Places to visit in Ларнака

Larnaca of May 6, 2024


An evening stroll along Larnaca's seafront promenade is a splendid experience. Starting and ending at Europe Square, this walk encompasses the city's rich history, offering stunning views and atmospheric spots. The promenade features historical landmarks, picturesque scenery, and the island's most famous tavern, housed in an old mansion. This walk is perfect for immersing yourself in Cyprus's patriotic spirit and identity, appreciating Larnaca's role as the gateway to the Levant, and connecting with Cyprus's unique and resilient soul, known as the Cypriot spirit.

Languages: EN
Author & Co-authors
Evgeny Praisman (author)
Здравствуйте! Меня зовут Женя, я путешественник и гид. Здесь я публикую свои путешествия и путеводители по городам и странам. Вы можете воспользоваться ими, как готовыми путеводителями, так и ресурсом для создания собственных маршрутов. Некоторые находятся в свободном доступе, некоторые открываются по промо коду. Чтобы получить промо код напишите мне сообщение на телефон +972 537907561 или на и я с радостью вам помогу! Иначе, зачем я всё это делаю?
3.97 km
4h 46 m
Places with media
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The police building in Larnaca near Europe Square is a notable historical structure. It was constructed during the British colonial period, around the early 20th century, reflecting the colonial architectural style characterized by its symmetrical design, arched windows, and use of local stone.

The building served as an important administrative center during British rule and has witnessed significant events, including various civil and political activities. It is well-known for its distinctive architecture, which stands out in the area and represents a blend of local and colonial influences.

One curious fact about the building is its strategic location near the harbor and Europe Square, which was a bustling center of activity. This location was chosen to facilitate the efficient administration and policing of the area, ensuring control over the port activities and maintaining public order.

Today, the building is not only a functional police station but also a piece of Larnaca's rich history, attracting visitors interested in its architectural beauty and historical significance.

After Cyprus was purchased from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, the British established administrative buildings, including the Larnaka District Administration. This structure, strategically located near the port and the main road to the mountains, symbolized British colonial rule. The architecture, featuring symmetrical design, arched windows, and local stone, was intended to commemorate and solidify British presence on the island.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

Adjacent to the administration building, numerous stone customs warehouses were constructed, which, despite their practical purpose, are noted for their aesthetic appeal. These warehouses were essential for controlling goods and generating revenue for the colonial administration.

Behind these buildings, there is a popular local bar where Cypriots enjoy local beer, grilled meat, and traditional songs, creating a vibrant patriotic atmosphere. Nearby stands the EOKA monument, commemorating the nationalist organization that fought against British rule from 1955 to 1959. EOKA, led by Georgios Grivas and supported by Archbishop Makarios, employed guerrilla tactics to campaign for Cyprus’ union with Greece (Enosis).

The nearby police building, previously mentioned, served as a prison during the British period and played a significant role in the conflict, being a target for EOKA operations. The legacy of the EOKA struggle and the continued sense of Cypriot patriotism are particularly palpable in local taverns and bars, where the history and spirit of resistance are still celebrated.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

British colonial rule brought technological progress to Cyprus. The steam engine installed for the electrification of the colonial administration in Cyprus was a significant innovation by Marshall, Sons & Co. This engine, which resembled a locomotive, was crucial for providing the necessary power to the administration and managing the critical British port operations in Larnaca.

Marshall, Sons & Co., founded in 1848 by William Marshall in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, was a pioneering company in the industrial revolution. Initially focusing on mill gearing, the company soon expanded to produce agricultural machinery, including threshing machines and portable steam engines by 1856. Their robust and reliable machinery, including engines and road rollers, played a significant role in modernizing agriculture and infrastructure during the British colonial period.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The British colonization of Cyprus, which lasted nearly a century, profoundly impacted the island's culture. A notable example of this influence is the Rex Cinema in Larnaca. Opened in the 1950s, the Rex was built on the site of the Salon Pink Cinema, which had burned down in 1948. The Rex quickly became an Art Deco landmark and reached its peak popularity around 1965 with almost continuous movie screenings.

