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 Larnaca castle is located on the southern point of the coastal avenue known as ‘’Foinikoudes’’ in Larnaca. It was founded during the Byzantine period, with the earliest sources to be dated in the 14th century AD. The Chronographer Florius Boustronius and Jauna date the reconstruction of the castle to the years of Luzignian King James I (1382 – 1398 AD), who built it to protect the harbour of the town....
The Lefkara Dam is located in the Larnaca district. It is located at an equivalent distance between Nicosia (32 kilometres), Limassol (48 kilometres) and Larnaca (42 kilometres). The access to the dam is from a dirt road which meets the paved road and connects the villages of Pano Lefkara and Lythrodontas. The dam was built in 1973 over the Pentaschoinos River at an altitude of about 400 metres and has a capacity of 13.9 million cubical metes....
Mackenzie beach is about 15 minutes from Pervolia in Larnaca. It is a flat beach which makes it suitable for families with children. There are many facilities at the beach such as sunbeds and umbrellas. There are water sports available at the beach such as jet skis, speed boats, water skiing and windsurfing. There is also diving available due to the Zenobia shipwreck which is in the area. There are many restaurants in the area to eat or drink at...
North of the village of Kalavassos in the district of Larnaca and at a distance of about two and a half kilometres is the chapel of Panagia Lambroforousa. The chapel is located very close to the chapel of Archangel Michael. It is also built at a mountain hill. Its roof is tiled and is arched. The chapel is very simple and can accommodate up to ten guests. The chapel is made of stone and it is white washed. The main entrance of the chapel is on...
In the centre of the village of Kalavasos in the Larnaca district, between the stone built traditional houses is where the central church is. The church of Panagia Theotokou I dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is celebrated on the 3rd of September.The church was built in 1892, at the beginning of the 19th century. Architecturally it is built in a cross type. It is a considerable large church and can accommodate up to 300 guests.Externally the...
The Saint George Chapel is located south of Kalavasos in the district of Larnaca about three kilometres distance from the village, on the road towards the Mari village. The chapel is located in a flat area surrounded by wild vegetation. It is a small plain chapel with an arched roof.Its exterior is made of mud and it is whitewashed. The courtyard is paved with concrete and it is fenced with a small wall. It does not have a bell tower. The...
The Saint George Kefala Chapel is located about three kilometres outside the village of Kalavassos in the Larnaca district. It is said that the church is miraculous for headaches which is why the residents in the village named the chapel this way.The chapel was built during the 19th century and architecturally it is made up of one room with an arched rood and roof tiles in the shape of the temple. There isn’t anything in particular to the...
Stavrovouni monastery is situated on the highest point of the mountain of the same name (Stavrovouni), which is in located in Larnaca. This mountain was previously known to be Olympus, however a higher point of the Troodos Mountain has that name today. The Stavrovouni is devoted to the Holy Cross. In Greek Stavrovouni means the mountain of the cross.The monastery of Stavrovouni was established by St. Heleni who was the mother of Constantine the...
The mosque in Kalavasos in the Larnaca district, has been a worshipping area for the minority of the Muslims who lived in the village for about a century. An articular the mosque was abandoned in 1967 when the Muslims moved to the neighbouring village of Mari in 1967.The mosque was probably built in the village around the end of the 19th century near the main church of the village in the main square. It is worth noting that the Mosque has...

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