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Places of Interest
Larnaca
Larnaca - Home of Agios Lazaros Larnaca seafront is vaguely reminiscent of the Continental promenade, with its line of mature palms and its languid air of sleepy charm. Cafes and tavernas line the area near the sea, making this a popular spot with visitors and Cypriots alike during the long summer. Nearby is the Marina, frequented by yachtsmen from all over the world. As the home of the island's main international airport, Larnaca offers many visitors their first taste of Cyprus. One of the first sights is the beautiful Salt Lake, home in the cooler months to colonies of graceful flamingos and other migratory birds. Also of interest is the ancient city- kingdom of kition established by Mycenean Greeks in the 13th century B.C., the Church of Agia Faneromeni, built over a rock cave dating from the 8th century B.C. and the 18th century aqueduct on the outskirts of town.

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 Larnaca
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 Larnaca District Museum
houses a rich collection of antiquities from Larnaca and its surrounding district.

The Perides Museumv
contains a unique collection of antiquities collected by four generations of the Pierides family.

The Municipal Museum of natural history of Larnaca
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 Larnaca, 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 Larnaca 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 Larnaca Salt Lake
is near Larnaca 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 Larnaca, 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 Larnaca, 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 Larnaca) 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 Larnaca into the town. The aqueduct is illuminated at night.

Famagusta
Famagusta (Ammochostos)- The Golden beaches, with its superb golden sandy beaches, this area has become a big draw for sun seekers. But this part of the island traditionally remains the market garden of Cyprus, with the well-known Cyprus potato being the prominent crop.

Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa, once a small fishing village, boasts a superb Venetian period decorated monastery with a central octagonal fountain. It lends character and substance to a village that's better known to holidaymakers' for its colourful shops, tavernas, discos and bars. A small Marina Life Museum presents exhibits of past and present marine fauna. The focal point of the resort is the small harbour, where the tavernas specialise in fresh fish harvested by colourful fishing vessels. Life in the south eastern corner mostly revolves around the sea, and water sports of all kinds are readily enjoyed- from scuba diving to paragliding.

Protaras
Protaras has built up a deserving reputation for its windmills and glorious beaches. The small, white-washed town of Paralimni, slightly inland, has a number of open-air, unspoilt tavernas known for their delicious local cuisine.

Cape Greko
Cape Greko, on the very tip, has its own share of beaches and coves. With its contrasting rugged countryside, the dramatic fiery glow of sunsets from this spot has to be seen to be believed. Small churches dating from the 13th and 16th centuries are found in sotira and in nearby villages. The skilful craft of basket making still carries on at Liopetri. The fishing shelter at Potamos Liopetriou, just east of the village of Xylofagou, is a photogenic inlet where fishermen mend their nets by day, before setting sail in the evening to farm the sea.

Stravrovouni
Stavrovouni, one of the oldest and most dramatically sited monasteries in Cyprus, founded by Saint Helena, is within reach of Larnaca. Perched atop a mountain it has stunning views in all directions although women are not permitted inside and men have to wear long trousers. Again within striking distance of Larnaca, is the Church of Panagia Angeloktisti, which houses the 6th century lifesize Byzantine mosaic of the Virgin Mary. A visit to the village of Lefkara, famed for the lace-like embroidery known as 'Lefkaritika' that was said to captivate Leonardo da Vinci, is also a treat.

Lefkosia (Nicosia)

Lefkosia (Nicosia) One of a Kind Without a doubt, the 1000 year old capital should be on every visitor's agenda. It lies roughly in the centre of the island; within easy reach of the other towns and a day in Lefkosia will be a day well spent. The old walled city is unique and definitely the place to head for first. Encircled by strong fortress walls built by the Venetians in the 16th century, the enchanting old city is scattered with buildings and monuments of historical interest as well as little shops, cafes and tavernas. The Lefkosia jewellery Museum, the Museum of the History of the Cypriot Coinage and the Municipal Arts Centre, are all worth a visit. The Leventis Municipal Museum of Lefkosia, with an imaginative presentation of the capital's history, was awarded the title "1991 European Museum of the Year". To walk through the old city is to step backwards in time. Narrow streets and old houses with ornate balconies jut from weather beaten sandstone walls, and craftsmen in small workshops practise trades unchanged for centuries. "Laiki Geitonia" - Folk Neighbourhood - is a pedestrian section which, has been carefully renovated to evoke the atmosphere of past days. The two main streets of Old Nicosia, Lidra and Onasagorou, are lined with shops of every type, and both streets are pedestrian-only. Not to be missed, is the unique Cyprus Museum, housing the island's most important collection of Cypriot antiquities and treasures from the Neolithic Age to the Roman Period. In contrast to these ancient finds in the State Collection of Contemporary Art, and on the other side of town, just off the main Lemesos road, is the Cyprus Handicraft Centre. Another award winner is the renovated "Pyli Ammochostou" - Famagusta Gate - one of the original entrances to the old city, which won the Europa nostra award for its restoration. Many old churches are to be found in this part of the town, and other places of interest are the Folk Art and Byzantine Museums, the Archbishopric, the Cathedral of Agios Ioannis with its beautiful frescoes, the National Struggle Museum and the intriguing house of Chatzigeorgakis Kornesios- a fine example of 18th century architecture- which houses the Ethnological Museum. Not far from these monuments is the infamous "Green Line" that divides the Republic from the illegally occupied area to the north. It has been in existence since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the island and claimed 37% of Cyprus as a breakaway pseudo-state that has since been recognised by no nation, other than Turkey. The modern city has developed outside the walls in a cosmopolitan centre of business and culture. Lefkosia is regarded as the shopping heart of Cyprus, with a variety of restaurants, discos and bars. Within easy reach of the capital are such historic gems as the 12th century painted churches of Asinou and Agioi Apostoloi at Pera Chorio Nisou, the regal tombs at Tamassos, the ancient city-kingdom of Idalion and the enchanting villages of Fikardou and Kakopetria.

