Phinikoudes Beach - Blue Flag
Bordering Larnaka’s (Larnaca) central coastal promenade, Phinikoudes Beach is one of the most famous in Cyprus. “Phinikoudes” means small palm trees (now grown into very big palm trees) that were planted in 1922. The beach has fine grey sand and is some 500 metres long. The width varies from 30 metres to 100 metres. The area is popular for its cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels. There are also a large number of mini markets close to the beach. The commercial and shopping centre of the town is just behind the promenade. The main road, Athenon Avenue, is planted with palm trees, green areas and colourful flowers that add to the magnificent scenery.
The beach has several services and facilities such as toilets, showers, changing rooms, access for the disabled, sun beds and umbrellas and water sports. Lifeguards are on duty with lifesaving equipment during the bathing season.
There is easy and safe access to the beach by bus and car or on foot. Many car parks are found near the beach. The sea is clean and the water quality in line with standards set by the Europea Union’s Bathing Water Directive. The sea is usually calm and the waves mild. The area is the venue for the two-week Larnaka (Larnaca) Kataklysmos Fair, usually in June, during which the Blue Flag is withdrawn.
Agia Thekla Beach - Blue Flag
Located three kilometers west of the centre of Agia Napa, Agia Thekla is a small beach named after a tiny old church situated nearby. The beach is 300 metres long and 25 metres wide and covered with fine golden sand. Seas are calm. Lifeguards are on duty with lifesaving equipment from 10:00 to 18:00 during the bathing season. Beach and water sports facilities are also available while a convenience store is located close by. The beach is within walking distance from the main road leading to Agia Napa and is accessible by car, motorbike and bicycle as well as on foot.
Nissi beach, is a well-known sandy beach in the resort of Ayia Napa, Cyprus. The sandy beach stretches for 500m and the waters are clean enough for the beach to have been awarded blue flag designation. The beach which runs the length of its own cove, takes its name from the small islet (Nissi - Νησί in Greek) located close to the coast. The uninhabited islet is easily reached on foot through the shallow waters and its location provides a good shelter for the rest of the beach. The islet is covered with low level local vegetation. Nissi beach has become a popular destination for clubbers following live programs transmitted through BBC's Radio 1 Roadshow during the summer tourist season since 2002. Water sports such as water-skiing, windsurfing and pedal boating are available and so are two bungee jump services. There are s also two beach volleyball courts open to the public. In 2005, archaeological excavations along the western borders of the bay have revealed evidence of fire lighting equipment dating back 12,000 years indicating that the area could have been settled by the first humans on the island.
Agios Lazaros Church
Situated in the centre of Larnaka (Larnaca), the magnificent early 10th century stone church of Agios Lazaros is one of the most important surviving Byzantine monuments of Cyprus. It was built by Byzantine Emperor Leo VI in exchange for the transfer of the Saint’s relic to Constantinople. The church lies over the tomb of Agios Lazaros, the resurrected friend of Jesus Christ who came to ancient Kition in 33 AD and became its first Bishop and Patron Saint. The tomb, along with other marble sarcophagi and box - shaped tombs brought to light during excavations, can be seen inside the church crypt.
The three imposing domes of this Orthodox Basilica Church and the original bell tower were destroyed, probably in the first years of Ottoman rule when the church was turned into a mosque. The brilliant byzantine artistry of the icons and the unique baroque woodcarving of the gold covered iconostasis were completed in 1782 and have survived until today.
Kourion Archaeological Site
One of the most spectacular archaeological sites on the island, Kourion was an important city kingdom where excavations continue to reveal impressive new treasures. Noted particularly for its magnificent Greco - Roman Theatre, Kourion is also proud home to stately villas with exquisite mosaic floors and an early Christian Basilica among other treasures.
