The modern city of Larnaca has a lot of wonderful stories to share with the millions of tourists that visit the island every year. In fact this grand mother of all Cyprus is the most ancient living city on the island and has been inhabited for over 6,000 years.
Legend has it that a settlement in the area was founded by one of Noah’s great grandsons named Kittim. What is historically proven is the fact that Kition (or Citum in Latin) was established by the Greeks, the Mycenaean, Achaeans to be more precise, in the 4th century BC and it was a rich port mainly used for the copper trade. The Phoeniciansfollowed the Greeks in using Citum’s port but the remains of the Cyclopean Walls in the area show that the Mycenaeans had founded a strong kingdom. Around the 7th century BC, Kition became part of the Hellenistic world. The importance of the Larnaca port through the ages is perfectly described with the city’s colloquial name Skala, which in Greek means ladder or stairway to an important place. The island became part of the Persian Empire and in 450 BC the Athenian General Kimon died at sea defending Kition .
In the Middle Ages Cyprus was severely struck by earthquakes. The harbor of the town split and its inhabitants were forced to move to the location where the city is today. The citadel and old harbor have now disappeared and the remains of an old sanctuary and parts of the circuit wall are all that is left. Medieval Larnaca was Byzantine territory and in the city there are wonderful churches from that period.
Often, tourists how visit Larnaca do so only for the good time. But it doesn’t take long to stop and see the signs of the long and tumultuous history that has hit Cyprus.
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