Larnaca District Attractions Lárnaka Eparkhía
The Larnaca region has become much more popular since the 1974 Turkish invasion. The area inherited most of the refugees who lost their homes in the invasion and subsequent occupation.The area thrived with the new population and it now has numerous modern tourist centers, especially in Larnaca town and on the Larnaca-Dhekelia Road.
Larnaca - Choirokoitia Neolithic Settlement
Some 10.5mi/17km southwest of Larnaca are the remains of the Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia (about 6,800-5,250 B.C.), with the foundations of walls, circular hut bases and tombs.Excavations here have brought to light one of the most important Neolithic cultures in the world, with a defensive wall, circular houses, tombs and many stone utensils.The biggest house on the site is called Tholos I and is part of a complex of buildings that must have belonged to the most important family. Each hut had a flattened earth floor, raised platforms at the edges for sleeping, some sort of fireplace and a central pole to support the roof. The houses were built close together and linked by narrow passageways across the hillside.The site has four areas. One enters through some modern steps to the main street, which is still visible today. In this area are significant remains of the beehive-shaped houses and in the middle is a larger house, up to 9 meters in diameter. The second area, further up the road, has houses B and C, which contained numerous burials. Area 3 has several mudbrick houses, including house F, which contained 26 burials. The final area is at the far end of the site, up the hill. From here it is possible to get a clearer impression of the site as a whole, which is otherwise quite confusing. This part contains the oldest building.Many rich finds have been made at Khoirokoitia. They included decorated bowls and human figures in green-gray rock. A clay human head sculpted in a naturalistic way was one of the most interesting artifacts which, along with all the finds from the site, is in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia.
Larnaca - Stavrovouni Monastery (Hill of the Cross)
West of Larnaca, on a commanding hill, stands the Stavrovouni Monastery (Hill of the Cross, 2,231ft/680m), founded in 327 by Ste Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine.The whole mountain has long been important in religious terms. In the Classical period, pilgrims came to a temple to Aphrodite at its summit.Perched on the rocky peak now is Stavrovouni or Mountain of the Cross. According to tradition, it was founded in A.D. 370 by St Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, who left a fragment of the Holy Cross to the Monastery.At the time Cyprus was said to have infested by deadly snakes and the forests were said to be burning.It is widely believed that the cross brought an end to those plagues on the island.In 1426 the monastery was burned by the Arabs and again by the Turks in 1570. The monks returned a century later, although the current monastery was built in the 19th century.There is an impressive ceremony and celebrations on September 14. The Monastery of Ste Barbara (Ayía Varvára) at the foot of Stavrovouni Hill, is easily accessible. The monks here have a high reputation for icon painting.
Larnaca - Kition Archeological Site
Approximately 500 meters northeast of the Larnaca Archeological Museum is Kition, one of the most important ancient city-kingdoms, with architectural remains dating back to the 13th century B.C. In about 1200 B.C. it was rebuilt by the Mycenaean Greeks and excavations have revealed cyclopean walls made of giant blocks of stone and a complex of five temples.The modern city of Larnaca covers most of the site but there are several parts worth visiting. The first is the Mycenean site, on Kimonos, first excavated in 1962-3 and where a large amount of pottery, ornaments and jewelry were found.The main site is on Leonitou Machaira Street. Excavations are still going on and visitors can observe these from a raised wooden platform. The earliest discoveries were from the 13th century B.C. with a Mycenean city built on top. The main points to look for are the remains of the city wall made from gigantic blocks of stone and a temple which was rebuilt several times to different gods, the last by the Phoenicians to Astarte. Some outlines of ships can be seen on the wall.
