Welcome to our tour of Cyprus.
Larnaca - Most visitors to the island land at Larnaka International Airport.
Larnaka became a more popular town in Cyprus after the Turkish invasion took place in 1974. Following the attacks in Nicosia at that period in time, the Nicosia airport was destroyed and closed down. As a result, Larnaka’s airport developed as the Cyprus’ key international gateway. The town with it’s over than 60,000 inhabitants has managed to become a tourist attraction mainly thanks to the fact that the airport is located in it. There are quite a few points of interest that one could visit while on the island. Furthermore, Larnaka’s location helps tourists in exploring the island a lot more easily as it’s easy to access the coast and the eastern reaches of the Troodos Mountains from this area and the capital Nicosia, is only about forty minutes away.
Some of the main attractions in the town are the following:
Agios-Lazaros (Church of St Lazarus). The church is located on Agiou Lazarou Street. It is a 17th-century cathedral-like Orthodox church that is a true landmark to the town. It is mainly famous due to the fact that it is associated with Lazarus, who, as the New Testament declares, was raised from the dead by Jesus. The second time Lazarus died though, legend has it that he was buried in Larnaka. The original church was built in that area and it posses the tomb of Lazarus that was discovered there in the 9th century. The tomb can still be seen there, but the remains of the saint were moved to Constantinople by Emperor Leo VI.
A small Byzantine museum can also be found in the area of the church that has a great exhibition of ecclesiastical art such as Bibles, icons, bishops’ mitres and robes and chalices. There is a hug celebration a week before Easter every year on the St. Lazarus’ Day on which, his icon is paraded through the town. The opening and closing hours of the church are: from 8:30am to 1:00pm, and 3:30pm to 6:00pm. The small Byzantine museum that is located on the church’s grounds has the same times of service except on Wednesdays and Saturdays when it closes at 1:00pm.
Al-Kebir Mosque. The mosque is a 16th century mosque that is still used today. It is an extremely simple creation especially when compared to those elaborate and vastly decorated places of worship chosen by Christians.
Laiki Geitonia. This area of the town is basically a smaller version of it’s counterpart in Nicosia. It has been restored in order to create a pedestrian precinct with shops and restaurants.
There is also a small fruit and vegetable market that is situated near the Al-Kebir Mosque, which is worth a visit.
Larnaka Fort. This is one of the town’s most popular attractions. It possesses pre-World War 1 armament pieces that can be found in its 16th century fort’s lower level. Some of the area of the fort is surrounded by gardens and an open-air theatre that is used to a great exact during the summer months for plays and dramas. A captivating view of the harbour can be seen from the highest level of the fort. There is also a medieval museum that can be found on the premises of the port which had a grad display of armour and other items from that period in time.
From the marina, visitors could catch one of the many rides that take place throughout the day, on the glass-bottom boats and excursion cruisers.
Finikoudes. This is certainly the busiest and regularly visited part of Larnaka. It is a beautiful long street that has been reconstructed over the past few years, filled with large palm trees along both sides of the road and offers a lovely space for people to stroll up and down at any time of the day. It follows the seafront south from the marina. There are many cute little restaurants, tavernas, clubs and coffee shops right across the beach on this street.
A ruin of the Athenian hero Kimon, who was the leader of a fleet that had the intention to recapture Persian-occupied Kition in 450BC and lost his life in the attempt which failed, is situated on the sea-front of the finikoudes.