Larnaca: History

White washed houses, palm-trees and sandy beaches

Larnaca History

The isle of Cyprus is an Old Testament City, previously known as Kition, and is mentioned in the book of Daniel. Cyprus has changed hands many times during its turbulent history. According to the earliest written record from 721 BC, Cyprus was known as ‘Kition’. You can indeed view the ancient site of Kition in Larnaca. From 669 BC Cyprus gained independence. In 570 BC, however, Cyprus was conquered by the Egyptians and the Persians. In the years that followed, there were many uprisings from leaders who wanted to declare Cyprus an independent state. In 57 BC, Cyprus became a Roman state and Marc Antony gave the island to Cleopatra. Six years later, as a result of the battle of Actium, the island became a Roman colony once again. When the Roman Empire was divided, Cyprus was ruled by the Byzantines.

The island was then invaded by the Arabs and they jointly ruled with the Byzantines for 300 years. In the 12th century AD, as part of the crusades, Richard the Lion Heart occupied Cyprus. In this very same century, the island was conquered by the Franks, who declared the island ‘The Kingdom of Cyprus’. Cyprus was then conquered once again in the 16th century by the Turks and became a Turkish colony. During the Turkish hostilities in the First World War, Britain annexed Cyprus, and it became a Crown colony in 1925. 34 years later, The National Organization of Cypriot Combatants (EOKA) wanted a union with Greece and engaged in guerrilla warfare with Britain. The island subsequently became an independent nation a year later, and named the ‘The Republic of Cyprus’. This was disrupted in 1974, when the Turks invaded Cyprus and seized the north of the island.

All the Greeks were therefore forced to move to the south, while the Turks occupied the north and declared this area, ‘The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, which is only recognised by Turkey. The United Nations guards the border and the no – mans land between northern and southern Cyprus, and it is well worth visiting this site. There is still a great deal of animosity between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots. However, in 2008, talks took place to unify the island, and in the same year, southern Cyprus adopted the Euro as its official currency.