Oldest Living City in Cyprus
Located in the southeast coast of Cyprus, Larnaca city is an excellent town for visit, where the Cypriot Larnaca International Airport is situate in this city. In old times, Larnaca used to be called ‘Kition’ (Citium). However, the name Kittim (from the Latin Citium), in ancient times was generally referring to the whole island of Cyprus occasionally by the Greeks, Romans and Hebrews, where the name was not directly referring to Larnaka. Now in days, the city of Larnaka is known as ‘Skala’ by the Greek Cypriots where Turkish Cypriots also use the name ‘skele’ when referring to the city.
Larnaka now is the oldest living city in the island of Cyprus, where a legend tells that the first settlement at the spot was founded by Noah’s the great grandson Kittim. Since its founding, 6,000 years ago, Larnaca has only extended but still remains on the exact same site unlike other Cypriot ancient cities which were abandoned frequently by their residents.
Larnaka city is well-known for its charming sea-front where rows of palm trees are placed and a wonderful environment is created. Larnaca has 72,000 population with is the island's second commercial port, plus is an important tourist resort. Larnaca’s northern side lays the island's oil refinery. The well-known stoic philosopher Zeno of Citium hailed from this city. The legend says that he began his stoic teaching after he lost everything that he had in a shipwreck.
The famous Athenian statesman who was a key political figure in mid-5th century BC, Kimon, died on the southwest coast of Cyprus, defending the city of Citium in a battle with the Persians of Xerxes. On his deathbed, he requested that his ranking officers did not revile his death to his allies and Persians. A famous quote remained since then 'Even in death he was victorious' that directly refers to Kimon death. Still now, the statue of 'Kimon the Athenian' proudly stands on the sea front walkway of Larnaca.
Larnaca as a Tourist Resort
Larnaca has some of the best seaside resorts in Cyprus. Larnaca has numerous beaches in and around the city, extend for approximately 25 km estimated about 16 mi. The famous McKenzie and Phinikoudes beaches have both been honored with Blue Flags for environmental cleanliness. With Cyprus Car Hire you can easily travel around to all beaches and find your ideal spot for you and your family and friends.
Archaeological places and six museums are located in the centre of the city. Summer sports and sea activities are readily offered. Larnaca’s shops are well supplied and medical care is at high-quality.
Located around the wider Larnaca district area there are about 9,500 hotel beds, which is approximately the 10% total of the island’s tourist capacity. By the side of the Larnaca’s Bay there are extraordinary luxurious beach hotels along with hotel and holiday apartments; where prices are usually lower than the rest of the island.
Places of interest
One of the most important sites of the city are the remains of the ancient Kitium. The earliest architectural ruins are estimated back to the 13th century BC, where the area was rebuilt by Achaean Greeks. The magnificent remains of the Cyclopean Walls, made of giant blocks and the complex of the five temples, are particularly impressive.
Larnaca’s Salt Lake situated near to Larnacas International Airport, is filled with water during the winter and is visited every year by flocks of flamingoes who stay there from November until the end of March; where the lake dries in the summer giving that exceptional and unique look. Many years ago, this salt was used and considered as good quality of salt and was scraped from the lakes dried surface. However, now this salt is been considered as unsuitable for human use.
A rock cavern with two chambers called ‘Ayia Phaneromeni’, is one of the many places that you can visit in Larnaca. Its structure suggests that it used to be a pagan grave and is estimated back to the Phoenician period. Ayia Phaneromeni, it is believed that is built with by many holy materials and has some healing abilities. Therefore, many people locals as well as tourists, who suffer from bad headaches, migraines and other diseases, visiting this place and walk three times around the temple and leave a piece of clothing on the grill in front of the south window. It used to be visited years ago by many by girls, whose lovers are overseas to pray about their safety and to return unharmed back in Cyprus.
The Church of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, is another magnificent Orthodox Church located in Larnaca city. During 890 A.D. Lazarus tomb was found bearing the inscription 'Lazarus the friend of Christ', and a church was built over the tomb of St. Lazarus, who died in Larnaca and buried in the church named after him. His sarcophagus is hold inside the church under the Holy of Holies.
Estimated about 5 km / 3 miles west of Larnaka the Hala Sultan Tekke, is situated on the banks of the Salt Lake. It is a Turkish temple equivalent to the Christian 'monastery'. Situate ubside the Tekke, the tomb of Umm Haram is placed, and it is been said to be the foster mother of Mohammed. It is believed by the Moslem tradition that Umm Haram died on this spot during 647 A.D. as she was accompanying the Arab invaders. Umm Haram was buried on that spot where later the Ottomans built the present mosque in her honor.
Built in a Roman style during 1745, the old aqueduct best known as ‘The Kamares’ stands outside Larnca city on the way to Limassol and it is illuminated at night.
The Fort of Larnaca is another interesting place to visit as was erected by the Turks within 1625. The Fort is being now used as a museum where its internal courtyard is been used as an open air garden and a theatre during the summer.