History in LarnacaEdit This
It always makes a place more interesting when you know more about it, so here's is a brief overview of Larnaca history before you make your journey to this island city. One of the key cities in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, Larnaca is a major commercial port and a frequent destination for tourists. Travelers come to see the ruins of Kitium,
the Marble Bust of Zeno, or just to lie in the sun and enjoy the
beautiful Mediterranean climate. Whatever the purpose of your visit,
understanding some of Larnaca's long and colorful history can only increase your enjoyment of the city.
One of the oldest cities in Cyprus, Larnica was originally known as Kitium. Larnaca has remained occupied since its founding over 6000 years ago, unlike many other cities which were abandoned at one time or another in their history. It is still possible to visit ruins that date back as far as the 13th century B.C. There are some walls made of giant blocks of stone and a complex of ancient temples located to the northeast of the Archaeological Museum that date from this time period. The ruins are thought to be the remnants of buildings erected by the Mycenean Greeks.
The Byzantine Period
The Byzantine Empire was the eastern European Roman Empire, centered in the capital city of Constantinople. During its time under the sway of the Byzantine Empire, Larnaca gained importance as a port and a key city in Cyprus. One of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture still standing in Larnaca is the Ayios Lazaros Church, or the Church of Saint Lazarus. Saint Lazarus is the patron saint of Larnaca, as the actual Lazarus of Biblical fame lived here for 30 years before his death. The church was restored in the 17th century and is a popular tourist destination to this day. Another important church that remains from the Byzantine era is the Angeloktisti Church, which is in the village of Kiti, located just to the west of Larnaca. Built in the 11th century, the Angeloktisti Church holds a great work of Byzantine art, a mosaic of the Virgin Mary and Child between 2 archangels.
Modern TimesLarnaca has continued to be an important port and a thriving city into modern times. If you visit the Kamares area of Larnaca you will see an aqueduct, first built in the 18th century, that was in use until 1930. A newer addition to the city is the Phinikoudes promenade. The promenade has come to represent the modern Larnaca, with its regularly spaced palm trees and thriving restaurant and bar scene.