Definitions

Larnaca

Larnaca

Larnaca, town (1992 pop. 43,622), SE Cyprus, on Larnaca Bay. It is a port and district administrative center. Chemicals, refined oil, and salt are important products. The modern section of the town occupies the site of ancient Citium. There is a tradition that St. Lazarus settled in Larnaca after his resurrection and became its first bishop. In the town is a fort built by the Turks in 1625.

Larnaca, (Greek: Λάρνακα, Turkish: Larnaka) is a city of the Republic of Cyprus situated on the southern coast of Cyprus. The major international airport, Larnaca International Airport is located in this city.

It has a population of 72,000 (2001) and is the island's second commercial port and an important tourist resort. To the north of the town lies the island's oil refinery, which is now only a storage facility as the refinery itself has been sold,(2008) while to the south is situated the Larnaca International Airport. The city of Larnaka is well-known for its picturesque seafront which includes rows of palm trees (oi finikoudes, in the Cypriot dialect). Here you will also find Larnaca Marina, one of the four official entry points, by sea, to the island. Much of the activity is centred around the city promenade during the major festivals. The most important of these for the city of Larnaka is Kataklysmos or the Festival of the Flood, celebrated in early summer with a series of cultural events. The festival used to last about a week, but in recent years, with the increased commercialism of peripheral stalls, rides and temporary loukmades restaurants (a sweet delicacy) it has extended to about 3 weeks, with the seafront being closed to traffic in the evenings.

History

Larnaca was founded by Phoenicians and was known as Kition, or (in Latin) Citium. The biblical name Kittim, though derived from Citium, was in fact used quite generally for Cyprus as a whole, and occasionally by the Jews for the Greeks and Romans. Larnaca is colloquially known as "Skala" (Greek: Σκάλα) meaning "ladder" or "landing stage", referring to the town's status in history as an important port.

Like most Cypriote cities, Kition belonged to the Persian or [{Achaemenid Empire]]. In 450 BC, the Athenian general Cimon, died at sea defending the city of Citium in a major battle with the Persians. On his deathbed, he urged his officers to conceal his death from both their allies and the Persians. The quote "Και Νεκρός Ενίκα" ("Even in death he was victorious") refers to Kimon. A statue of "Kimon the Athenian" stands proudly on the sea front promenade of modern Larnaca.

Like other cities of Cyprus, it has suffered repeatedly from earthquakes, and in medieval times when its harbour silted up (a sign that the island was deforested and overgrazed) the population moved to Larnaca, on the open seafront farther south. The harbour and citadel have now disappeared. Traces remain of the circuit wall, and of a sanctuary with copious terra-cotta offerings; the large cemetery has yielded constant loot from illicit excavations for more than a century.

Dig practically anywhere in the area from the tennis club past Chrysopolittissa church and you will find evidence of prior civilizations. Much of the yield near the surface is Roman and Venetian. Visit the museum by the Terra Santa Convent to see not only many exhibits but also the dig in their backyard along with Ali Baba's storage jars.

The fort on Larnaca seafront has recently been opened up for better viewing by the removal of the Megalos Pefkos (the Big Tree) and a few other illegal restaurants set up on the sea front by refugees after the 1974 invasion.

Tourism

Larnaca is one of the major seaside resorts in Cyprus. There are numerous beaches in and around Larnaca which extend for approx 25 km (16 mi). The main Phinikoudes and McKenzie beaches both have been awarded Blue Flags for environmental cleanliness.

The archaeological sites and its six museums are in the centre of the town. Summer sports and sea activities are readily available. The shops are well stocked and medical care is good. Since 2001 there is one main six-screen cinema on the edge of the town.

There is a wide variety of restaurants, tavernas, cafeterias and bars catering for varied tastes between 'traditional Irish pub' through international chains like McDonalds to local Cypriot fare. The Cyprus 'meze' is the food specialty of the town. Cultural life is rich and many events are organized by the town's municipality almost daily.