However, with the rise of television, the cinema's popularity declined. Despite attempts to draw audiences with live performances and stage shows, the Rex couldn't compete with newer cinemas and closed in 2018.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The building housing the collection was constructed in 1825 for the family of Cypriot archaeologist and collector Dimitrios Pierides. From the first glance, the architectural features of that era are evident: double-leaf louvered shutters and full-width front balconies with carved wooden supports. The Pierides family continued Dimitrios’s legacy, and in the 1970s, the family mansion was converted into a museum.

The museum’s collection boasts over 2,500 artifacts, dating back to the Neolithic era. Visitors can view glass and ceramic items, antique clothing and jewelry, and examples of Cypriot applied arts. A particular highlight for many is the collection of ancient weapons, while a separate room houses sculptures and figurines. The exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of the island’s economic and cultural development over millennia.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The spacious yet somewhat primitive architectural style of Larnaca’s main square, Europe Square, offers a unique authenticity. Named aptly, the square symbolizes both the ancient Greek city of Kition, reflecting the dawn of European civilization, and the frozen image of the European colonial system.

Europe Square is a site for numerous national events, such as the Hasapiko—a Greek military dance where warriors mimicked battle scenes, attempting to vanquish their imaginary foes. In December 2010, 749 people gathered in Europe Square to perform this dance together, which lasted five minutes. This event exemplifies the square's role as a cultural and historical hub in Larnaca.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

Walking along the promenade and Athens Avenue in Larnaca from Europe Square, one realizes how crucial identity is for Cypriots as part of the pan-Greek and possibly pan-European world. Athens Avenue is significant because it mirrors the famous avenue in Athens, which was developed extensively in the 1950s and 1960s to improve traffic flow and connectivity. In Larnaca, this connection to Athens highlights Cyprus's unique position. While the idea of Enosis, uniting with Greece, never fully came to fruition, Cyprus has developed its own distinct and fascinating path.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

Walking along the seaside boulevard, a common feature in many Mediterranean coastal cities, or down Athens Avenue in towns with a pan-Greek orientation, the most interesting aspect is the local history that reveals the unique characteristics of the place. When this history is connected with culinary delights, it becomes a true gem. Such a gem is the restaurant To Arxontikon, but first, let’s talk about its setting.

The Mansion of Evanthia Pieridou, located on Larnaca’s Foinikoudes Road, is the last standing mansion on the seafront, an area once dominated by grand homes of foreign consulates, European merchants, and local financial magnates. Built in 1850 by Ioannis Pierides, a powerful banker and founder of the commercial Giovanni House in Larnaca, the mansion has a rich history. His daughter, Evanthia Pieridi, the last descendant of the House of Ioannis Pierides, lived there her entire life and was a major benefactor to Larnaca. She bequeathed the mansion to the Larnaca Hospital committee with specific conditions: the property should be rented with the income used for the hospital's needs, and the mansion must maintain its original façade, preserving its historical significance.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The word "Arxontikon" (Αρχοντικόν) in Greek means "mansion" or "manor." It conveys a sense of grandeur and tradition, fitting for a restaurant that prides itself on offering traditional Cypriot cuisine in a historic setting.

It's noteworthy that to this day, the income from the restaurant goes to charity. Now, let's talk about the restaurant itself, which is wonderful. It might seem a bit strange that, while many places on the boulevard are bustling with visitors, this spot remains quiet and serene. The reason is simple: it offers traditional Cypriot cuisine at its best, while the surrounding establishments mostly serve modern mixes, attracting young people who prefer pizza and hamburgers, familiar foods regardless of where they come from.

