Larnaca

Larnaca, (Greek: Λάρνακα, Turkish: Larnaka) is a city on the west coast of Cyprus. The major international airport of Cyprus, Larnaca International Airport is located in this city. In ancient times, Larnaca was known as Kition, or (in Latin) Citium. The biblical name Kittim, though derived from Citium, was in fact used quite generally for Cyprus as a whole, and occasionally by the Hebrews for the Greeks and Romans. Larnaca is colloquially known as "Skala" (Greek: Σκάλα) to the Greek Cypriot community and "İskele" to the Turkish Cypriots.

It has a population of 72,000 (end of 2001) and is the island's second commercial port and an important tourist resort. To the north of the town lies the island's oil refinery, while to the south of Larnaca the International Airport is situated. The city of Larnaka is well-known for its picturesque sea-front which includes rows of palm trees (oi finikoudes, in the Cypriot dialect). Much of the activity is centred around the city promenade during the major festivals. The most important of these for the city of Larnaka is Kataklysmos or the Festival of the Flood, celebrated in early summer with a series of cultural events.

The famous stoic philosopher Zeno of Citium hailed from the city. It is said he began his stoic teaching after losing everything he had in a shipwreck.

A shistos famous Athenian general, Kimon, died at sea defending the city of Citium in a major battle with the Persians of Xerxes. On his deathbed, he urged his officers to conceal his death from both allied and Persians. The quote "Και Νεκρος Ενικα" ("Even in death he was victorious") refers to Kimon. A statue of "Kimon the Athenian" stands proudly on the sea front promenade of modern Larnaca.

In the modern times, a famous person who was born in Larnaca is Anna Vissi, a Greek-Cypriot singer famous mainly in her home country Cyprus, Greece, and the United States. She is often referred to as "The Greek Madonna". Mehmet Nazim Adil, the leader of the Nakshbandi Sufi order (or Tekke) was born in Larnaca. Another singer from Larnaca is Stelios Konstantas. Ioannis Okkas, an Olympiakos football player is from Larnaca. Also Garo Yepremian, a former National Football League placekicker was born in Larnaca.

Like other cities of Cyprus, it has suffered repeatedly from earthquakes, and in medieval times when its harbour silted up (a sign that the island was deforested and overgrazed) the population moved to Larnaca, on the open seafront farther south. The harbour and citadel have now disappeared. Traces remain of the circuit wall, and of a sanctuary with copious terra-cotta offerings; the large cemetery has yielded constant loot to illicit excavation for more than a century.

The Mayor of Larnaca is Andreas Moiseos and Αlexis Michaelides is the Vice Mayor.

The city is the home to the football teams AEK Larnaca FC, and ALKI Larnaca FC. Both teams play in a stadium of a city called GSZ Stadium or Zenon Stadium. Since the occupation of the northern part of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974, the two teams of Famagusta, Anorthosis and Nea Salamina, have their own stadiums in Larnaca. "Antonis Papadopoulos" is the Anorthosis' stadium and "Ammochostos" (means Famagusta) is the stadium of Nea Salamina.

Larnaca hosted the European Under-19 Football Championship final, in 1998 and the European Under-17 Football Championship final in 1992.

 

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