Larnaca

Overview

Introduction

This port city in Greek Cyprus is the site of the main international airport. Larnaca offers limited sightseeing attractions: Most visitors arrive and then leave quickly. If you do find yourself in Larnaca, spend time on the beaches or tour the Ayia Phaneromeni Church, which is built over a rock cave, and the ninth-century Byzantine Church of St. Lazarus, which is reputed to hold the saint's remains. (According to local lore, after being brought back to life by Jesus, Lazarus became the first bishop of Larnaca.) On the north side of town, explore the ancient ruins of the city of Kition, especially the Phoenician temple of Astarte, which dates to the 13th century BC.

In the winter, the nearby Great Salt Lake is home to thousands of pink flamingos. Close by the lake you'll also find the tekke (grave) of Hala Sultan, an aunt of the Muslim prophet Muhammad and a site of great importance in the world of Islam. The Church of Panayia Angeloktisto, in nearby Kiti, has excellent seventh-century Byzantine mosaics. Nearby are the towns of Lefkara and Ayia Napa, the Neolithic settlement outside the town of Khirokitia, Stavrovouni Monastery and Kornos (a village with wonderful pottery).

Larnaca's seafront has undergone considerable renovation and is an extremely pleasant place to stroll in the late afternoon as all the bars and restaurants begin to come to life. There are some excellent seafood tavernas there. 25 mi/40 km southeast of Nicosia.

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