We decided to try the local cuisine, starting with meze, specifically meat meze, accompanied by wine from nearby wineries, especially from Lefkara, the most famous and closest mountain village to Larnaca. The wine is excellent, and the combination with meze is even better. Among all the meat dishes, the appetizers have an especially delicate and refined taste. When the main meat dishes are served, make sure to note the homemade sausage, similar to black pudding, more familiar to European gourmets, and the local kebabs with tzatziki, which are simply superb. While this isn't the only place offering such delights, everything here is truly exceptional. Be hospitable and rely on the experienced waiters. In Cyprus, as in Turkey and Italy, being a waiter is a respected profession, and they genuinely aim to provide you with an enjoyable experience rather than just making money. Trust them, it's worth it.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

On the Finikoudes Boulevard, there are many delightful places with beautiful design and modern elements, which undoubtedly create an atmosphere of modernity and sophistication. However, it's worth contemplating that an imbalance between the modern and the traditional can negatively impact not only the ambiance and atmosphere but also the "health" of the nation.

Finikoudes Boulevard is named after the small palm trees (finikoudes) that were planted there in the early 20th century. These trees have grown and now define the boulevard, creating a scenic and iconic promenade that attracts both locals and tourists. Maintaining a balance between the rich historical traditions and contemporary developments is essential to preserve the cultural heritage and ensure a healthy and vibrant society.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The Venetian Winged Lion at Athenon 56 in Larnaca is a significant historical monument, symbolizing the connection between Larnaca and Venice. This statue was a gift from Venice to Larnaca in 2010 to commemorate the twinning of the two cities. The lion, which is also known as the Lion of Saint Mark, has been a symbol of Venice since the 9th century, representing Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice.

The statue is strategically placed at the end of the Finikoudes promenade, in front of the medieval Larnaca Castle. This location highlights the historical ties between Larnaca and Venice, reflecting a period when Venetian influence extended across the Mediterranean. The castle itself dates back to the Middle Ages and served as a defensive structure during various periods of Cypriot history. The presence of the Winged Lion statue near the castle underscores Larnaca's rich medieval heritage and its connections to Venetian history and culture.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

This spot at the very end of Finikoudes Boulevard, which connects Europe Square in the north and Larnaca Castle in the south, best encapsulates the city's history in one view. For example, in the distance, you can see the minaret of a mosque, symbolizing the Turkish rule over the town and Cyprus. Nearby, a yellow post box signifies the British presence, as the British introduced postal services to the island. And, of course, the medieval castle speaks to Cyprus's history as part of various medieval kingdoms and as a trading post for Italian city-states. This convergence of landmarks reflects the island's history from the Middle Ages to modern times.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

Larnaca Castle, strategically located at the southern end of Finikoudes Boulevard, was originally built by the Byzantines in the late 12th century to defend the city's important harbour. The site was chosen for its strategic significance, ensuring control over the sea routes and protection against invaders. Before the castle's construction, the area likely hosted a small Byzantine fortification, reflecting Larnaca's growing importance as a port town following the Genoese occupation of Famagusta.

The castle was expanded and fortified between 1382 and 1398 during the reign of Lusignan King James I to enhance the harbour's defences and accommodate the increasing strategic needs of the Kingdom of Cyprus. The construction involved upgrading the existing Byzantine fortifications into a more substantial structure.

Over the centuries, Larnaca Castle hosted several notable figures and served various purposes. During the Ottoman period, it housed a garrison, and in British colonial times, it was used as a prison, with the last execution in 1948. The castle's historical significance attracted many visitors, including explorers and military leaders. Famous explorer Abbot Giovanni Mariti, who visited in the 18th century, documented the castle's semi-ruined state but noted that a garrison still protected it.

