Larnaca

Larnaca is located at the southeast cape of Cyprus. It is the successor town of the ancient Kitio, one of the most important kingdoms in ancient Cyprus, the birth city of the Philosopher Zinona. Today it is the third largest town in Cyprus, with a population of 62,997 residents (including Aradippou and Livadia). In Larnaca there is also an international airport which is the largest in Cyprus.

History

Kitio was founded by Greek immigrants during the 14th century and was later an important community of the Finikon. It is known that during Kimon the Athenian died while he was battling it in 450 B.C. During the 1st century A.D, Kitio had started to accept Christianity and Agios Lazaros, the friend of Christ had become the first episcope of the town. Lazaros had fled to Cyprus after Christ had been resurrected and lived in Kitio until his death. The most important of the temples in Larnaca is that of Agiou Lazarou which was built around 900 A.D and is believed to have been built at the same place as the saint was buried.  The name of the town comes from the word Larnaca which is a stone sarcophagus. Many sarcophagus were found in the area which also shed light on the ruins of the ancient town of Kiti.

The ancient town was closed in with walls from antiquity but these were destroyed by the Romans. The port of the ancient town was recently discovered towards the centre of the town which is an indication that the sea used to be further in.

The Larnaca port

During the beginning of the 2nd century B.C Cyprus needed ports in order to satisfy the increasing marine needs, the merchant trades of the world then and the increasing export of copper from Cyprus towards other well-known civilisations. Larnaca was at an excellent geographical position for easy access to Syria, Palestine, Finiki, the Aegean and Egypt.

At the same time, two large prehistorical communities were developed in Larnaca. One is Byzakia near today’s Hala Sultan Teke which is central towards the lake which was once an open sea, and the other one north of the lake towards today’s Faneromeni church. The second community extended towards the hills where today’s Chrysopolitissa is located and is the same church which has been rebuilt for 4000 continues years. The first community in Hala Sultan Teke was abandoned around 1075 B.C. After a large natural disaster and due to the sea entering the land it closed off the natural port and became a lake as we know it today.

A port was built at the second community later at Kitio from the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. Later the port was transferred to today’s archaeological site Pamboula and was within the Cyclopes walls of the town from the beginning of the 1st century B.C until the 4-5th centuries A.D when it was abandoned due to the sea. During the Byzantine, the port operated near today’s castle where during the last Louzinian, Venetian and Ottoman years it became the most important port in Cyprus in concern to trade. After the creation of the man-made port in Ammochostos by the British in 1920, the port of Larnaca declined until 1974 when the Turkish occupation occurred and the modern port of the town was built.

Medieval period

During the medial period, Larnaca was also called Alykes due to the fact that it was near the large lake which has sea water and dries out during the summer producing salt. The lake was known from antiquity and is mentioned by Plinios.

During the ruling of the Franks (1192-1489), Larnaca was not an important town however it had begun to develop as a port in 1373, when the main port of Cyprus which was Ammochostos became occupied by the Genouates.

Turkish occupation

Larnaca remained an important port even during the Turkish occupation (1570-1878) and part of it was also known as Skala due to the fact that that is where the ships stopped. Various Cypriots, Greeks and foreign merchants stayed in Larnaca during the Turkish occupation. Many of them also served as ambassadors or merchant representative of various countries     (England, France, Russia, America, Austria and others). Therefore Larnaca was a town of ambassadors and merchants and became the most developed town in Cyprus.

Independence

As all of Cyprus, Larnaca especially began to develop with a fast pace from its independence in 1960. After the Turkish invasion of 1974, its development began more rapid and more impressive. The closing of the international airport in Larnaca due to the invasion, lead to the creation of another international airport in the lake area which is today’s main and largest airport in Cyprus. The loss of the main trade port in Ammochostos resulted in the development of the Limassol port as well as the Larnaca port. At last the loss of the traditional tourist areas in Ammochostos and Kerynia lead to the use of other areas in Cyprus, including Larnaca in which many modern and luxury hotels were built. The main oil storages are also located near the town. These are all the reasons which Larnaca has met its development today.

Larnaca photos

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Larnaca location map

Attractions in Larnaca and places to see (map)

Cyprus attractions - Larnaca district

The Royal Chapel of Agia Katerini is located at a small distance from the Nicosia-Limassol Highway at the west end of the village Pyrga.  It is built at a low hill which looks over a smaller river of the River Trimithos.The chapel was built and decorated in 1421/22 according to an inscription which lost today. It must be noted that there is also the possibility that the chapel was dedicated to Το the Pathos of Sotiros. It is a small...
Somewhere near the centre is the three part church of the village, dedicated to Agious Anryrous , Kosma and Damiano. The church was built on the base of another smaller church in 1871. The opening of the newest church which is saved today was done during the end of the 19th century in 1893. The carved templo of the temple is of the 19th century. What is especially impressive in this church is an Italian chair of the 16th century. The particular...
Agios Antonios Church is one of the most important Byzantine churches in Cyprus. The church is located at Kellia, in the city of Larnaca and is dated in the 9th century A.D. The church is build based on the byzantine three-aisled vaulted basilica. The Agios Antonios church undergone several restorations and reconstructions. In the interior of the church, significant wall painted are preserved, dating to the 9th, 11th and 13th centuries.Location...
Agios Georgios Arperas Church can be found in the Tersefanou village in Larnaca near the Angeloktisti Church. The Agios Georgios or Saint George Arperas Church was founded in 1745 by the Dragoman Konstantinos Christofakis. The church is situated outside of Tersefanou village, on the site of the medieval village of Arpera.A fresco in the church present him and all his family offering the Church to Saint George to thank him, according to legend,...
The chapel of Agios Nektarios is located in Kalavasos village in the Larnaca district at the location of Agiou Kalogirou. It is located north of the village at a distance of two and half kilometres outside the village. It is small and simple and it can accommodate fifteen guests. Tradition takes us back a few years and recounts how in the same exact position there was a cave and on top of the cave there was the chapel of Agiou Kalogirou. With...
The church of Agiou Lazarou is built on the beach zone of Larnaca and is a worshiping centre of Agiou Lazarou in Cyprus. The relationship of the saint with the apostles on the island was close. After his rising Agios Lazaros fed to Cyprus where he met with Apostles Paul and Varnava who made him an episcope of Kiti. Sources mention that he was buried in a marble Larnaca which had an inscription on it which stated: The four day Lazaros and friend...
The monument is built at a mountain area of the Larnaca district, at the borders of the Vavla village near the river banks of the Maroniou village. The exact date of the foundation is not known. The first witnesses for its existence are dated from the year 1562. During the following centuries we have an abundance of inscriptions in books and other items. In November of 1737, the monk Vasilios Barsky visited the monastery and described the...
Angeloktisti Church is located in the village of Kiti, in Larnaca. It dates back to the 11th century and was erected over the ruins of an earlier Christian basilica dating in the 5th century A.D. This earlier basilica has a semi-circular synthronon which survives, nowadays, in the bema of the Church of Panagia tis Angeloktistis.According to the local tradition, the people of ancient Kition left their city and moved to Kiti in order to escape the...
Archangel Michael Chapel is  located to the north of Kalavasos Village in the Larnaca district about half a kilometre distance at the hill of a mountain. It was built around the mid-20th century. Architecturally it is made up of one room and it is an arched roof temple.  The exterior of the temple is made of plinth and is whitewashed. The temple’s courtyard is comfortable, it is concrete paved and there is a low fence from...

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