Originally built in the 2nd century B.C., Kourion’s awe - inspiring theatre is now fully restored and used for musical and theatrical performances. The House of Eustolios, consisting of a complex of baths and a number of rooms with superb 5th century A.D. mosaic floors, was once a private Roman villa before it became a public recreation centre during the Early Christian period. The Early Christian Basilica dates to the 5th century and was probably the Cathedral of Kourion, with a baptistery attached to the north face. The House of Achilles and the House of the Gladiators also have beautiful mosaic floors. The Nymphaeum, dedicated to the water nymphs, is an elegant Roman structure.
The 2nd century A.D. stadium is located outside the main Kourion site, about 1kilometre to the west on the right hand side of the road to Pafos. Also impressive is the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, situated about 2,5 kilometers west of the ancient city.
Cyprus Archaeological Museum
The Cyprus Museum (also known as the Cyprus Archaeological Museum) is the oldest and largest archaeological museum in Cyprus.The museum houses artefacts discovered during numerous excavations on the island. The museum is home to the most extensive collection of Cypriot antiquities in the world and is located on Museum Street in central Nicosia. Its history goes hand in hand with the course of modern archaeology (and the Department of Antiquities) in Cyprus. Of note is that only artefacts discovered on the island are displayed.
As an institution, the Cyprus Museum was founded in 1882 during the British occupation of the island following a petition by the Cypriot people. Major catapults for this action were several illicit excavations and the smuggling of antiquities off the island. The most extensive of these had been carried out a few years earlier by the United States Ambassador, Luigi Palma di Cesnola, who had smuggled over 35,000 artefacts off the island, most of which were destroyed in transit. Many of the surviving items ended up in the newly formed Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and are currently on display in their own galleries on the second floor.
The initial museum was funded by private donations and was temporarily housed in existing governmental offices. It moved to its own premises in 1889 on Victoria Street within the medieval walls of the city. Construction of the current building began in 1908 and was originally dedicated to the memory of the British monarch, Queen Victoria. It was designed by the architect N. Balanos of the Archaeological Society of Athens and construction was supervised by George H. Everett Jeffery then curator of the museum. In 1961 a second set of galleries, storerooms and offices was completed.
Tombs of Kings
The Tombs of the Kings are an early necropolis in Paphos dating from 300 BC. The burial niches were looted of all artifacts long ago, but a powerful sense of stillness and mystery remains. The name of the site is misleading—there's no evidence of any royalty buried here. Rather, the site was the final resting place of about 100 Ptolemaic aristocrats who lived and died in Paphos beginning in the 3rd century BC. Early antiquarians dubbed the site the "Tombs of the Kings" due to the impressiveness of the tombs, and the name has stuck.
The catacombs were later used by early Christians, and one of the tombs was turned into a chapel. In the Middle Ages, some tombs were used as makeshift dwellings or as workplaces—pottery was made in tomb 3.The site was systematically looted of artifacts long before excavations began in 1977. Investigations continue today under the Cyprus Department of Antiquities.
The tombs are impressive, carved out of solid rock, some featuring Doric pillars and frescoed walls. The design is heavily indebted to Macedonian prototypes, passed on from Alexander's armies to the Ptolemies
The Akamas peninsula, named after an Athenian warrior and son of Theseus, who arrived here after the Trojan war, is a unique area, both geologically and physiographically and with regard to flora and fauna.
Almost all the geological formations of Cyprus can be found here, from narrow deep valleys, caves and islets to gorges such as that of Avakas, resulting in a real geological mosaic. For this reason the Akamas peninsula is endowed with a unique biodiversity, habitats and ecosystems.
The uniqueness of the flora stems mainly from the unparalleled endemic wealth. In the Akamas there are about 530 indigenous plants, of which 35 are endemic, out of a total of about 142 endemic species, sub-species and varieties occurring throughout Cyprus. Some of these plants are endemic to the area. Alyssum akamasicum and Centaurea akamantis have taken their name from the area itself, while species such as Centaurea veneris, Tulipa cypria, Gladiolus triphyllus and many others are found either exclusively or chiefly in the Akamas peninsula.
