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Larnaca, (Greek: Λάρνακα, Turkish: Larnaka) is a city of the Republic of Cyprus situated on the southern coast of Cyprusmarker. It has a population of 72,000 (2001) and is the island's second largest commercial port and an important tourist resort. The island's largest airport, Larnaca International Airportmarker is located on the outskirts of the city.

To the north of the city lies the island's oil refinery, which has been reduced to a storage facility after the refinery itself has been sold in 2008. To the south is 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). Larnaca Marina is one of the four official entry points, by sea, to Cyprus. Much of the activity is centred around 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 loukmades restaurants (a sweet delicacy) it has extended to about three weeks, during which the seafront is closed to traffic in the evenings.


Larnaca was founded by Phoeniciansmarker and was known as Kitionmarker, 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 Athenianmarker 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.

Municipality Square with Hotel Sun Hall in the background, Larnaca
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.



Seaside Avenue "Foinikoudes", Larnaca
Seaside Avenue "Foinikoudes", Larnaca
The Old Aqueduct outside the city of Larnaca
Marina Larnaca

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 Marble Bust of Zeno, which stands at the crossroads near the American Academy. Zeno was born in Kition (ancient Larnaka) in 334 BC. After studying philosophy in Athensmarker he founded the famous Stoic school of philosophy.

Near Larnaca International Airport there is the Larnaca Salt Lakemarker. 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 Lazarusmarker (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, bishop of Larnaca. Four days dead. Friend of Jesus.” The marble sarcophagus can be seen inside the church under the Holy of Holies.

The Hala Sultan Tekkemarker 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, who was the foster mother of Prophet Mohammed. According to Muslim historical accounts 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 by the Ottoman Governor Koca Bekir Pasha 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.


Eurocypria Airlines has its head office in the Artemis Building in Larnaca. Prior to its disestablishment, Helios Airways had its head office on the grounds of Larnaca International Airportmarker in Larnaca.



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, and also Intercollege.


Larnaca boasts a Municipal Band of over 60 musicians competent in all families of musical instruments. Larnaca Municipal Band offers a large repertoire of music, ranging from marching-parade music to Latin, and from Greek favourites to rock and roll. Apart from playing for parades on national holidays, the band also makes regular appearances in various concerts and music festivals throughout Cyprus and abroad, representing both Larnaca and Cyprusmarker internationally.


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 Stadiummarker 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 Papadopoulosmarker" is the Anorthosis' stadium and "Ammochostosmarker" (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

Municipal Council

The mayor of Larnaca is Andreas Moiseos and the deputy mayor is Alexis Michaelides.

The members of the council, according to political party are:

Zaouras Ioannis
Zaouras Ioannis
Melekkis Andreas
Grigoriou Grigoris
Antoniou Chrystalla
Nikolaou Floros
Xenofon Kyriakides
Koukouma Marios
Christofidou Leontiadou Emily
Georgiou Nikolas

Louka Eleni
Anastasiou Stasis Nikos
Kasoulidou Annoula
Evangelou Afxentis
Manoli Theologos
Tsaggari Floros
Sofroniou Lakis
Plastira Ilias
Tsigaridou Eleni

Iasonides Iasonas
Vovides Takis
Trifonos Trifonas
Prokopiou Georgios

Pitsillides Michalakis
Kitipos Panayiotis

Elia Elias


Larnaca International Airportmarker in Larnaca is the main international airport in Cyprus.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Larnaca Municipality is twinned with the following:

See also



External links

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