Today, the castle is a museum showcasing artefacts from different historical periods, including the Early Christian, Byzantine, and Post-Byzantine eras. It also serves as an open-air theatre, hosting various cultural events. The Cyprus Department of Antiquities manages the castle, which remains vital to Larnaca's cultural heritage.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The Larnaca seafront stretches gracefully towards the marina, where the tranquil waves invite contemplation. Here, one can grasp the significance of Cyprus as a gateway to the Levant. This remarkable island has, over centuries, revealed the complex and often harsh nature of European travellers on their journey to the Levant, where curiosity and promised profits have drawn many adventurers. Today, this allure manifests in the real estate market, attracting retired Europeans like bees to honey. This phenomenon is particularly evident in the Skala district, the Turkish quarter of Larnaca, which we will explore further in our walk.

An exemplary tale of this European-Levantine blend is that of an ordinary Italian who visited the Levant two centuries ago: Giovanni Mariti.

In 1760, Mariti's adventure began with his landing in Cyprus, after which he ventured to Acre in Palestine. He spent two years there as a procurator and commercial agent for the English company Wasson. His return to Cyprus saw him settle in Larnaca, where he joined the entourage of Timothy Turner, the English consul and vice-consul of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Thanks to his favourable relationship with Turner, Mariti soon took up the post of chancellor of the consulate, replacing Antonio Mondaini from Livorno.

Mariti's experiences in Larnaca, surrounded by the influences of different cultures and political landscapes, provided him with rich material for his later works. His writings reflect not just the adventures of a single traveller but the broader historical tapestry of European interactions with the Levant, showcasing this region's complexities and enduring allure.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The Skala district in Larnaca, often called the Turkish Quarter, has a rich and varied history. The name "Skala" or "s der" comes from the Greek word for "ladder" or "st" IRS," possibly"y, referring to its coastal location and the steps leading down to the sea.

Skala began to take shape in its current form during the Ottoman period when Turkish Cypriots settled in the area. Following the 1974 conflict in Cyprus, many Turkish Cypriots from Skala were relocated to the north, specifically to what is now called Yeni Iskele (New Skala), and the houses they left behind were managed by the Republic of Cyprus’sCyprus'sy of the Interior. These homes were primarily rented out to Greek Cypriots displaced from the north, many of whom were from the Famagusta area.​

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

Today, Skala retains much of its historical charm with narrow streets and two-storey houses, some well-maintained and others showing signs of age. The district is known for its workshops, small shops, and cafes, preserving an old-town ambience distinct from the more modern adjacent areas like McKenzie and the Finikoudes promenade​​.

The neighbourhood also features several points of historical and cultural interest, including a mosque recently renovated with help from a Libyan Islamic charity and various pottery workshops where traditional techniques are still practised.​

Today, Skala continues to be a hub for ceramic arts, with many workshops and studios where traditional methods are preserved and taught. These workshops often create replicas of ancient artefacts using latex, plaster casts, and original pieces reflecting historical and contemporary influences. Visitors can usually see demonstrations and participate in pottery-making sessions, gaining insight into this ancient craft.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The quieter, contemplative part of Larnaca's seafront promenade, named after the Ottoman admiral Piyale Pasha, contrasts sharply with the bustling atmosphere along Athens Avenue, also known as the promenade of small palm trees. This area, rich with elements of recent history, honours Piyale Pasha, whose naval conquests in the Mediterranean left a lasting legacy. The Piale Pasha Promenade offers a serene walk along the coast, reflecting the historical and cultural influences that have shaped the region.

Piyale Pasha was an influential Ottoman admiral whose strategic brilliance significantly expanded the Ottoman Empire's reach in the Mediterranean. Born around 1515, likely of Croatian origin, he quickly rose through the ranks due to his exceptional skills. His successful campaigns, including capturing Cyprus in 1570, showcased Ottoman naval strength and secured essential territories.

The significance of Cyprus in Ottoman history is profound. The island's capture from the Venetians marked a crucial expansion of Ottoman influence. However, in 1878, the Ottomans handed Cyprus over to the British for a mere 100,000 dinars, a transaction that many saw as a humiliating loss. This set the stage for future conflicts and symbolic acts of revenge.

