The advantages of Larnaca as a tourist resort are numerous. The town is large enough to give everything one may need but still is not overcrowded especially at its beautiful beaches which extend for 25 kilometers. The archaeological sites and its six museums are in the center of the city within walking distance. Summer sports, sea activities and cruises are readily available. The shops are well stocked, medical care is excellent, its cinemas are screening films simultaneously with the cinemas of Europe and the USA . The variety of restaurants, tavernas, cafeterias and bars is very great. The Cyprus 'meze' is the food specialty of the town. Night life is interesting and security in the streets unsurpassed. Cultural life is rich and many events are organized by the town's Municipality almost daily.
Because of the mild climate in the winter and the genuine hospitality of the local people, Larnaca enjoys tourism at very high occupancy rates all the year round. Larnaca with its wider area has 9.500 hotel beds, about 10% of the total all island tourist capacity. Along the Larnaca bay there are luxurious beach hotels as also hotel apartments or holiday apartments of very high standards a prices generally lower from the rest of the island. Larnaca being in the center of the country is the ideal base for exploring the rest of Cyprus . Its international airport lies a few kilometers from the center of the town and still the town is completely outside the cone of landing and departing aircraft.
Places to see in Larnaca
THE CHURCH OF ST. LAZARUS .
This magnificent Orthodox Church 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 FORT OF LARNAKA
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.
THE LARNAKA DISTRICT MUSEUM
houses a rich collection of antiquities from Larnaca and its surrounding district.
THE PERIDES MUSEUM
contains a unique collection of antiquities collected by four generations of the Pierides family.
THE MUNICIPAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY OF LARNAKA
is unique in its kind of Cyprus . Birds, animals reptiles, insects, fossils, rocks, species from the marine life and plants are exhibited there.
Most of the exhibits originate from Cyprus , but there is also a number of items from other countries, seas and oceans.
The Municipal Museum of Natural History of Larnaka, is housed in a building of seven rooms within the Municipal Garden , at Gregory Afxentiou Avenue .
In the first two rooms, birds and animals are exhibited. In the third room reptiles are on display. The fourth room presents a collection of the rocks of Cyprus as well as fossils from different parts of the Island . The fifth room is dedicated to marine life. Here in addition to the sea-shells, corals, fish and other species of marine life, is an aquarium with life fish.
Unique in the whole world, is the collection of 'insects of Cyprus ' which are displayed in the sixth room and which surely are of great interest.
Of the greatest also interest are the Cypriot endemic plants which are exhibited in the seventh room.
In a period when the need for protecting and preserving our environment is a matter of high importance, the Larnaka Municipal Museum of Natural History is a small contribution, which will help the public to be acquainted with and love the beauty of the natural environment of our country.
THE LARNAKA SALT LAKE
is near Larnaka International Airport . It 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 is scraped from its dried up surface. The salt from this lake is now considered unfit for human consumption.
THE ANGELOKTISTI CHURCH (meaning built by the Angels)
at Kiti, a village 7 miles south of Larnaka, is also worth seeing. The Byzantine mosaic of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the central apse is the best in Cyprus . Some of the icons are also magnificent.
THE HALA SULTAN TEKKE
is about 5 kilometers 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 MARBLE BUST OF ZENO
stands at the crossroads near the American Academy . Zeno was born in Kition (ancient Larnaka) in 326 B.C. After studying philosophy in Athens he founded the famous Stoic school or philosophy.
THE PHANEROMENI CHURCH .
About half - way between the monument of Zeno and Salt Lake on the right, there is the underground chapel of Ayia Phaneromeni. It 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 RUINS OF THE ANCIENT CITY OF KITION.
The earliest architectural remains date back to the 13th century B.C. the area was rebuilt by Archaean Greeks. The remains of the Cyclopean Walls, made of giant blocks and the complex of the five temples, are particularly interesting.
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.
about 15 miles west of Larnaka, stands on the peak of a striking lone mountain over which St. Helena, the finder of the cross of Jesus, saw a strange light gleam. Taking it as a sign from heaven, she founded the monastery and left a piece of the Cross enshrined there.