Larnaca is a small town of about 70,000 inhabitants situated on the southern coast of the island of Cyprus. When I first came to live here in November 1984, it looked like the middle of no where! People would stare at me as if I were an alien just because I I was different from them. Back to the 80s it was unheard of for a Greek Cypriot lady in her late 20s to have lunch BY HERSELF at one of the few tavernas at the time at Finikoudes Seafront. Most people thought I was from ...Iran . Here's what I looked like ! Long black hair and a very fair complexion!
I had once stopped at a petrol station and when the man filled up my car, I politely said : "That's very kind of you, thank you". He looked at me strangely and said: "Where on earth are you from?" That was then ...as Alexander Rybak from Norway sang to us at the 54th Eurovision Song Contest. 25 years later, I feel I belong to Larnaca. The proof? It's been a long time I haven't visited hometown Nicosia. Funnily enough, I feel I don't belong there any more.
So, let me show you around Larnaca tonight - a hidden jewel in the Eastern Med.
And this is now... Finikoudes (the Palm Tree Promenade) is the symbol of our town and the town centre.. The palm trees date back to bygone years but now the area boasts one of the cleanest beaches in the eastern Med which has won a Blue Flag. There are also many cafes , restaurants and bars - my favourite being Ve, and the new Hobos Restaurant with an amazing view to the sea. From Finikoudes let me take you to Saint Lazarus Church.
At the corner of Faneromenis and Agiou Lazarou Street is the church of Agiou Lazarou (Holy Lazarus), built in the 9th century by Byzantine Emperor Leo, on the site of St. Lazarus' tomb. According to legend, Lazarus travelled to Larnaca after his resurrection, and became the city's first bishop. His tomb is inside the church, under the main altar. The entrance is decorated with a number of icons. The church belltower was built in 1857. The church houses a small museum, containing beautiful samples of Byzantine religious art, including old wood carvings, icons and liturgical utensils.
From Saint Lazarus Church let me take you to the Salt Lake home of more than 12,000 pink flamingoes which choose to spend the winter in Larnaca.During the winter months the lake fills with water whilst in the summer the water evaporates, leaving a crust of salt and a haze of grey dust. According to legend, the lake's saltiness stems from St Lazarus' request of an old woman for food and drink. She refused, claiming her vines had dried up, to which Lazarus replied: "may your vines be dry and be a salt lake forever more." A more scientific explanation is that the salt water penetrates the porous rock between the lake and the sea, making the water very salty.
Aren't they beautiful? And how about an ice cold frappé - Greek iced coffee - at my place?
My blog today was inspired by my dear friend Stefania's blog on Blogger