Limassol - The Second City

The south coast town of Limassol is the islands largest seaside resort. Acting as a magnificent backdrop to the city that spreads for ten miles along the coast are the Troodos Mountains, in whose fertile foothills most of the countrys grapes are grown.

Since the Middle Ages when the Crusaders held Cyprus under Richard the Lionheart, Limassol has been known to traders for its wine and sugar cane. Now, this second largest city of Cyprus, with a population of 135,000 is the centre of its wine-making industry, and an important commercial and tourist centre.

As a shopping centre Limassol offers the full gamut from ultra-modern to traditional and handmade. European wares have place alongside local produce, and as in other parts of the island, shoes and clothes can be made to measure in a matter of days. Busy St Andrews Street, not far from the seafront promenade, makes a fascinating trip with its quaint buildings and overhanging terraces, under which a cornucopia of small shops vie for attention on this narrow, jostling street. Another important shopping street is Makarios Avenue, where many prestigious boutiques and showrooms are located, as well as small shops of every type.

Concentrated chiefly on the eastern side of Limassol, all types of holiday accommodation have been built close to the sea these range from luxury hotels to apartments and villas near them are a wide range of tavernas, pubs, discos and nightclubs and there are also numerous beaches to choose from.

The towns carefree holiday atmosphere, with wide seafront promenade and bustling little shopping streets, is matched by the gaiety and lively character of its people. With its fun loving reputation and the best nightlife on the island it is fitting that only Limassol stages some of the islands best known festivals including the annual Wine Festival in September, when the various wineries offer free samples of their products for ten days, the ten day pre Lenten Carnival with masquerade parties balls and grand parades, the Limassol Festival in summer and the ancient Drama Festival at Kourion.

Some are very popular during midsummer with the convenience of changing rooms, showers, cafes and bars, others quite uncrowned, particularly those on the outskirts of town, such as the sandy beach known as Ladies Mile, west of the new harbour. Limassol also has an attractive, newly-completed marina equipped with every facility for the yachtsman. A tour to one of the wineries can easily be arranged in order to witness production and taste the final product. Down near the old port is Limassol Castle, where Richard the Lionheart allegedly married Queen Berengaria of Navarre in 1191 and crowned her Queen of England. This was the first Coronation and Royal Marriage to take place outside England. Its grounds house the Medieval Museum of Cyprus with interesting pottery and tombstones amongst its numerous exhibits. Limassol also has an Archaeological Museum, with fascinating statues and pottery finds the municipal Art gallery as well as a Folk Art Museum where specially staged room sets display the old clothes and utensils to their best.

Places of Interest

Limassol Castle - Cyprus Mediaeval Museum

Built in the 14th century on the site of an earlier Byzantine castle According to tradition Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre and crowned her Queen of England, here in 1191. The castle houses the Cyprus Mediaeval Museum.

Limassol District Archaeological Museum

Kaningos Vyronos Corner, near the Public Gardens Interesting collection of antiquities found in the Limassol area from the Neolithic Age to the Roman Period.

Folk Art Museum

This very beautiful collection of Cypriot Folk Art of the 19th and early 20th century is housed in a restored old house. The collection includes national costumes, tapestry, and embroidery etc, displayed in a very interesting way.

Kolossi Castle

14 kms west of Limassol on the road to Paphos. A fine example of military architecture originally constructed in the 13th century, and subsequently rebuilt in the form it is now, in the middle of the 15th century. It served first as the Grand Commandery of the Knights Templar, and after the fall of Acre in 1291 for some years, as the headquarters of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

Kourion Museum

14kms west of Limassol, 4 kms before Kourion Site in the village of Episkopi Collection of finds from nearby archaeological sites, housed in a beautiful old traditional house.

Curium

The House of Eustolios was originally a private villa, and in the early Christian period became a public recreation centre. It consists of a complex of Baths and a number of rooms with beautiful 5th century AD mosaic floors. The Early Christian Basilica dated to the 5th century was probably the Cathedral of Kourion with a baptistery attached to the north side. The House of Achilles and the House of the Gladiators have beautiful mosaic floors. The Nymphaeum dedicated to water nymphs is still under excavation by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities. The Stadium lies a km to the west on the right side of the road to Paphos, and is dated to the 2nd century AD.

An important ancient city kingdom, and one of the most interesting and spectacular archaeological sites on the island with excavations still bringing new treasures to light. The magnificent Greco-Roman Theatre was originally built in the 2nd century BC and enlarged in the 2nd century AD. It is now fully restored and used for musical and theatrical performances.

Sanctuary Of Apollo Hylates

3 kms west of Curium, on the raod to Paphos. Apollo Hylates, Gof of the Woodland, was the protector of the city of Kourion. Archaelological evidence shows that the cult of Apollo was celebrated here form 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Part of the temple has been restored, with the cellar, the colonnade and the pediment.

Amathus

11 kms east of Limassol town centre, close to the Amathus Hotel. One of the ancient city kingdoms of Cyprus where according to legend, Thesus left the pregnant Adriane to be taken care of after his battle with the Minotaur. There was a very important cult of Aphrodite Astarte here, excavations are still continuing at the Acropolis and Agora area of the ancient site. Numerous tombs have been found, one of them can be visited in front of the Amathus Beach Hotel.

Ayios Georgios Alamanou Convent

Off the Nicosia to Limassol road, 19 kms east of Limassol Originally founded in the 12th century. The nuns, besides performing thier religious rites spend there time icon painting, and cultivating flowers and herbs.

Limassol Municipality Art Gallery

103 28th Oktovriou Street, This recently opened art gallery has on permanent display a representative collection of paintings of well known Cypriot artists.

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