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Larnaca is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and the capital of the eponymous district. It is the third-largest city in the country, after Nicosia and Limassol, with an urban population of 84,591 (2011).
Larnaca is known for its palm-tree seafront, the Church of Saint Lazarus, the Hala Sultan Tekke, theKamares Aqueduct and itsmedieval fort. It is built on the ruins of ancient Citium, which was the birthplace of Stoic philosopher Zeno.
Larnaca is home to the country's primary airport,Larnaca International Airport. It also has a (both passenger and cargo) seaport and a marina.
|POPULATION :||• City 51,468
• Urban 84,591
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone EET (UTC+2)
• Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
|ELEVATION :||85 ft (26 m)|
|COORDINATES :||34°55′N 33°38′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 51.08%
• Female: 48.92%
|AREA CODE :||34|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+357 24|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
Larnaca has a reasonable claim to being the oldest city in Cyprus, with evidence of habitation up to 6000 years ago.
Modern Larnaca, like other Cypriot coastal towns, is divided into an older city center and a wide sprawl of hotels and restaurants along the beach.
The city's landmarks include: the Church of Saint Lazarus; the Catacomb of Phaneromeni Church; Hala Sultan Tekke; the Kamares Aqueduct; and the Fort of Larnaca.
So-called "Foinikoudes" is the promenade along Athenon Avenue on the seafront. A row of palm trees (Cypriot Greek: φοινικούδες foinikoudes) lines either side of it.
- A bust of "Kimon the Athenian" stands on the Foinikoudes Promenade, with this quote referring to him on the pedestal: "Even in death he was victorious" (Greek: "Kαι νεκρός ενίκα").
- The marble bust of Zeno stands at the crossroads near the American Academy. Zeno was born in Kition in 334 BC. After studying philosophy in Athens, he founded the famous Stoic school of philosophy.
- The Armenian Genocide Memorial stands on Athinon Avenue.
The former city-kingdom of Kition was originally established in the 13th century BC. New cultural elements appearing between 1200 BC and 1000 BC (personal objects, pottery, new architectural forms and ideas) are interpreted as indications of significant political changes and the arrival of the Achaeans, the first Greek colonists of Kition. Around the same time, Phoenicians settled the area.
At the archaeological sites of Kiteon, remains that date from the 13th century BC have been found. Around 1000 BC, Kition was rebuilt by Phoenicians and it subsequently became a center of Phoenician culture. The remains of the sites include cyclopean walls and a complex of five temples and a naval port.
It was conquered in the first millennium BC by a series of great powers of the region. First by the Assyrian Empire, then by Egypt. Like most Cypriot cities, Kition belonged to the Persian or Achaemenid Empire. In 450 BC, the Athenian general Cimon died at sea, while militarily supporting the revolt against Persia's rule over Cyprus. On his deathbed, he urged his officers to conceal his death from both their allies and the Persians.
Strong earthquakes hit the city in 76 AD and the year after.
Earthquakes of 322 AD and 342 "caused the destruction not only of Kition but also of Salamis and Pafos". Kition's harbor silted up, and the population moved to the seafront farther south, sometime after this. (Contributing factors to the silting are thought to have been earthquakes, deforestation and overgrazing.)
The commercial port was located at Skala, during the Ottoman Period. Skala is the name of the seashore immediately south of the Larnaca castle—and its neighborhood. The city is sometimes colloquially referred to as"Skala" (Greek: Σκάλα) meaning "ladder" or "landing stage", referring to the historical port.
The Kamares aqueduct was built in 1747—bringing water to the city from a source around six miles (9.7 km) from the city.
The climate in this area is described by the Köppen Climate Classification Systemas "dry-summer subtropical" often referred to as "Mediterranean" and abbreviated as Csa.
Climate data for Larnaca
|Average high °C (°F)||16.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||12.1
|Average low °C (°F)||7.5
|Source: Meteorological Service (Cyprus)|
The Salt Lake fills with water during the winter season and is visited by flocks of flamingoes who stay there from November until the end of March. It usually dries up in the summer. In the past, it yielded good quality salt scraped from the dried surface. The salt from the lake is now considered unsuitable for consumption.
