Let’s explore Larnaca!
Larnaca is the capital city of the district that bears its name. Larnaca is found on the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Larnaca is a smallish city packed with historical buildings and places to see.
Like most other towns on the South Coast of the island, Larnaca was refashioned by a building boom in the 1970s. Sharp-eyed observers will notice a second building boom is now underway!
The tumultuous events of 1974 required the development of a new airport outside of Nicosia. In consequence, the existing airstrip on the fringes of Larnaca was extended and the terminal and other buildings were constructed. These old buildings remain in use but the main airport buildings have moved a little further from the city. A new terminal building opened on 7 November 2009.
Most of those who pass through the airport will not know that it was given its current name in July 2016, in honour of former President of Cyprus (1993 – 2003) Glafcos Clerides. This airport now caters for up to 10 million passenger movements each year.
The number one visitor destination, after the beach and people watching along Finikoudes, is Saint Lazarus Church. If you don’t believe me, take a seat at one of the nearby coffee houses, order a coffee and sit back and watch as the people come to view the church and to take the inevitable ‘selfies’.
Saint Lazarus Church
You’ll run out of superlatives during a visit to this church – it’s quite simply awe-inspiring. Built during the late 9th-century over the tomb of Saint Lazarus, whom Jesus is said to have raised from the dead, it’s a slice of Larnaca history not to be missed. It has a beautiful ambience, by day and night
Young and old they come to see the church that has the reputation of being the one time home to the remains of Lazarus.
According to legend he was expelled from Bethany after his resurrection and forced into an unseaworthy boat which brought him to Kiti.
Having come ashore he is said to have met with the Apostles and was consecrated a Bishop and canonised. His saintly remains were exhumed and removed in 890 BCE. However, the sarcophagus is reportedly held in great veneration by Greek Cypriots to this day.
The church, originally constructed in the late 9th century, is open to the public and a visit is highly recommended. Perhaps followed by that cup of coffee or an ice-cream, or both?
Time to settle back into the chair and do some people watching of your own.
I’m imagining Lazarus arriving at Larnaca airport in 2020, homeless and seeking refugee status. Things have changed down the years but somehow I feel sure that a Cypriot welcome would be extended!