palaipafos, Nikokles, moved his capital at the end of the 4th century B.C. to the newly- founded Nea Pafos, the town retained its importance thanks to the continuation of the cult at the temple of Aphrodite. During the Roman period it became the centre of the newly established ‘KoinonKyprion’, (the ‘Confederation of the Cypriots’), which dealt with religious affairs and the cult of Aphrodite, of other Gods and the Roman emperor. It also controlled the island’s bronze coinage.