During World War I, Larnaca Castle became a focal point again. German forces occupied the castle, aiming to disrupt British operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. This brief occupation was part of Germany's broader strategy to control critical regions. However, it also symbolized a form of Turkish revenge, facilitated by their German allies, for the earlier loss of Cyprus to the British.

The German occupation of Larnaca Castle was short-lived. British forces, determined to reclaim their strategic positions, successfully retook the castle, reinforcing their regional presence. This restoration of British control was crucial for maintaining dominance over maritime routes and military operations in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The square between Tanzimat Street, Buyuk Cami Street, and Kamil Kenan Street in Larnaca, located near the Friday Mosque (Djuma), is historically significant. Each street name reflects a piece of the area's rich past:

  • Tanzimat Street: Named after the Tanzimat reforms in the Ottoman Empire, which aimed to modernize the empire and secure its territories by implementing administrative changes in the mid-19th century.
  • Buyuk Cami Street: Named after the "Great Mosque" (Buyuk Cami), highlighting the mosque's importance as a central religious and community hub.
  • Kamil Kenan Street: Likely named after a notable local figure or benefactor, emphasizing the importance of individuals contributing to the community's development.

Near the mosque, this square traditionally served as a market area for Friday bazaars, which were convenient and vibrant gatherings following Friday prayers. Such markets were common in Turkish cities, providing a space for social interaction and commerce.

Historically, the Germans briefly occupied Larnaca Castle during World War I to disrupt British operations. This occupation, though short-lived, can be seen as a symbolic act of Turkish revenge, facilitated by their German allies, for the earlier loss of Cyprus to the British in 1878 for a nominal fee. The British recaptured the castle, reinforcing their strategic presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Today, the castle houses a museum managed by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, preserving its rich history and serving as a cultural venue. The Piale Pasha Promenade nearby reflects on these historical narratives, blending past influences with present-day tranquillity.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The Djami Kebir Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque, is one of Larnaca's most prominent and historically significant mosques. Originally built as a Catholic church dedicated to St. Catherine in the 13th-14th century, it was converted into a mosque following the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus in 1571. This transformation reflects the broader pattern of converting Christian buildings into Islamic ones during the Ottoman period on the island.

The current mosque building, constructed in 1835-1836 by Seyyid El-Hac Muhammed Aga, replaced the earlier structure that had fallen into disrepair. It features a two-story design made of white stone, with a prominent minaret visible from various parts of the city. The mosque's prayer hall is divided into three aisles by two arcades, with the women's gallery above the entrance. Despite its modest interior, the mosque's historical and architectural significance makes it a notable site for worshippers and visitors.

Today, the Djami Kebir Mosque continues to serve the Muslim community in Larnaca. While specific numbers of worshippers are not readily available, it is part of a larger Muslim population on the island, which includes both local Turkish Cypriots and a growing number of Muslim refugees from Africa. These refugees have been arriving in Cyprus, seeking asylum and better living conditions, contributing to the diverse demographic of the island.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

Larnaca's seafront promenade transforms into a lively and vibrant scene at night, brimming with energy and excitement. The Finikoudes promenade, illuminated by the lights of numerous bars, restaurants, and cafes, becomes a hub of activity. Locals and tourists enjoy the warm evening breeze, sipping cocktails at trendy beach bars or dining at waterfront restaurants with views of the Mediterranean. Music fills the air from lively clubs, and the atmosphere is filled with the buzz of conversation and laughter. The night is alive with cultural events, street performers, and the joyful spirit of people enjoying Larnaca's vibrant nightlife.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The Kimon seafront promenade in Larnaca is a beautiful and historic area that features a prominent monument to General Kimon, an Athenian military leader. The bust of Kimon, made of Pentelic marble and created by Athenian sculptor George Alexandropoulos, has been a fixture on the promenade since 1927. Kimon is celebrated for his efforts in the 5th century BC to free Cyprus, then known as Kition, from Persian rule. Although he died during the siege of Kition, his leadership and victories left a lasting legacy, with his soldiers reportedly saying that "even in death, he was victorious".

