Holidays in Ayia Napa
The well known tourist resort of Ayia Napa is located at the eastern end of the south coast in Cyprus where is very popular for its white sandy sunny beaches. During the last couple of years, Ayia Napa is not only a lovely holoday destination, but it has become a ‘party capital’ for tourists during their summer holidays.
The town name, ‘Ayia Napa’ was named by Angelina from a Venetian monastery that has the same name, situated in the center of the city, next to the square. The Greek word 'Ayia' means 'Saint' where the word 'Napa' is an old word which means 'wooded valley'. Many years ago, in ancient times, Ayia Napa’s area surrounding the town was covered with a substantial forest. By 1790 it is been said by the local tradition, that no one lived within the close district area of Ayia Napa. It is also been said that Ayia’s Napa’s first residents who actually appeared and settled were Greek twenty men from Thessaloniki.
According to a local legend, there is a well-known icon which was fortuitously discovered by a hunter in hot pursuit of his prey, and the icon it was named the ‘Virgin Mary of Ayia Napa’. Therefore, a monastery was built in 1500 around the cave, to honor of the Virgin Mary of Ayia Napa.
A large number of tourists is been attracted by Ayia’s Napa’s coastline as it is really famous about its ‘golden sandy beaches’, and water sports such as windsurfing, water-skiing, scuba diving, speed boating and canoeing are available. Ayia Napa, has recently become synonymous with holidays and partying, as it is one of the Europeans favorite holiday destinations.
Ayia Napa is geographically located near Cape Greco, at the eastern part of Cyprus, south of Famagusta and forms part of the larger area known as ‘Kokkinochoria’. It is a town within the Famagusta district, the remaining southern part of the district which is not occupied by the Turkish forces in 1974.
The Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO) supervises all the beaches and is responsible for protecting the interests of all tourists. Ayia’s Napa’s all beaches have been awarded with the EU Blue Flag for their cleanliness and the complete facilities offered to the public according with the uniform standards set by the European Union.
The town’s Square centre, is crammed with restaurants, nightclubs, bars and shops, and for many is seen as the vital point of the Ayia Napa’s night-life.
With 10 minute drive from Ayia’s Napa’s centre, Cape Greco is considered as one of the most beautiful places on the island of Cyprus. A legend suggests that at Cape Greco lives the famed Ayia Napa’s sea monster which is been said that cross between a porpoise and dragon. However, this creature has only been spotted a dozen or so times and is thought to be a direct descendent from pre-historic times.
The Monastery of Ayia Napa is been a landmark of the Ayia Napa area. That monastery has kept the charm and personality that still represents the time when Ayia Napa was just a sleepy fishing village. It seems that in years ago, the location where the monastery and the village are located now was covered with a forest, visited only by hunters from neighboring villages.
Places of Interest
Within Ayia Napa, number of museums are exists such as the Tornaritis and Pierides Museum of Marine Life which was build in June 1992 and is situated at the lower level of the Town hallway. The museum exhibits past and present marine life, scientifically classified. Its main purpose is to show to the Cypriot as well as foreign visitors the marine fauna of Cyprus, aiming to help the study and research of this section of Natural History, but also to raise the importance and necessity of protecting the marine environment.
The 'Thalassa' or Municipal Museum of the Sea is committed to the improvement, encouragement and protection of marine tradition of Cyprus, since prehistoric times to present. Situated at the centre of Ayia Napa, the Museum exhibit marine artifacts, perform educational programs and serve cultural community events. The Museum hosts engravings, sculptures, ceramics and paintings of seascapes which are created by some of the greatest 19th and 20th century Greek and Cypriot artists.
‘Makronissos Tombs’ are located west of Ayia Napa village in the locality of Makronissos. It is an ancient burial site, situated at a stepped path, which leads down to a rectangular entrance, which were originally closed with one large or two smaller Calcarenke slabs.
Many Cypriots as well as tourists come to enjoy the Ayia Napa Festival that is held during September and has been established as an annual event. These festivities used to describe the historic, cultural and agricultural traditions of Ayia Napa and the Cyprus Island. The festival program includes theatrical performances, operas, concerts, Cypriot and foreign folk dancing.