During the short trip in Cyprus we’ve already been in beautiful Ayia Napa beaches and old Nicosia. Now it’s time to go to Larnaca, to the third largest town in Cyprus.
The same intercity bus that we used for the trip to Nicosia drive us back to Larnaca, where we had another day before our flight.
A little bit historical facts about the city, before we go wandering.
Larnaca is the successor town of the ancient Kitio, one of the most important kingdoms in ancient Cyprus, the birth city of the Philosopher Zinona. During the medieval 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.
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.
Nowadays, St. Lazarus church is one the most famous cathedrals, located in the center of Larnaca, with a museum in its territory.
|St. Lazarus church|
There was no any exact plan of what to do, but there was one place that we went to check first. This was the “Ancient Kition”, the only ancient part remaining in Larnaca. The “Ancient Kition” is a bit separated from the city center, you’d need to walk around 30 minutes to reach the center, but during that time you might discover some places that might take your attention. One of those was Armenian community with a small restaurant nearby. But let’s get back to the “Kition”. This was a small part of the castle ruins, with a museum, that has some pictures of the artifacts found on the area. The real exhibits are located in different museums of Larnaca and around the world.
Kition, now mostly buried under modern Larnaca, was an important ancient city. Originally settled by the Mycenaeans and the Phonicians 3,000 years ago, it was the birthplace of Zeno the philosopher.
The architectural ruins of the ancient city-kingdom of Kition provide the first clear evidence that the Mycenaean Greeks arrived in Larnaka in the 13th century BC, and the Phoenicians in the 9th.
Achaeans redesigned and rebuilt the city around the end of the 13th century, fortifying it with cyclopean walls made of giant blocks of stone, whilst the Phoenicians settled in the area in the 9th century. In 312BC, Kition was occupied and then destroyed by Ptolemy 1st Soter, though habitation continued into Christian times.
One of the main places where locals and tourists spend time is the Marine, with lot of small and big ferries and boats. Here you may take a boat tour for a sightseeing or rent a catamaran to have fun on your own. Or you may just walk on a pier and enjoy the sun. But Larnaca has also an old port which 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.
From here you may start your walk on a seaside rout that will pass along the “Phinikoudes” beach and nearby restaurants. You may have a meal or drink at the nearest cafes and restaurants with a nice view of Mediterranean or swim or just walk on the seaside. You may also visit the Larnaca Castle that also has a museum inside. But if you stay in Larnaca and want to swim in a nice beach then would be better if you go to “Mackenzie” beach (more close to the airport), as this one wasn’t much clean. All the sand was covered with pieces of cigarettes and trash. Mackenzie is also more recommended by locals.
But in general there is nothing special to do in Larnaca, so if you are looking for great beaches, nice views, adventures, fun and amazing views, it’s better to spend your time in Famagusta region, Ayia Napa, that is famous for its crystal clear waters and adorable beaches.
Here our stories in Cyprus end, but definitely it’s a place for return to explore all the ancient and mysterious corner of this island and relax on velvet sandy beaches.