Larnaca Greek Mysteries
During the 9th and 10th centuries BC, Larnaca, then known as the ancient city of Kition, was a settlement colonized by the Phoenicians. They constructed a magnificent temple of Aphrodite in 850 BC, and later, beautified the city with their charming settlements and architectural structures.
Unfortunately, very little remains of the once majestic Greek architecture that made the ancient city of Kition immensely popular. However, one can still explore Greek heritage and mythology at the archaeological sites offered by Larnaca.
Here are some of the top attractions to revel in the Greek heritage of Larnaca:
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One of the most profoundly significant sites in Larnaca’s Greek heritage, the Stavrovouni Monastery rests atop a breathtaking mountain peak, and is home to the most poignantly devout brotherhood of monks who keep their vows and allegiance to those of Mount Athos, located in Greece.
This scenic monastery was founded by Saint Helen in 330 A.D., the mother of St. Constantine the Great. Saint Helen was known for her extensive travels, and after a trip to the Holy Land of Jerusalem, she brought along a piece of the Holy Cross. The monastery takes its name from the Holy Cross, which has been encased in a gigantic silver cross.
Women are not allowed to enter the monastery, however, one of the monks often come down to interact with them. Men are allowed to visit the monastery at all hours, expect for the hours between 12 and 1pm. If you’re visiting the Stavrovouni Monastery, you simply cannot miss the picturesque Monastery of Agia Varvara, dedicated to Saint Barbara, which lies at the bottom of the mountain. It is home to some of the most talented monks in Cyprus, who happen to be legendary painters who are famous for their work all across the island.
Read more about Stavrovouni Monastery on Wikipedia
Ancient city of Kition
Buried underneath the present-day city of Larnaca, the archaeological site of Kition was once the ancient kingdom of Cyprus’ most powerful empire. The archaeological remnants of the kingdom in Larnaca consist of two important cites, Kathari and Pampoula.
Excavators reveal that these sites are of great significance in Greek mythology and history, as the earliest settlers were the Phoenicians and the Mycenaean Greek, who inhabited these lands around 3000 years ago. Back in the Mycenaean age, the city of Larnaca was known as Kittim. Exploring these ancient runs allow you to explore the lifestyle and rituals of the Phoenician settlement, the Mycenaean civilization, and even some ruins dating back to the Bronze Age.
The Pampoula site is probably the most fascinating quarter, especially the two harbors that provide insight into the commercial and military arrangements of the earliest Greek settlements. You can still see the ramps that were used for towing the ships some 3000 years ago!
Find out more about ancient city of Kition
Church of Lazarus
Bird watching at the Larnaca Salt Lake
Another splendid picnic-perfect spot, the Larnaca Salt Lake is tucked towards the west of Larnaca, and if you are an avid bird watcher or photographer, it is the ultimate destination for your passion. The months of winter are much more special as it is the period when the lake is filled with thousands of pink flamingos.
Free Guided Walks through Larnaca
The Larnaca Tourism Council offers free guided walks across Larnaca, which allow you to explore the culture and heritage of the city. There are two guided tours for free: the “Larnaca – Past and Present” and the “Scala – Its Craftsmen”.
Each walk lasts for 2 hours, and takes a short break in between at a local coffee shop. You don’t have to make any bookings, just check out the Larnaca Tourism Council website to find the starting point, and then arrive at 10am to join the tour.
More about these Guided Tours
Experience Old World Charm of Skala
Explore the Kyriazis Medical Museum
Last but certainly not least on our list of free things to do in Larnaca, the Kyriazis Medical Museum is the perfect spot for you if you adore bizarre and out of the ordinary!
This small museum is a treasure trove of the medical history of Larnaca, and it will take you on a quirky adventure that offers incredible insight into the healthcare practices dating back to hundreds of years. The entry is absolutely free, but the museum is only open on Wednesday and Saturday, from 9am to 12pm.
Read more about Kyriazis Medical Museum