Within the wider Larnaca district there are 9,500 hotel beds, about 10% of the total all island tourist capacity. Along the Larnaca Bay there are luxurious beach hotels and also hotel apartments or holiday apartments within all price ranges. Prices are generally lower from the rest of the island. Its international airport lies a few kilometres from the centre of the town, but because the flight path is over the sea there is almost no audible noise from landing and departing aircraft.

Landmarks

The most important site of Larnaca are the ruins of Ancient Kitium. The earliest architectural remains date back to the 13th century B.C. the area was rebuilt by Achaean Greeks. The remains of the Cyclopean Walls, made of giant blocks and the complex of the five temples, are particularly interesting.

Another place of interest is the Marable Bust of Zeno, which stands at the crossroads near the American Academy. Zeno was born in Kition (ancient Larnaka) in 326 B.C.. After studying philosophy in Athens he founded the famous Stoic school of philosophy.

Near Larnaka International Airport there is the Larnaca Salt Lake. It fills with water during the winter and is visited by flocks of flamingoes who stay here from November till the end of March. It dries up in the summer. It used to yield a good quality of salt which was is scraped from its dried up surface.The salt from this lake is now considered unfit for human consumption.

About half-way between the monument of Zeno and Salt Lake on the right, there is the underground chapel of Ayia Phaneromeni. It is a rock cavern with two chambers. The structure suggests that it once was a pagan tomb, possibly dating back to Phoenician times. The place is credited with various magical properties: thus those who suffer from headaches or other diseases walk three times round it and leave a piece of clothing or a tuft of their hair on the grill in front of the south window. It is also much frequented by girls, whose lovers are overseas, who come here to pray for their safety.

The Church of Lazarus (Agios Lazaros) is another magnificent Orthodox Church in Larnaca which was built in the town over the tomb of St. Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. He died here and was buried in the church named after him. In 890 A.D. his tomb was found bearing the inscription "Lazarus the friend of Christ". The marble sarcophagus can be seen inside the church under the Holy of Holies.

The Hala Sultan Tekke is about 5 km (3 mi) west of Larnaka, on the banks of the Salt Lake. It is equivalent to the Christian "monastery". Within the precincts of this Tekke is the tomb of Umm Haram, said to be the foster mother of Mohammed. According to Moslem tradition Umm Haram died on this spot in 647 A.D. while accompanying the Arab invaders. She was buried here and later the Ottomans built the present mosque in her honour.

Another site of interest is the Fort of Larnaca which was erected by the Turks in 1625. This fort is now a museum and its inner courtyard is used as an open air garden - theatre during the summer months, by kind permission of the director of antiquities.

The Old Aqueduct known as "The Kamares", stands outside the town on the way to Limassol. It was built in Roman style in 1745 to carry water from a source about 6 miles south of Larnaka into the town. The aqueduct is illuminated at night.

Culture

Arts

Larnaca has a theatre and art gallery both run by the Municipality, and is home to the celebrated Pieridis Museum of Antiquities, founded by Demetrios Pieridis. It is also the location of two art schools, the Alexander College, which specialises mainly in design subjects, the Cyprus College of Art, which concentrates of fine art.

Sports

The city is the home to the football teams AEK Larnaca FC, and ALKI Larnaca FC. Both teams play in a stadium of a city called GSZ Stadium or Zenon Stadium. Since the occupation of the northern part of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974, the two teams of Famagusta, Anorthosis and Nea Salamina, have their own stadiums in Larnaca. "Antonis Papadopoulos" is the Anorthosis' stadium and "Ammochostos" (means Famagusta) is the stadium of Nea Salamina.

Larnaca hosted the European Under-19 Football Championship final, in 1998 and the European Under-17 Football Championship final in 1992.

Notable people

Twinning

Larnaca Municipality is a twin town with the following:

See also

Notes

References

External links

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