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About city Gallery Where to stay

Larnaca is one of the oldest cities in the world, and, with a population of 60,000, the third-biggest in Cyprus, after Nicosia and Limasol. Most tourists start their acquaintance with the country from this part of the island, due to the nearby airport.

Larnaca, squeezed in between the Cypriot leisure capital Aiya Napa and the respectable Limasol, looks nothing like its neighbours. This resort town is perfect for travellers, as absolutely anyone can discover something to their liking.

Those who have at least once visited the Vulcan windsurfing centre or dived to explore the sunken MS Zenobia, know that Larnaca is the capital of active leisure. Nightlife lovers will assure you that there is plenty to keep boredom at bay, partying at the famous Phoinikoudes beach at night and sailing on catamarans in the sea next to the Mackenzie beach during the day. European retirees, on the other hand, who leave the island after enjoying the picturesque landscapes around Larnaca, savouring honey in the Kornos village and buying tons of beautiful Lefkara laces for their granddaughters, are convinced that Larnaca is as peaceful as a Cypriot city gets.

History lovers will be extremely pleased by Larnaca. The city is situated in a place where the city of Kition previously stood, first mentioned in 10th century BCE and founded by Noah’s grandson. The most interesting “Biblical moment” in the region’s history is the life of Lazarus, who was resurrected by Jesus Christ. After his resurrection, Lazarus moved to Cyprus, where he lived for another thirty years, becoming the first bishop of Larnaca, and was buried in Kition. The 9th-century Church of Saint Lazarus stands in the city centre in his honour. On the sarcophagus inside the church it is engraved: “Lazarus, friend of Jesus”. Saint Lazarus is still the patron saint of Larnaca, and, one week prior to Orthodox Easter, city dwellers celebrate Lazarus’s resurrection by carrying an icon with his image through the city streets.

Arcs of Ayious Lazarus Church, Larnaca
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Arcs of Ayious Lazarus Church, Larnaca

By the way, the Salt Lake – another local attraction – has a connection to Lazarus as well. According to legend, St. Lazarus turned a person who refused to give him a bunch of grapes into this lake. In Ancient times, salt was excavated from the lake – a process that still goes on, albeit not as intensely. Flamboyances of pink flamingos settle in the lake in wintertime, and the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque on the bank of the Salt Lake is a must-see. It is one of the main Muslim shrines, where Umm Haram, the Prophet Muhammad’s wet nurse, is buried.

Group of Flamingo birds in the Salt lake of Larnaca
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Group of Flamingo birds in the Salt lake of Larnaca

Other monuments of the past are the 17th-century Fortress of Larnaca, once important for the city’s defence, and the bust of the Greek military commander Kimon the Athenian, who died defending Cyprus from a Persian attack in 449 BCE.

Following Nicosia’s example, one the oldest parts of Larnaca, the Laiki Geitonia neighbourhood, has been thoroughly renovated and is now a tourist attraction centre.

The Larnaca District Archaeological Museum is filled with exhibits found in the ruins of Ancient Kition. History lovers must also visit the Pierides Museum, located in one of the few surviving 19th-century villas. It holds the best private collection dedicated to Cypriot history found on the island: ceramics of different time periods from Neolithic times to the Middle Ages, glass-work, clothing, furniture and everyday items.

Larnaca beach
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Larnaca beach

Beaches with soft sand and a pleasant sea bed await those seeking a relaxing vacation. To the south of the Larnaca Castle you will find one of the best beaches the region has to offer – the Mackenzie beach, to the north and the brilliant Golden Bay beach.

Statistics show that most tourists are attracted by the fact that Larnaca’s hotels and services are the cheapest in Cyprus, and prices drop even more during the off-season.

Where to stay

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