There are some more graves outside of the Hala Sultan Mosque, in the backside of its garden,facing the Larnaca Saltlake. What was very interesting for me to see in this small cemetery were the tops of the tombstones, that look like heads or hats and there are some different ones and all of the tombs have great decorations and arabic inscriptions.
Eski Yerlesi Kalintilari
are the remains of an ancient settlementand you will find it right under one of the buildings next to the Hala Sultan Mosque. I could not find any more informations about these excarvations, but it was interesting to see that the new building was built on top of it and still you can see the remains of the old settlement there as well (see my 4th photo).
Next to the entrance of the Djami Kebir Mosque you will see a small muslim-cemetery with some interesting tombstones. These tombstones look very nice with a head or maybe a hat on top of them and the wonderfull inscriptions in arabic letters. There is a fence around these tombs and the cemetery is between the mosque and the street, so you can easily approach these tombs and take photos without disturbing anybody.
In the year 890 a sarcophag was found in Larnaca with the inscription "Lazarus, the friend of Christ". Then the St. Lazarus-church was built at that place where they had found the sarcophag, but during the crusades the body of Lazarus was taken first to Byzanz and later to Marseille. You still can see the place where they found the sarcophag, it is under the Lazarus-church and you will get there by the steps on the right side of the church, it is open, when-ever the church is open for visitors.
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!
The Larnaca Salt Lake is a great sight to behold, especially in winter, from November to March, when you can see quite a large number of pink flamingos resting on its shores. When we visited, there were only a few, and in the distance.
Yet, even without flamingos, we thought that the salt lake was a fascinating sight... it felt like being in the middle of nowhere. In the past this lake used to provide people with good quality of salt, which was scraped from its dried up surface. Scraping is still possible, nowadays, but for a some reason (pollution?) it is now deemed unfit for human consumption.
The Larnaca Salt Lake is located on the way Larnaka International Airport.
The best side trip from Larnaca is a visit to the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque... which is not exactly a mosque... it is more like a mausoleum which hosts, within its precint, the tomb of Umm Haram which is - by tradition - the foster mother of prophet Mohammed.
It is believed that Umm Haram was accompanying the Arab warriors on their journey when she died here, suddenly, in 647 A.D. She was therefore buried here and later the Hala Sultan Tekke was built to honour her.
The Tekke is located about 5 km west of Larnaka, on the banks of the Salt Lake - and there's no transportation, so you'll have to take a taxi or rent a bike. it is a well-known pilgrimage place for Muslim people.
The trip to Kamares prived to be very interesting. Kamares is the Old Aqueduct - located outside the town on the way to Limassol, about 10 kilometres from the town centre. Unless you have your own transportation, you'll need to rent bycicles to get there, or a taxi.
The Old Aqueduct is not as old as it looks, nor it dates bacl to Roman times. Yes, the style is definitely roman, but it was built in 1745 to carry water from its source. Still, it is a very nice sight to see. If you have some spare time there is a large park nearby with paths... screaming to be strolled.
We were recommended to see this important mosque. It is attractively sited by the side of the salt lake. Although the site is old, the mosque is more recent.
The female relative of the prophet Mohammed is buried here. She was accompanying the invading Moslem army when she fell off her mule and died. As a member of the Prophet's family she was accorded a fine burial, the place of which is now a pilgrimage site.
Plenty of places to see within a day trip from Larnaca. All of the Island Really!
Baths of Aphrodite & Aphrodites birthplace, Troodos Mountain range, which is beautiful, Larnaca, Limassol plus the Cypriot capital Nicosia. You can even explore Turkish Cyprus for a day from Nicosia.
See my Main Cyprus Pages for details of all these places
There are some pretty narrow streets for you to wander around in Lefkara. This village is well known for the handmade lace that is made here. A visit to the village will give you the chance to sample some of the typical Cypiot hospitality that I have grown to know and love. On one visit to the village with my parents, we arrived just as a huge thunderstorm got underway. One of the local shop owners insisted that we went into the shop and had some refreshments with them.
You will find Pano Lefkara and Kato Lefkara. The latter is the smaller of the two and for me the more scenic.
There are the villages of Pano Lefkara and Kato Lefkara.
There are blue and white houses with red roofs on a hillside surrounded by manadarin,almond, lemon, apricot, olive and fig trees.
The fame of Lefkara comes from the women of the village who produce handmade lace (you will see it sold allover the island but you will never be sure if it is the genuine article).
The fame comes from the fact that Leonardo Da Vinci purchased Lefkara lace in 1481 to decorate the cathedral in Milan. The art of lace making has been passed on down through the generations. You will see the women sitting in the streets making their lace. There is now a huge range of linen available. They will tell you which designs can be found in the cathedral Also available in the villages are handmade gold and silver jewellery and loukoumi (don’t what ever you do refer to it as Turkish Delight in their presence.
Watch out for the sales techniques of the women. Be prepared to haggle quite a lot. For those of you have seen Last Of The Summer Wine – the women are just like Aunty Wainright when it comes to selling their wares.
My Russian friend managed to escape their clutches by telling them he was a Japanese tourist who didn’t speak English!
This is a UN controlled area in the buffer zone. Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots still live together. There are Greek and Turkish schools, Greek and Turkish shops, many Greek restaurants and also a Turkish cafe in the main square.
The village is situated just off the main coast road out of Larnaca and is well sign posted.
A word of warning - since this is part of the buffer zone, don't try and take any photos!
So you have been to the sandy beaches, swam the turquoise seas and browsed the local shops, what is next for your holiday in Larnaca? Escape the buzz and seek out the retreats in the surrounding...