Larnaca - Salt Lake
To the west of the town of Larnaca lies the Salt Lake, the haunt of migrant flamingoes from December to March.The Salt Lake (1.2sq.mi/2.2sq.km), just off the airport road, is one of the most distinctive landmarks of the area.In the winter it fills with water and attracts large numbers of migrating birds, including flamingoes, which form a blaze of pink as they gather in the center of the lake.In the summer the water evaporates, leaving a crust of salt and a haze of gray dust.According to legend, the lake's saltiness stems from St Lazarus' request of an old woman for food and drink. She refused, saying her vines had dried up, to which he said "may your vines be dry and be a salt lake forever more."Another explanation is that the salt water penetrates the porous rock between the lake and the sea, making the water very salty.The salt used to be one of the island's major exports, being collected by donkeys and carried to the edge of the lake to form huge pyramids. These days only 3,500 tons are collected each year.
Hala Sultan Tekke
On the west side of the Salt Lake in Larnaca is the Hala Sultan Tekke, a mosque built to house the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed's foster-mother.Hala Sultan Tekke is 3km west of Larnaca on the road to Kiti, passing the Larnaca Airport. Built in 1816 over the tomb of Umm Haram, allegedly a relative of the Prophet Mohammed.Umm Haram came to Larnaca in A.D. 645. She fell from her mule, broke her neck and was buried here. The Turks built the mosque in 1816 and her tomb is inside the mosque, beneath two stones 18ft/5.5m high.The mosque is an important place of Muslim pilgrimage, ranking immediately after the shrines of Mecca, Medina and Al Aqsha in Jerusalem.
Dhekelia British Sovereign Base, Cyprus
Dhekelia is a British Sovereign Base east of Larnaca town. Sovereignty over the base was granted to the British under the Independence settlement and it remains of central strategic importance to the British military and NATO.The whole base contrasts sharply with the surrounding area. The houses are distinctively British and the flashes of green playing fields are unique in summer, where everything else on the island has turned brown in the heat. Visitors can usually pass through the base easily, although there is a checkpoint at the entrance and occasionally there is a military alert and diversions.The internal roads of the base itself are now sealed off with barbed wire.There is an accessible beach just below the CESSAC bookshop, which is well stocked with English books.The base also has a golf course, which can be accessed through arrangements with the Dhekelia Golf Club.
Larnaca International Airport
The Larnaca International Airport was built after the Turkish invasion of 1974, when the Nicosia airport was put under the control of the United Nations. Its construction led to the development of Larnaca into a major tourist center.It is the main point of entry to the island, the other being the smaller Paphos International Airport.There are rental car agencies and a tourist information office on the premises.The Cyprus Flying School also operates on nearby runways.
Tenta Neolithic Settlement, Kalavasos, Cyprus
Tenta is located 40km from Larnaca, 2.5km off the Nicosia-Limassol road near the village of Kalavasos. It is one of the most important Neolithic settlements in Cyprus.A number of circular huts with plastered walls were found here. On these walls, traces of paintings have been discovered, including what seems to be a depiction of a human figure. The same sort of burials are found here as at Khoirokoitia.
This village, near Kiti, is quickly becoming a tourist center and is especially popular with locals looking for a summer holiday at the beach.The village has two lighthouses, one modern and one ancient, as well as ruins of a Phoenician temple and a Venetian watchtower. In the tower is the coat of arms of the lion of St Mark.There is a shipwreck from the Byzantine period lying offshore.
Larnaca - Kamares Aqueduct
The Kamares Aqueduct is located in the Kamares area on the Larnaca-Limassol road. This beautiful aqueduct was built in 1746 by the Turks to provide water for the town and was in use until 1930. It has 33 arches.
Larnaca - Makenzie Beach
Just east of Larnaca town, off the airport road, is Makenzie Beach, which is popular with the locals and has numerous cafes and restaurants specializing in local delicacies.There are water-sports facilities on the beach.
Larnaca - St Minas Convent
Pyrga - Royal Chapel
A short distance northwest of the Stavrovouni Monastery is the village of Kornos, famed for its unglazed pottery in Archaic designs.
Larnaca Nautical Club
Larnaca Shooting Club
The Larnaca Shooting Club is located on the southwest side of the salt lake, off the Limassol-Larnaca Highway, behind the old Roman Aqueduct (Kamares).