LARNACA is likely to give visitors their first impressions of Cyprus
since the island's largest International Airport is here .
It has flourished as a tourist resort over the past ten years
and is the third largest town in Cyprus ,
though with some 30,000 inhabitants it is much smaller than Nicosia and Limassol .
Most of the Northern part of the town stands on the site of ancient Kition ,
one of whose illustrious sons was the Philosopher Zeno (335-263 B.C.)
The CHURCH OF ST. LAZARUS is Larnaca's most impressive old building . It stands on the site of the original 9th. Century church , which itself was built over the tomb of Lazarus whom Christ resurrected . Lazarus is said to have sailed to Kition where he eventually died .The building which stands today was erected in the 17th. Century . Inside the church , which has three aisles and three domes , you will see icons , silver furnishings and carved woodwork . St. Lazarus ' tomb is in the crypt under the church .
The PIERIDES MUSEUM is another place of interest , especially to amateur archaeologists and historians . It contains a large collection of archaeologigal finds amassed by the family of Demetrios Pierides (1811-1895) , and the thousands of objects on show span Cypriot history from Neolithic to Byzantine times .
LARNACA PROMENADE , known locally as "Phinikoudes" (Palms) after the trees that line the sea front , is a popular meeting and walking place with the local people . Beyond it stands the Turkish fort built in 1625 and now used as a museum for finds from Kition and other sites . One can walk along the walls which afford good views of the sea .
Some 4 Kms. from Larnaca in the direction of the airport is the HALA SULTAN TEKKE , an important Muslim shrine which is said to contain the remains of Hala Sultan , the maternal aunt of the Prophet Mohammed . The mosque was built in her honour by the Turks in 1816 . Located amid rich greenery it is an impressive sight , especially when viewed across the Salt Lake .
At Kiti , to the West of Larnaca town , is the famous church of PANAYIA ANGELOKTISTOS (built by Angels) . This 11th. century building replaced an earlier one , whilst the chapel at the entrance is of the 14th. century . The outstanding feature of the church is its splendid early Byzantine mosaic , considered to be the finest on the island . The only similar one is in the church of Kanakaria in the occupied Karpass district . The church is certainly worth visiting for the mosaic alone .
The OLD AQUEDUCT was built in 1745 to provide Larnaca with water . It was the largest of three and is known in Greek as "Kamares " which means "Arches" . It dominates the landscape on the Larnaca - Limassol road 3kms. from the town .
KHIROKITIA is the oldest site that one may visit in Cyprus today (an older one lies in the occupied Karpass -Peninsula) , and it dates back to Neolithic times (7000-6000 B.C.) . Discovered in 1934 this significant site revealed numerous stone foundations of bee-hive shaped houses , usually circular . The houses themselves would have been of mud brick and the ancient inhabitants of Khirokitia buried their dead under the floors of their dwellings . As many as 26 adult and infant skeletons have been discovered beneath 8 superimposed floors in one of the houses . The site lies off the main Nicosia-Limassol road , whilst many of the finds are in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia .