Larnaca – From Ancient Civilization To Tourist Destination

Legend has it that the first settlement in the area that became Larnaca (then known as Kition) was founded by Noah's great-grandson Kittim. At one time Kition was the principal colony in Cyprus, of the ancient civilization of Phenicia until becoming part of the Greek Hellenistic world.

The ancient site is at the north end of modern day Larnaca, with the earliest remains believed to go back to the Mycenean age (circa 1400-1100 BC). It was during this period that The Kition City Kingdom was established by the Greeks, and it enjoyed the dual position of being both a rich port and a major center of the copper trade. It is also alluded to, in a list of allies of King Assurbanipal of Assyria, that Kition was still a recent settlement in the 7th century BC. The discovery of an official monument of King Sargon II also suggests that Kition was the administrative center during this time.

During the Ionian Greek revolts of the 4th century BC, Kition led the side that was loyal to Persia and was besieged by an Athenian force in 449 BC. Relics from this sword can still be seen at Larnaca's ancient site.

The Byzantine period of Larnaca was of great importance. This period left many great monuments, including the 9th century AD Basilica of Saint Lazarus – a stunning reminder of Larnaca's rich history. The town regained its former standing during the time it was under Ottoman rule, when it became the diplomatic and commercial center of Cyprus, and it was into Larnaca that the British landed in 1878; thus beginning their rule of the island – a rule that lasted until 1960.

The more recent development of the city follows the fast development of the entire country. Larnaca's population in 1973 was just 22,000 but after the Turkish invasion of 1974 when 200,000 people were forcibly displaced by the Turkish army, Larnaca welcomed over 40,000 refugees, tripling its population practically overnight, adding another chapter to its history and helping to reinvigorate its growing reputation as a prime tourist destination, with car hire in Larnaca [] helping visitors discover the ancient site and monuments for themselves.

Being in existence from the early dawn of history, Larnaca has had its fair share of visitors over the years with the Greeks, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Romans, the Venetians, the Turks and the British having occupied the land at one point. The visitors continue to come to the city to this day, with three million tourists entering Cyprus annually from Larnaca's airport, Port and the Marina, eager to take a step back into ancient times.

Source by Matthew Pressman