As regards fauna, the endemic Glaucopsyche paphos butterfly can be considered the emblem of the area. Until recently the Mediterranean seal, Monachus monachus, bred in the inaccessible caves of the peninsula, while on the remote beaches of Lara, the sea turtles, Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas, continue to breed in large numbers.
The area has one of the favourite haunts of the mythological goddess Aphrodite. Legend has it that after swimming in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she would walk up the hill and bathe in a pool fed by a freshwater mountain spring dripping down the sides of a shady grotto overhung by a leafy fig tree, which has come to be known as the Baths of Aphrodite. It is here that Adonis saw and fell in love with her while hunting in the Akamas forest. The Italian poet Ariosto wrote a poem about the area and its waters which became known as the Fontana Amorosa.
The myth of Aphrodite lived on through the Middle Ages turning into the love story between the mythical Byzantine hero Dhigenis Akritas and the Queen of Cyprus known as Rigaina. The ruins of an old monastery in a clearing in the heart of the Akamas with a giant oak tree and a bubbling spring, is known as the "Pyrgos tis Rigainas", or the Queen’s castle, and is linked to this love story.
Get to know the area on foot along one of the nature trails that cross the peninsula, such as those of Aphrodite or Adonis, affording marvellous views of the bay and the west coast and an opportunity to admire nature from close up. European path E4 cuts through the region as it goes across the island. Stop off for a rest in the shady Smygies picnic site, a place associated with love and where Digenis met Rigaina. The area is ideal for cycling due to its numerous forest roads.
MS Zenobia was a Swedish built Challenger-class RO-RO ferry launched in 1979 that capsized and sank close to Larnaca, Cyprus, in June 1980 on her maiden voyage. She now rests on her port side in approximately 42 metres (138 ft) of water and was named as one of The Times top ten wreck diving sites in the world in 2003.
On the slopes of Mount Troodos, in the heart of Pitsilia region centrally located in Cyprus, Agros offers an authentic, traditional travel experience. Its close proximity to all cities and the international airports of Larnaca and Pafos gives easy access by car and bus.
Agros is an ideal year-round rural destination to visit not only for its great countryside, but also for its local traditions and its cultural and religious sites. Named after a monastery from the 11th century, Agros was founded at the end of the 18th century and developed its famous rosewater industry with the introduction of the Mesopotamian Rosa Damascena in the early 20th century. Agros therefore offers its visitors unique opportunities to participate in celebrations of local cultural heritage and nature’s beauty, like the rose festival in May.
The region east of Mount Olympos, known as Pitsilia, consists of 40 villages including Agros. Picturesque valleys are criss-crossed with vineyards and almond, hazelnut, walnut and other fruit trees. Pitsilia is known as the orchard of Cyprus. A good time to visit is in the spring, when the entire valley is in flower.
** Information and images used have been taken from the official website of Cyprus Tourism Organisation. - http://www.visitcyprus.com
** Some images used have been taken from the official website of Ioannis Ioannou. - www.iioannou.com
HSM Cricket Wreck in Ormidhia
HMS Cricket, the war ship that survived so many wars, only to be defeated by the fury of the sea. The war ship Cricket of the British Royal Navy has an exciting story. She was built in December 17th 1915. She was a small gunboat of the Insect Class. Ships like that, because of their small size, were used mostly for patrols, river sailing and beach surveillance.
In 1942 she was towed to Cyprus and was used as a target for the exercises of the Royal Air Force. But in 1947 a terrible storm sank Cricket, thus ending her long and adventurous life.
The ship stood upside down on the sandy bottom of the sea of Larnaca, in a depth of 33m and remains one of the most popular diving destinations.
The wreck is only 10 minutes away from the small fishing harbor of Xylophagou by boat. The depth of the bottom is 33m max. and the visibility up to 25m. Only, remember, for your diving a certification for Open Water (OW) is required. First and always safe!