Larnaca's economy has been growing since 1975, after the loss of the Port of Famagusta, which handled 80% of general cargo, and the closure of Nicosia International Airport, meant that Larnaca's airport and seaport had increasingly important roles in the economy of the island. A €650m upgrade of Larnaca Airport has been completed.
The service sector, including tourism, employs three-quarters of Larnaca's labor force. Many travel and tour operators and other travel-related companies have their head offices in Larnaca.
Larnaca's neighborhoods include Skala, Prodromos, Faneromeni, Drosia, Kamares, Vergina and Agioi Anargyroi.
Prices in Larnaca
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.95|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€5.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€22.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€40.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€5.80|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€3.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€2.50|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.09|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€4.20|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.75|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€62.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€38.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€69.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€1.50|
45 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
147 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Larnaca International Airport (IATA:LCA) is the largest airport on Cyprus, located 6 km to the west of the city center. Taxis to the city take 15 minutes, there are also scheduled city buses. There are no left luggage/baggage storage facilities at the airport.
Shared taxis (dolmus) connect Larnaca to Nicosia and Limassol.
Transportation - Get Around
Larnaca is a thin ribbon of a town and you can walk around most of it. The seaside Larnaca Promenade (Phinikoudes) is particularly pleasant for a stroll in the evening.
By law, taxis should charge by the meter, but many cabbies will refuse to use it. Metered fares should be 65 cent; to get in plus 22 cent/km, night surchages apply after midnight.
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The nearby village of Lefkara is famous for its lace and silverware, and Larnaca being the nearest large town to the village, sells both in plentiful supply.
Independent jewellers and watchmakers are abundant, particularly among and just off the main Ermes/Ermou Street.
- Oro Fino Jewellery, 24-654666. Pavlou Valsamaki 26, 50 metres from Foinikoudes beach, near St. Lazaurs. Italian and Greek designs, diamonds to zircons, precious to semi-precious stones. The shop also features the latest jewel in fashion, NEWD SKIN JEWEL as well as brand watches like GUESS, D&G and DKNY.
Often, eating in Larnaca can be quite expensive. However, if you're travelling on a budget, there are a few bargains to be had. Possibly the cheapest way is by grabbing a hotdog at the 'Enjoy... Finikoudes' kiosk on, you guessed it, Phinikoudes Avenue. Hotdogs are just €1 and are rather enjoyable. If you prefer to sit down for a meal, try Ocean Basket (also on Phinikoudes Avenue) where a huge, tasty serving of Fish and Chips will set you back just €5.95, which is comparable to (if not less than) the price of a meal at the likes of Phinikoudes' McDonalds or KFC, which are also useful places for eating on a budget, even if they do lack that local touch.
The beaches of Larnaca are littered with identikit seafood restaurants catering to tourists. The easiest way to find a good place is to simply walk along until you find a restaurant packed not with tourists, but with Cypriots!
- Militzis, 42 Piale Pasha, . A long-running favorite serving honest Cypriot fare (read: meat and potatoes) washed down with their own wine. No points for presentation, but the food is good and the restaurant is often packed. Figure on € 15-20 for a meal.
- Hobo's, Phinikoudes Promenade. A lively Cafe/Restaurant popular with many Cypriots, right on the main promenade. You can't miss it, and its often full but doesn't take telephone reservations. Food is varied from Cypriot to International Cuisine.
- Kantara, Rendez-Vous, and Ganga restaurants on Dhekelia Road are probably the best restaurants in Larnaca. More expensive than the rest, but well worth it. Both Kantara and Rendez-Vous have a good selection of international wines (Cyprus wines are an acquired taste ... to say the least!)
- Nippon, Grigoris Afxentiou Ave (opposite American Academy), . Expensive, but renown Japanese restaurant serving sushi. Bookings are essential, as it is packed every night. Offers a wide range of delicious maki, California rolls, teppanyaki and more. From €50.
- Viale, 24664888. 10AM-12:30AM. Easy-going café/bar/restaurant that has ample space and menu variety for both breakfast and dinner. Very good quality European-style dishes, with some more adventurous selections, eg prawns with ouzo sauce.