Troodos
Majestic Troodos; nothing could be more dramatically different from Mediterranean beach life, than the impressive mountain range that stretches across the centre of Cyprus and reaches up to 1.952 metres at Chionistra, the highest point of Mount Olympus. Admiring panoramic vistas and breathtaking the cool, pine-scented air makes a heady change from the coasts and plains which are only a relatively short drive away. There's plenty to see in these mountains. Nine of the many Byzantine churches are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List for the exquisite art depicted in their icons, frescoes and architecture. Moufflon have been protected for a number of years in a huge natural reserve in the magnificent Cedar Valley; visitors can often see these timid creatures. There are scenic walks to take, a great variety of interesting birds and flora to be seen, waterfalls and special picnic sites, and above all, there are villages of immeasurable charm to wander round, or simply to dally in and observe the unhurried rustic country life. The mountain villages are absolutely charming and the people friendly and hospitable. Each village has a special crop, craft or product for which it is known - fruits such as cherries, apples or peaches sweet specialities like soujouko and palouze, wines, zivania - a highly alcoholic vine by-product, rosewater, pottery ... the list is endless. A stay in the mountains is definitely recommended. There you will enjoy the morning mist on the mountain peaks, cool air and breathtaking views that makes staying at one of the 'hillside' hotels a welcome break. The higher slopes are thronged with sports enthusiasts throughout the year, so much for skiing as for hiking along the nature trails, which have clearly marked environmental features of interest. A number of interesting monasteries are scattered in the Troodos range. The largest and most famous is Kykko monastery, with a golden icon of the Virgin Mary, allegedly painted by Saint Luke. Other monasteries are Machairas and Trooditissa with its distinctive steep sloped roof.

Limassol
Limassol (Lemesos) - Heart of the Vine Country Combining its roles at the second largest city, the island's main port, the centre of the wine industry and a bustling holiday resort, Limassol emerges as a spirited and cosmopolitan seaside town. It holds the island's two top festivals, the pre-lenten Carnival with fancy dress balls, parades and festivities and in September the Wine festival, where wine flows freely for everyone to enjoy, courtesy of the local wineries. Limassol emerged out of the two most important ancient city-kingdoms, Amathous, to the east of the town, and Kourion to the west, both of which are being extensively excavated. The magnificent setting of the ancient Kourion Theatre is used for summer concerts and theatrical productions.

Paphos
Paphos (Paphos) - Playground of the Gods Capital of the West and positively teeming with history is Paphos, site of the island's second international airport. The resort town has as its focal point a charming fishing harbour by Paphos Fort, lined with open-air cafes and tavernas that serve a tempting menu of the day's catch. It was on Paphos shoreline that the mythological Goddess Aphrodite was born, a legend that spawned a massive wave of cult worship from neighbouring countries that lasted several centuries. The large rock that juts from the sea is known as "Petra tou Romiou"- The Venus Rock- while the Baths of Aphrodite at Polis also echoes her apparent penchant for the island. At Pale Paphos, Kouklia lie the remains of the Goddess earliest Sanctuary. Another "first" for Paphos was its early recognition of Christianity. While under Roman rule in 45 A.D., it was here that Saint Paul converted the first ruler to the faith. The legacy from its remarkable history adds up to nothing less than an open museum, so much so that UNESCO simply added the whole town to its World Cultural Heritage List. Among the treasures unearthed, are the remarkable mosaics in the House of Dionysos, Theseus and Aion, beautifully preserved after 16 centuries under the soil. Then there are the mysterious vaults and caves, The Tombs of the Kings, the Pillar to which Saint Paul was allegedly tied and whipped, the ancient Odeon Theatre and other places of interest including the Byzantine Museum and the District Archaeological Museum. Geroskipou with its remarkable five-domed Byzantine church of Agia Paraskevi, and its Folk Art Museum is a village known for many years for its special delight "loukoumi". Agios Neofytos Monastery, famous for its 'Encleistra', Enclosure, carved out of the mountain by the hermit himself, boasts some of the finest Byzantine frescoes of the 12th and the 15th centuries. Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery makes its own range of wines using homegrown grapes. A small museum dedicated to Archibishop Makarios, is found at Pano Panagia. From here it is a rewarding drive to the majestic Cedar Valley, home of the indigenous Cyprus horned sheep, the Lempa village can be singled out as one with particular historic significance. In its pretty setting near the sea, Lempa's link with prehistory is the site of a chalcolithic settlement, today the faithful reconstruction of several dwellings, gives an insight into chalcolithic life on the island. Further north lies the resort-town of Polis, overlooking the beautiful Chrysochou Bay with its charming fishing refuge of Latsi. The relatively unspoilt state of the countryside and villages make the area a real delight for the walker and naturalist. The low-lying scenery around Paphos, much of it cultivated with banana plantations and backed by the gentle foothills of the western Troodos range, has an attractively open quality to it. This is the gateway to the Penisula of Akamas, a natural wilderness of incredible beauty with breathtaking gorges, spectacular coastlines and enjoyable nature trails.
Last Modified 'Places of Interest': 27. Oct 2012, 16:55
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