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Larnaca is a city on the southeast coast of Cyprus. The major international airport of Cyprus, Larnaca International Airport is located in this city. In ancient times, Larnaca 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 Hebrews for the Greeks and Romans. Larnaca is colloquially known as "Skala" to the Greek Cypriot community and "İskele" to the Turkish Cypriots.
Cyprus Car Rental is at your service in Larnaca.
Larnaca is the oldest living city of Cyprus and was originally known as Kition, or Kittium. Legend has it that the first settlement at the spot was founded by Noah's great-grandson Kittim. Unlike other ancient cities of Cyprus, which were abandoned by their inhabitants, Larnaca from the time of its founding 6,000 years ago, has existed and still exists on the same site.
The city of Larnaka is well-known for its picturesque sea-front which includes rows of palm trees. 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.
It has a population of 72,000 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. The famous stoic philosopher Zeno of Citium hailed from the city. It is said he began his stoic teaching after losing everything he had in a shipwreck.
A famous Athenian general, Kimon, died at sea defending the city of Citium in a major battle with the Persians of Xerxes. On his deathbed, he urged his officers to conceal his death from both allied and Persians. The quote "Και Νεκρος Ενικα" "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.
In 1974 Turkey invaded the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Army displaced by force about 200,000 Greek-Cypriots, the inhabitants of its Northern part. Larnaca received and welcomed over 40.000 refugees, thus tripling its population overnight, now at 65,000.
Larnaca - Tourist Resort
Larnaca is one of the major seaside resorts in Cyprus. There are numerous beaches in and around Larnaca which which extend for approx 25 km (16 mi). The main Phinikoudes and McKenzie beaches both have been awarded Blue Flags for environmental cleanliness. With Cyprus Car Hire you can easily explore all the beaches and find your perfect spot you like.
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. There is one main six-screen cinema called 'K-Cineplex' which opened in 2001 and is on the edge of the town. Most English language films are shown in English with Greek subtitles.
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. Larnaca is the ideal base for exploring the rest of Cyprus with Cyprus Car Hire.
Places of interest
The following places of interest you can reach at your pleasure with Cyprus Car Rental.
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.
Larnaca Salt Lake 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 scraped from its dried up surface. The salt from this lake is now considered unfit for human consumption. Ayia Phaneromeni 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 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.
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.
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.
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