A Popular Stake House!
The first thing I need upon coming to Larnaca is a place where I can have a Free Internet access. I can sit here for as long as I wish. Nobody will make me leave until I finish.
I always come here to write and check my e mails. I have a glass of fresh fruit juice, or a cup of tea.
The staff is really friendly, but most of the young people working in the cafe restaurant in the morning are foreigners. Although I have never tried this restaurant's menu I know from many friends and relatives that it is popular for its steaks.
Next door there is an arcade room and there are also a couple of rides for the little ones to enjoy.
Keep the receipt and next time you go there, show it to get a discount!
It is a very popular meeting spot for all ages!
Salt In Your Soup?
The Larnaca Salt Lake is located a bit outside, to the west of the city. It is a complex network of four salt lakes (3 of them interconnected) of different sizes. The largest is lake Aliki, followed by lake Orphani, lake Soros and lake Spiro. It is one of the most distinctive landmarks of the area. It is considered one of the most important wetlands of Cyprus and it was declared a protected area by the Council of Ministers in 1997. It is surrounded by halophytic scrubland the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque is located on its shores.
Besides its picturesque beauty, the area around the lake has special, revitalizing vibes that can't be missed. I can only attest to that - it's a magic place that calms your soul and revitalizes your energies. The 85 species of water birds think so as well, that's why they are there. It is one of the important migratory passages through Cyprus for flamingos, grus grus, Charadrius alexandrinus, Larus ridibundus, Himantopus himantopus, Burhinus oedicnemus, Hoplopterus spinosus, Oenanthe cypriaca, and Sylvia melanothorax.
During the winter months the lake fills with water, whereas in the summer the water evaporates, leaving a crust of salt and a haze of grey dust. Legend has it that the area used to be a vinyard. St. Lazarus's, one one of his walks, asked the owner for food and drink. The owner refused, claiming most of the vines had dried up, feared for his future income and decided to be economical with food and drink, in other words St. Lazarus was not invited to dinner. To which Lazarus replied: "May your vines be dry forever and this area turn into a salt lake." And so it happened. A more scientific explanation is that the salt water from the sea penetrates the porous rock between the lake and the sea, making the water salty. So instead of wine with your dinner, you may sprinkle some salt in your soup. It's all a matter of preference.
Hala Sultan Tekke
The mosque is located at the edge of the Salt Lake and looks very impressive in among the cypress trees.The minaret is usally visible from the main road as you look over the Salt Lake.
It is one of the holiest places in Islam and the only other more important shrines are located in Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Inside the mosque is the tomb of Umm Haram (an aunt of Mohammed). According to the common legend she fell off her donkey while she was with Arab invaders in AD 647. She broke her neck and all of her vitorious spirit disappeared. The tomb was built in 1760 and the mosque in 1816. You have to take off your shoes to enter the mosque.
Usually there is a watchman who will show you around and explain the story in pretty good English.
Remember to take your shoes off before you enter.
More than just an airport
"Go for a wander....and don't forget the Salt Lake"
Larnaca has a host of attractions, old and new. It's the sort of place that is worth wandering aimlessly around - the attractions find you in such a situation. The one thing that nobody can fail to see is the Salt Lake.
The salt part of the name often seems more apt than the lake part. Your best chances of seeing any water here are in the spring months following the winter rains – although any of the diluvial downpours which occasionally sweep Cyprus in the summer months will likely leave a few puddles.
Water and spring generally result in a healthy population of various kinds of birds – the flamingoes are the ones which most people get excited about, but investing in a pair of binoculars for a vernal visit can produce a host more treasured avians.
Larnaca Castle overlooks the city beach (it lies at the airport end of it – if you’re not sure which end that is then just look for the direction in which the planes are coming in to land!) and marina. It has a long and colourful history, including latterly seeing service as a British prison (until the 1940s).
"Hala Saltan Tekke"
A calm and peaceful place tucked away at the far side of town (behind the salt lake, just beyond the airport). It comes as a surprise to most people to find out that this is a very special place in the Moslem religion – it’s on the site of the place where Umm Haram (The prophet Mohammed’s aunt) died. Well worth a wander round the grounds, and don’t pass up the chance to go inside and have a little tour if it presents itself – you’ll need a guide (there’s usually one around somewhere) to fill you in on the history of the place