Culture and History
East meets West in Larnaca as both Christianity and Islam have revered religious sites here, with the mosque of Hala Sultan, an important Moslem place of pilgrimage, and the church of St Lazarus, Jesus’ friend whom he resurrected from the dead.
Places worth visiting in the District of Larnaca
Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further details regarding the below sights.
Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque
The Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque overlooking the Salt Lake is one of the holiest Islamic places and a Muslim pilgrimage site. It is built on the tomb of Umm Haram, wet nurse of Prophet Mohammed and wife of Ouvadas Ibn, who led the invasion against Cyprus in 649 and 650 AD. The simple grave has now transformed into a beautiful mosque. An extremely sacred shrine, it is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year.
St Lazarus Church
This important religious institution of Larnaca was built in 9th century A.D. Devoted to St. Lazarus, he is said to have lived in Kition for about 30 years after his resurrection by Christ. It is believed that the church is erected upon the empty grave of the saint, who is actually buried in France. Eight days before Easter, the icon of Saint Lazarus is carried in a procession through the streets of Larnaca.
The Pierides Museum
The Pierides Museum is one of the most important museums in Cyprus and home to preserved collections depicting Cypriot culture, right through the centuries. Its archaeological collection includes the Pierides Family House dating back to 1825. The museum displays collections from the main periods of Cypriot history.
Choirokitia Neolithic Settlement
This famous site of Larnaca is known to be one of the best-preserved pre-historic sites of the eastern Mediterranean. It contains the remains of a Neolithic settlement dating from 7000 B.C. Located on the main Larnaca-Lemesos road; UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1998. Evidence of the settlement is found in form of farmer's houses, burnt grains of barley and wheat, tombs and defence walls. The artefacts and remains found here are displayed at the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia.
A popular sight in Larnaca, Salt Lake is home to nearly 85 species of migratory water birds like flamingos. About 10,000 flamingos visit the lake every year around Jan-Feb. In July-Aug, the lake dries up leaving a thick crust of salt measuring up to 10 cm deep. In the Middle Ages, the lake was used to mine salt for commercial purposes, but now it is just a tourist attraction. Situated nearby the Salt Lake is the holy site of Hala Sultan Tekke.
Kition is an ancient city-state located on the southern coast of Cyprus. At present, it is a part of Larnaca, also known as Citium in earlier days. In the 13th century, Greeks established Kition, but it was re-established in 800BC by Phoenicians. The site has been heavily excavated; first by the Swedish Cyprus Expedition in 1929, then the Cyprus Department of Antiquities in 1959 and finally by a French team in 1976.
Larnaca Castle is located on the shore at the south end of 'Phoinikoudes' Chronicle, built between 1382 and 1398 during the region of James-I in order to protect the town's harbour. It is imagined to be in the shape of a square tower, rebuilt in 1625 during the Ottoman period. The fort was used as a prison in the first year of British rule. Because of its historic importance, many rooms have been transformed into museum. The courtyard is used for cultural events in summer season.
Europe Square is located at the beginning of Athens Avenue. It consists of the first colonial buildings built by the British Administration in 1881. The place is full of memories from the past, like the Governor's building, the chief Port Master house and office, the Chief Customs Officer's residence and office, and the colonial port warehouses. These buildings are now occupied by the Palaeontology museum, the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, the City-Museum and Archives, the District Administration of Larnaca, which are considered historically important sites.
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