The city of Larnaka is a fascinating blend of the many cultures that have shaped its history. Here where the East meets the West is a perfect starting point to explore Cyprus, but also the wider surroundings of Larnaka with its countless sights.
The quiet coastal town is located on the southeast coast of Cyprus. The city was built on the ruins of the ancient city-kingdom of Kition, later the Phoenicians settled here. Even today, the locals here have their own customs in which you are welcome to participate, such as the traditional events and weddings.
Larnaka is a famous place of pilgrimage for Christians and also for Muslims. Larnaka was the second home of Saint Lazarus, who lived here after his resurrection by Christ and became its first bishop. The imposing Lazarus Church was built in the 10th century over the tomb of the saint. It is a grandiose example of Byzantine architecture in Cyprus. If you are interested in Byzantine art and ecclesiastical monuments, Larnaka is the right place for you.
The Hala Sultan Mosque is the burial place of an aunt of the Prophet Mohammed, who fell from her horse and died here. The minaret rises just behind a mirage above a palm and cypress oasis on the shore of the Salt Lake, a favorite wintering ground for flamingos and other migratory birds.
Visit the palm-lined seafront and its marina. Miles of clean and safe beaches make this area a paradise for bathers. Many of them have the famous blue flag sign, which guarantees strictly prescribed quality, as well as care and safety.
In Larnaka and its surroundings there is a wide choice of restaurants, taverns, coffee houses and bars to suit all tastes. The main attraction of the year is the Kataklismos festival over Whitsun, which attracts more than 400,000 visitors every year.
In this museum you will find finds from the Neolithic settlements of Kalavassos-Tenda and Choirokoitia and from the ancient city of Kítion. Various objects made of ivory and alabasta as well as faiences refer to the trade relations of Cyprus with the Eastern Mediterranean. This museum is part of the Aphrodite Cultural Route.
The fort, built in the Middle Ages, received its present appearance during the Ottoman period. After their end it was transformed into a prison by the British during the colonial period. Today you can find here a small medieval museum with exhibits from 15 centuries. The atrium often hosts events organized by the municipality during the summer months.
The whole area is named after the beautiful stone aqueduct, whose arches were built in the 18th century. It was built in 1746 at the expense of the Turkish governor Bekir Pasha to supply Larnaka with water from 6 miles away. Since 1939 the aqueduct has been replaced by modern pipelines.
On the "Finikoudes" beach promenade stands the bust of the Athenian general Kímon, who in 450 BC, at the head of a fleet of 200 ferryboats, attempted to liberate Cyprus from the Persians. A marble bust in the city center honors Zenon, a philosopher born in Kition. He founded the School of the Stroics in the 4th century BC.
On this archaeological site, about 500m from the District Archaeological Museum, the structural remains of the ancient city-kingdom of "Kition" from the 13th century BC were found. From this period date the ruins of the Cyclopean walls, which were built of huge stone ashlars, and preserved a complex of five temples. Kition has been an important trade center of the island since the 13th century BC. On the walls of the houses you can still see sketches of ships.
Located in the old town, behind the excavation site of Kition, this mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Larnaka. The history of the building is dated back to the Byzantine period. From the wall paintings it is evident that it must have originally been an Orthodox church. After the conquest of Cyprus by the Ottomans, it was converted into a mosque.
On the road between Lefkosia and Lemesos, about 32 km from Larnaca, lies this archaeological site, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. It includes a settlement that was inhabited throughout the Neolithic period and is still well preserved today. Near the historical settlement, five huts have been reconstructed from river stones and air-dried mud bricks and furnished with copies of the original objects found during excavations of the site.
Near the village of Kalavasos, about 40 km from Larnaka lies this Neolithic settlement of Tenta dating back to 7000 BC.
The village of Lefkara, about 40 km from Larnaka and 8 km from Skarinoun, is famous for its embroidery and silversmiths. Even Leonardo da Vinci is said to have visited the village and ordered an altar cloth for the Milan Cathedral. In the picturesque village you can visit the Museum of Traditional Embroidery and Silversmithing and the Wax Museum.
The salt lake west of Larnaka forms one of the most important European wetlands and therefore an important resting place for flamingos, wild ducks and other water birds on their winter migrations. Based on archaeological findings, it is known that this area has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. In the prehistoric times the lake served as a port of the city and formed a large trade center. After the inhabitants left the city, the then open sea bay was gradually separated by the spit of the sea and the salt lake was formed. For centuries the salt marshes were used for salt extraction.
In Skarinou the figures of the Cypriot history and scenes from the Ottoman period (1571-1878), the British rule (1878-1960), from the period of the freedom struggle (1955-1959) and the Turkish invasion in 1974 are represented in wax figures.