Kition, the ancient city that is now part of modern Larnaca, had strong connections with Athens due to the efforts of Kimon. His military campaigns aimed to liberate Cyprus from Persian control and reinforce the cultural and political ties between Kition and Athens. This connection is commemorated through the monument and the naming of the promenade.

The Kimon seafront promenade is a popular gathering spot, particularly during major holidays and festivals, where locals and visitors enjoy scenic views and historical ambience. The promenade is also lined with cafes and restaurants, making it a vibrant relaxation and cultural exploration area.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

Zenon of Kition was an ancient Greek philosopher born around 334 BC in Kition (modern-day Larnaca, Cyprus). He is best known for founding the Stoic school of philosophy, which emphasized logic, ethics, and natural law. Zenon moved to Athens around 300 BC, where he studied under various philosophers before establishing his school, which met at the Stoa Poikile, a colonnade in Athens, hence the name "Stoicism".

Views on Jews: Zenon's views on Jews, as interpreted through various historical sources, were complex. While there are no direct quotes from Zenon himself regarding Jews, some later Stoic philosophers, influenced by Zenon’s teachings, have been noted for their interactions with Jewish thought. For example, some Stoic ideas were later integrated into Jewish Hellenistic thought, particularly by Philo of Alexandria. However, there are no specific antisemitic statements attributed to Zenon directly.

References to Kition in Jewish Sources

In Jewish sources, Kition (Citium) is mentioned in the context of the Jewish diaspora. Jewish communities existed in Cyprus, including in Kition, during various periods of antiquity. These communities were part of the Hellenistic world and interacted with Greek culture and philosophy.

Connections Between Kition and Jerusalem

Kition, like other Hellenistic cities, had interactions with the wider Jewish world. During the Hellenistic period, Jews in the diaspora maintained religious and cultural connections with Jerusalem. The existence of Jewish communities in places like Kition facilitated the exchange of ideas and maintained ties with the Jewish homeland.

Criticism of Zenon by Jews

Jewish criticism of Zenon and Stoicism primarily arises from differing philosophical and religious viewpoints. Stoicism, emphasising reason and nature, often contrasted with Jewish thought's more faith-based and divine command-oriented aspects. Additionally, some Jewish sources might critique the Stoic idea of apatheia (freedom from passion) as it contrasts with the Jewish emphasis on emotional expression in religious life.


Zenon of Kition is a significant figure in the history of philosophy, particularly through his foundation of Stoicism. His legacy includes the development of philosophical thought and the complex interactions between Hellenistic and Jewish cultures. While there are no direct quotes from Zenon on Jews, the philosophical dialogues of the time show the rich, sometimes contentious, exchange of ideas between different cultural and religious groups.

Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman

The tradition of decorating Easter eggs in Cyprus dates back centuries and is deeply rooted in the island's Christian customs. The practice symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ and new life, with the egg representing the tomb from which Christ emerged. On Holy Thursday, Cypriots traditionally dye eggs red, symbolizing the blood of Christ, and then use natural dyes from plants, such as onion skins and beetroot, to add more colours and patterns.

During Easter, beautifully decorated eggs are prominently displayed throughout Larnaca. The main streets and significant intersections, such as the crossroads where the road to the mountains meets the coastal highway, are adorned with these colourful eggs. This tradition enhances the festive atmosphere, bringing communities together and celebrating the spirit of Easter. The eggs are often displayed in public squares, parks, and near churches, becoming focal points for locals and visitors during the Easter celebrations.

Don't waste time for planning
Use detailed routes created by your friends and professionals.
Don't be afraid to get lost in new places!
Pinsteps - globe travel application. Travel pictures.
Don't waste time for planning
Open the world with experience of your friends and professionals without any fear.
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience