Larnaca is famous for its sunny days, as well as for its cultural heritage. Emperors and saints have crossed the island and each one has marked it with something special. Counting more than 2000 years of history and surviving "through fire and flames", Larnaca (Kitio) offers a great variety of cultural heritage, worth to be explored! Let's take a walk through Cyprus' beautiful landmark of culture, Larnaca and some of its "must-visit" sites!
It is the jewellery that stands in the Main square of the city center. The church of Saint Lazarus is one of the most important constructions that have ever been made in Larnaca. It was built above of the tomb of Lazarus, known as the follower of Jesus. After his rose from dead, Lazarus lived in Kitio (now known as Larnaca) for another 30 years and he passed away at the age of 60. The church was built in the 9th century and it was restored in the 17th century.
The most important and famous part of this church is the wooden carved iconostasis, that rises above the roof of the church. In addition, inside the church, you can find two of the most precious and ancient icons: one of Saint Lazarus himself and a second one that represents his rose from death. In addition, you can admire the impressive paintings of the "Virgin and Child", as well as the "Saint George with the Dragon".
Last but not least, it is said that in the ancient times, the entire church has been painted exceptionally, since they found paintings up to the pawns of the church, which unfortunately with the passage of time and the antiquity of church, have fainted away or they have been destroyed.
The sights and nature of this beautiful place will leave you breathless, while its stunning lake, will travel you back in time. Located at 5 kilometres outside the city center, it was built in 1787 and restored in 1816, in honor to Umm Haram, who fell from her horse and died in 647, right at this place. The Hala Sultan Tekke is the fourth most important Mosque, after the one in Mekka, Medina and Al Aksia in Jerusalem.
As everyone knows, Cyprus suffered a lot from conquerors in ancient years, so the locals needed to protect their coast. So what would be better than a fort next to the harbor? It is said that the castle dates back to the Byzantine days, when a small fort near the harbour has been constructed; however, experts say that in fact, it dates back to the 12th century. Actually, the castle was built in 1625 and nowadays hosts all the artefacts from the ancient Kition. During the days of the British conquerors, the castle was used as a prison, where gallows have been installed, to execute prisoners. Also the castle was used as a prison too, during the Cypriot civil war.
After the independence of Cyprus, the castle was transformed into a museum, while the courtyard, into a theatre. The museum hosts an exhibition of antiques dating back to Byzantine, post Byzantine and Christian period, as well as a lot more exhibits, that showcase the island's longlasting history.
When you will find yourself on the way to Lemesos, another grandiose city of Cyprus, don’t forget to stop in the Kamares Aqueduct. The Kamares Aqueduct, known as Bekir Pasha Aqueduct, was built in 1747 and it was funded by Ebubekir Pasha, the Ottoman Governor of Larnaca at the time. It is one of the most prominent water supplies, that was ever built in Cyprus. It was named Kamares, which literally translates to "arches". Its total length reaches 15 kilometers, 8 of which are underground and the rest on substructions and arcades.
For the "fancy of nature", you should definitely visit the Stavrovouni Monastery. The monastery stands on 750 above the sea level, at the top of a rocky peak, called homonymously, Stavrovouni. It took its name from the location, as well as from the findings of the monastery. The story behind the name is hidden in the three crosses, that were found there. They said to be the three crosses, where Jesus and the two thieves have been crucified on. This is why the name of the monastery is Stavrovouni; "cross" in Greek is "stavros" and "mountain" is "vouno". The monastery was founded by Saint Helena in 327 AC, -who was the mother of Constantine the Great, the Byzantine Emperor- and it is the oldest monastery in the world.
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