Larnaca - Landmarks


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The most important site of Larnaca is the ruin of Ancient Kitium. The earliest architectural remains date from the 13th century BC. The area was rebuilt by Achaean Greeks. The remains of the cyclopean walls, comprising giant blocks, and the complex of the five temples are particularly interesting.

Another interesting place is the marble bust of Zeno, which stands at the crossroads near the American Academy. Zeno was born in Kition in 334 BC. After studying philosophy in Athens, he founded the famous Stoic school of philosophy. Near Larnaca International Airport is the Larnaca Salt Lake. The lake fills with water during the winter and is visited by flocks of flamingoes who stay here from November until the end of March. It dries up in the summer. It once yielded a good quality of salt, which is scraped from the dried surface. The salt from this lake is now considered unfit for human consumption. About halfway between the monument of Zeno and the salt lake on the right 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 pieces of clothing or tufts of their hair on the grill in front of the south window. It is also much frequented by girls, who come here to pray for the safety of overseas lovers. The The Church of Lazarus (Agios Lazaros) is another magnificent Orthodox Church in Larnaca that 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 AD, his tomb was found bearing the inscription "Lazarus, bishop of Larnaca. Four days dead. Friend of Jesus." The marble sarcophagus can be seen inside the church under the Holy of Holies.

The Hala Sultan Tekke is about 5 km (3 mi) 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, who was the foster mother of Prophet Mohammed. According to Muslim historical accounts Umm Haram died on this spot in 647 AD while accompanying the Arab invaders. She was buried here and later the Ottomans built the present mosque in her honour.

Another site of interest is the Fort of Larnaca which 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, with the permission of the director of antiquities.

The Old Aqueduct, known as "The Kamares", stands outside the town on the road to Limassol. It was built by the Ottoman governor, Koca Bekir Pasha, in Roman style in 1745 to carry water from a source about six miles south of Larnaka into the town. The aqueduct is illuminated at night.

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