- Vlachos Taverna. on the Dhekelia Rd, 400 metres past the Palm Beach Hotel on the same side is a fantastic place to eat local food. Sheftalia is just great and the salads are lovely.
Sights & Landmarks
- The Church of St. Lazarus, Ayios Lazaros Sq. an Orthodox church dating to the 9th century, is reputedly built around the tomb of the biblical Lazarus, brother of Mary.
- Larnaca Salt Lake. is to the west of town near the airport. In winter (November to March), flocks of pink flamingos can be seen here.
- Hala Sultan Tekke. The mosque is perched by the side of the Salt Lake. The tomb of Umm Haram, the foster mother of Mohammed, is said to be here.
- Faneromeni Church (Ekklisía tis Faneroménis). This mashup of various architectural styles used to stand in the centre of the city – until 1974. There is a marble mausoleum next to it.
- Archaeological Museum of the Larnaka District, Kalogreon Sq.. Small but interesting museum. It displays objects from Prehistoric times up to Roman times. There's also a replica of the Stele of King Sargon II (722-705 BC) of Assyria. The original is on display at Berlin Pergamon Museum
Museums & Galleries
Museums found in Larnaca include the Larnaca District Archaeological Museum,Pierides Museum and Kyriazis Medical Museum.
Things to do
For divers the main reason to come to Larnaca is the wreck of the Zenobia (watch video [www] ), a ro-ro ferry that sunk in 1980 on her maiden voyage only a few hundred meters from the harbor due to a fault in the ballast computer. Fully laded with trucks and their cargo, the ship now lies on its side at a depth of 42 meters, with the top of the wreck at 18m and thus easily accessible even to PADI Advanced Open Water divers. If your flight comes in right, you can even see the shadow of the wreck as you land at Larnaca airport!
- @lpha Divers (Alpha Divers), fax: . @lpha Divers Dive Centre (Dhekelia Rd), 2, Pyla Gardens, Dhekelia Road, Larnaca, 7081, Cyprus; Tel/; email: [email protected]; [www], a PADI Five Star Gold Palm Instructor Development Centre and a British Sub-Aqua Club Premier & Technical Centre. Located adjacent to Lordos Beach Hotel and Mariandy Hotel.
- Dive-In Cyprus (Blu View Residence, 132 Piale Pascha, Larnaca 6027; tel. +357 24-627469; email [email protected] [www]) is a PADI 5-star dive center and Regional SDI/TDI office that specializes in dives to the Zenobia, it can also arrange nitrox and penetration dives for the technical diver. Full range of PADI, TDI, TecRec and SDI courses available.
Festivals and events
Much of the activity is centered on the city promenade during the major festivals. The most important of these is Kataklysmos or the Festival of the Flood, celebrated in early summer with a series of cultural events. The festival used to last for about a week, but, in recent years, with the increased commercialism of peripheral stalls, rides and temporary lokmades restaurants, the festival has been extended to about three weeks, during which the seafront is closed to traffic in the evenings. Lokmades (or loukoumades) is a sweet delicacy.
In the city centre an area just off the main promenade called "Laiki Yeitonia" fulfils the need for most Bars and Small scale Nightclubs. Club Deep is the most popular of these, along with Times.
Driving about 15–20 minutes away from the City Centre to the East in the direction of Ayia Napa is the Larnaca-Dhekelia Road. This is the main 'strip' for high quality hotels, nightclubs, bars, etc., and is where most British Tourists can be found.
- Blue Pine Bar, Louki Pieridi 3, . near the American Academy has a huge selection of spirits (all real which is unusual for Cyprus) and has a real atmosphere. The decor is wood and dim lighting and lots of Jack Daniels and Blues music paraphernalia. Comes alive after 10PM. The Bar used to be located on Dhekelia Road but moved several years ago. By far the best bar in Laranaca for chilled music and spirits.
- Caramel Club, 2 Agiou Spyridonos. 11.30pm - 5am. Disco club. Music of all tastes from international Dj sets till morning and elegant dress code. Mixed Russian/Greek/Briton crowd