Larnaca and its Fort

Larnaca (Larnaka) is a coastal city, located on the southern coast of Cyprus. It is the country’s third largest city, and home to the island’s largest airport – Larnaca International Airport. In this sense it is a modern day port, a gateway used by millions of people wanting to visit the island for business and leisure. The airport is used for commercial, private and cargo flights. The city also has its own maritime port, with a beautiful marina. Larnaca is as important today as an entry/exit point, as it was historically. The geographical positioning of the island in general, has made it attractive (and strategic) to political administrations and powers over the centuries. To give you some idea, the Bay of Larnaca where the marina lies today, is 110 nautical miles from Beirut (Lebanon), 145 nautical miles from Tel Aviv (Israel), 230 nautical miles from Port Said (Egypt) and 250 nautical miles from the island of Rhodes (Greece).

The Fort of Larnaca (aka Larnaka Castle) indicates the historical significance of this coastal city. The presence of an old fort/castle right on the seashore clearly indicates the need for military protection. Whilst the fort may appear small by modern standards, you can be sure it was clearly visible to boats and ships out at sea. The fort was there to give a message to any intruders, that this city was protected, strong and ready to fight if required. But it also gave the impression that this was a commercial city, inviting budding entrepreneurs sailing the Mediterranean Sea in search of commerce, to stop by Larnaca in order to “do business”.

Exact details about the construction and use of Larnaca Fort are sparse. It is believed that the castle was built in the late 14th Century (during the reign of James I (de Lusignan)) with the primary aim of protecting the town’s harbour. The castle is currently square in shape, although it is unknown whether this was the original design, as the castle was rebuilt by the Ottomans in 1625.

Post-WWII, the British took possession of Larnaca Fort, utilising it as a prison with gallows in order to execute prisoners. It is believed the last execution took place in 1948. Cyprus gained its independence from the British on 1st October 1960 after an arduous 4 year war. During this time the castle was under Greek Cypriot control, again used as a prison.

Larnaca Fort is located at the end of the Finigoudes (finikoudes). This is a palm tree lined promenade, which I’m always proud to say that my great grandfather helped to build (the palm trees were his doing, and are my family’s legacy 🙂 ). This stretch of promenade is filled with hotels, restaurants and of course the beach. The marina lies at the eastern (top) end of it, with the castle at the western (bottom) end of it. Click here to visit my Instagram, for further details about the Finigoudes: 

This old castle has seen a lot of violence and darkness throughout its lifetime. A recent renovation to the building has given it a new lease of life. The castle is now a museum, which also opens its doors to outdoor cultural, theatrical and musical events in the summer months. Entry to Cypriot museums is ridiculously low (€2,50 per person), and I always encourage people to visit the historical and archaeological sites and museums. The entry ticket is so low that it cannot be a realistic barrier to entry to holiday makers! 🙂 But truth be told, Cyprus has a long, varied and rich history, spanning centuries of different powers, philosophies, cultures, religions. The island has yo-yo’d and been thrown around by many different rulers. The result of which is an island, with a rich culture and history. Cyprus is a melting pot, and this is reflected in the peoples’ outlook, philosophy, attitude and cuisine. Cyprus is a beautiful island with gorgeous beaches, warm waters, excellent nature trails, wonderful food and weather, making it a popular tourist destination. However, you should not overlook the island’s history and archaeological significance. Get out there and explore the island inside and out!!

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Djami Kebir Mosque, Larnaca

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The Fort has a clear view of the vast Mediterranean Sea

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Larnaka Fort – medieval walls

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The entrance to the Fort, with the medieval Djami Kebir Mosque in the background.

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The view from the new jetty along the Finikoudes (Palm Tree Lined Promenade)

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The beautiful Finikoudes Promenade

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A gift from the City of Venice, Italy, in honour of the “Adriatic Twinning” (2010)

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The popular beach at Larnaca, in front of the Finigoudes

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Details of the Finigoudes, Larnaca

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Displays of strength and power!

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Medieval Walls

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4 thoughts on “Larnaca and its Fort

  1. Excellent and very well written Interesting that the word “Kebir” pops up again .. As in Komi Kebir Can you research ? Xx

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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