Half Day Closing
It is worth remembering that Larnaca in common with many Cypriot towns has half day closing on a Wednesday afternoon and Saturday afternoon. Also shops tend to be closed all day on a Sunday.
In summer most shops are closed other days of the week between 1pm and 4pm for a siesta. In winter they are closed for a shorter period.
"Kataklysmos" - Flood Festival in Larnaka
If you happen to be in Larnaca by the 24th of May 2010, be sure to go down to Finikoudes and enjoy the Flood Festival.
Larnaca organizes the biggest Festival of Flood in Cyprus and celebrates Kataklysmos for several days. On the sea front promenade you will find open-air fair with plenty of kiosks selling toys and traditional food. Popular Greek and Cypriot singers and dance troupes perform in Larnaca. There are competitions in the water as well as a contest for chatista, or rhyming songs in the Cypriot dialect.
Kataklysmos, or the Flood Festival, takes place in Cyprus every year, 50 days after Orthodox Easter. The event takes place on the day that is known also as the day of the Holy Spirit, because it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles. In Cyprus, however, the celebrations are connected also to the ancient ceremonies organized in honor of Aphrodite and Adonis.
Water is the main focus of the festival. All coastal cities organize concerts, games and other events near the waterfront. Be ready to get wet at Kataklysmos! The biggest of all festivals however takes place in Larnaca!
Agios Lazaros Church
The Church of St Lazarus is the best example of Byzantine architecture in Cyprus.
St Lazarus is the patron saint of Larnaca. At the age of thirty Lazarus became very ill. His sisters Martha and Mary informed Jesus of the seriousness of his illness. He didn't hurry to his bedside and by the time Jesus arrived at Bethany, Lazarus was dead and had been buried for four days. Jesus went straight to his grave, prayed and then shouted.: "Lazarus, come out", Lazarus came out of the grave wrapped with his shroud. He was un-wrapped and returned with Jesus to his house.. This miracle was the reason why the leaders of the Jews decided to assassinate him.
Lazarus went and lived at Kition (Larnaca) for 30 years. There he met the apostles Paul and Barnabas, who ordained him as the first bishop of Kition.
Lazarus died at the age of sixty and was buried in a sarcophagus at Kition with an inscription "The four-day Lazarus, friend of Christ". In 890 AD the emperor of Byzantium Leon VI Sophos transferred Lazarus' remains to Constantinople and in return he built a church at Larnaca devoted to St. Lazarus. The church survives to this date. His body however is now in Marseilles.
The church is very ornate with many icons, an altar and the tomb of Lazarus can be reached down a few steps.
LARNACA MEDIEVAL CASTLE AND MUSEUM
This museum is situated in the Larnaca Fort which is near the seaside. The fort was built in 1625 by the Turks to assist in defending the city. The fort was also used as a prison. The well stocked museum has exhibitions which include artifacts from the site of Kiton. The fort also serves as a cultural center. To the west of the fort there are shops. Visitors can enjoy a refreshing drink at a seaside cafe after visiting this museum. The museum has a small admission fee and is open weekdays at varying times.
Holidays with Children
We went on a package deal to the Palm Beach Hotel at Oroklini, outside Larnaca, to escape the cold of the Uk, but it turned out to be boiling hot. The same week UK had its heatwave.
Travelling with small children means there is not a lot of sightseeing that can be done, but relaxing by the pool and the beach was a nice break from work.
Larnaca, the town, was a nice place to go for shopping for souvenirs, though basically Cyprus is expensive.
Some people have said that the beach where we stayed was not very good. It was quite adequate for our purpose. The children were able to build sandcastles and go into the water unsupervised as it was so shallow. If there was any problem, we could paddle out to them. The sea was warmer than the children's pool which was positively COLD. The round pool, however, was shallower and warmer. When the sun was too hot we might go to the indoor pool.
The cjildren were fascinated by the small fish that could sometimes be seen darting around. The water was not the cleanest we've seen, but there was hardly any seaweed, and the pebbles at the water's edge were collected to decorate the castles.
Attempts at sightseeing had to be when the children could not be in the water, but we found places were often closed at that time. We found the Church of lazrus closed between 12 and 2.30, so could only see the outside of it.