History of Larnaca

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Larnaca is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Cyprus. The city-kingdom of Kition (in present-day Larnaca) was abandoned[contradiction] sometime after the earthquake of 342.[1] Other ancient cities of Cyprus, were abandoned by their inhabitants.[relevant? ]


The city-kingdom of Kition was originally established in the 13th century BC.[2]

"New cultural elements appearing between 1200 BC and 1000 BC (personal objects, pottery, new architectural forms and ideas) are interpreted as indications of significant political changes and the arrival of the Achaeans, the first Greek colonists of Kition."[3] Mycenaeans first settled in the area for the purpose of the exploitation of copper, but the settlement eventually faded two centuries later as a result of[citation needed] constant disarray and inquietude of the time.

The city-kingdom enjoyed the dual position of a rich port and a major centre of the copper trade. Remains of that period excavated in recent years can be seen in its Cyclopean walls and a complex of Mycenean temples.

At one time the principal Phoenician colony in Cyprus, it later became a part of the Hellenistic world. The ancient site is at the north end of modern Larnaca. The earliest remains go back to the Mycenean age (c. 1400–1100 BC) and seem to mark an Aegean colony, but in historic times Citium was the chief center of Phoenician influence in Cyprus. That this was still a recent settlement in the 7th century BC is suggested by an allusion in a list of the allies of Assurbanipal of Assyria in 668 BC to a King Damusu (Damasos) of Karti-hadasti (Phoenician "new city"), where Citium would be expected. (The same ten kings appear in an earlier list of Esarhaddon's 673/672 BC, which might simply have been copied by Assurbanipal's scribes.) A Phoenician dedication to Baal, dated also to the 7th century BC, suggests that Citium may have belonged to Tyre. The discovery here of an official monument of Sargon II suggests that Citium was the administrative center of Cyprus during the Assyrian protectorate (709–668 BC). During the Ionian Greek revolts of the 4th century BC, Citium led the side that was loyal to Persia and was besieged by an Athenian force in 449 BC.

Middle Ages[edit]

The Byzantine period of Larnaca is of great importance. It left many interesting monuments, among them the 9th century Basilica of Saint Lazarus.

Modern era[edit]

In the 18th century (during Ottoman rule ) the city became the diplomatic and commercial center of Cyprus—this is where all European consuls established their missions in Cyprus at the time.[citation needed] The British landed here in 1878 to begin their rule of the island that was ended in 1960. In 1973 the population of Larnaca was 22,000. In 1974 Turkey invaded the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Army displaced by force about 200,000 Greek-Cypriots, the inhabitants of its Northern part. Larnaca received and welcomed over 40,000 refugees, thus tripling its population overnight, now at 65,000.


Legend has it that the first settlement at the spot was founded by Noah's great-grandson Kittim.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Flourentzos, P. (1996). A Guide to the Larnaca District Museum. Ministry of Communications and Works - Department of Antiquities. p. 18. ISBN 996336425X. 
  2. ^ According to the text on the only plaque at the Kathari site (as of 2013).
  3. ^ Excerpt of text on the only plaque at the Kathari site (as of 2013).