Larnaca - Town of Kimon

On the edge of Larnaca Bay the palm lined seafront of Larnaca town bustles with cafes, tavernas, shops and bars. Historic charm is lent to the scene by its fortress castle, now used as the towns summer cultural centre.

Larnaca is an excellent base from which to get to know the central and eastern section of Cyprus, and its proximity to the International Airport and a number of luxury hotels that have been developed along its beautiful sandy beaches make this a popular holiday choice. Larnaca was originally known as Kition, or Khittim, and legend has it that the first settlement at the spot was founded by Noahs grandson Khittim. But the name Larnaca probably comes from the Greek word Larnax, which means sarcophagus many of which have been unearthed in this area.

The towns heyday was as an ancient city kingdom established by the Mycenean Greeks in the 13th century BC, when it enjoyed the dual position of rich sea port and major centre of the copper trade. Remains of that period excavated in recent years can be seen in its Cyclopean walls and a complex of Mycenean temples at the ancient Kition site.

Birthplace of the stoic philosopher Zeno, Larnaca was also the second home of St Lazarus, who arrived there after his resurrection and later became its first Bishop.

The Church of St Lazarus standing in the centre of the town is well worth a visit the tomb of St Lazarus, who is still the patron saint of Larnaca, is under the sanctuary.

The town was not to regain its standing until the 17th century, when it became the consular and commercial centre of Cyprus, and its port once again flourished with trade

It was here that the British landed in 1878 to begin their rule of the island. Much smaller than Nicosia or Limassol, Larnaca has a population of 62,000 and has managed to retain a relaxed, leisurely atmosphere.

Its main shopping area is Zenon Kitieos Street, a typically busy road of small shops, with a wonderfully colourful fruit and vegetable market at the far end. Larnaca is known for its annual celebration of the Feast of Kataklysmos Greek Orthodox Whitsun, which is an important holiday, the occasion is marked by enthusiastic water sports, feasting, singing and dancing.

Places of Interest

Larnaca District Archaeological Museum

Kalogera Square Interesting collection of finds from the Larnaca area, dating from the Neolithic Age to the Roman period.

Pierides Museum

Remarkable private collection of Cypriot antiquities, originally gathered together by Demetrios Pierides (1811-I895), and further enriched by members of the family.

Larnaca Fort

Larnaca seafront. Built in 1625, it was used as a prison in the first years of British rule. It now houses a small archaeological museum, with finds from Kition and the Hala Sultan Tekke excavations. The Fort is also used as the Larnaca Municipal Cultural Centre.

Ayios Lazarus Church

The magnificent church was built by Emperor Leo Vl, in the 9th century. Restoration was carried out in the 17th century, keeping faithfully to the original plan, and the church can be called one of the tiniest examples of Byzantine architecture. The tomb of Lazaros, who after he was raised from the dead in Bethany by Christ, came to Cyprus and lived here for another thirty years and was consecrated as the Bishop of Kition by St. Barnabas and St. Mark, can be seen under the sanctuary. The iconostasi which separates the altar from the main church is an excellent example of baroque wood carving. Near the church are some tombstones of Europeans who lived in Larnaca, in the 17th-18th century. Eight days before Easter, the icon of Saint Lazaros is taken in procession through the streets of Larnaca.

Hala Sultan Tekke

Kition

Approx. 500 m. north-east of the archaeological Museum. One of the most important ancient city Kingdoms, with architectural remains dating back to the 13th century BC. In about 1200 BC, the area was rebuilt by the Mycenaeans (Achaean Greeks), and one can see the remains of cyclopean walls made of giant blocks of stone, and a complex of five temples.

Palm Trees (Phinikoudes)

The palm-lined seafront of Larnaca town bustles with cafes, tavernas, shops and bars.

Larnaca Marina

The Larnaca marina with 450 yacht capacity attracts many boats as a safe wintering place.

Kamares

The 18th century aqueduct.

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