Ayia Napa

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Ayia Napa

Αγία Νάπα

Agia Napa
View of Agia Napa beach located in vicinity of Nelia Beach Hotel.jpg
Official seal of Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa is located in Cyprus
Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa
Location of Ayia Napa within Cyprus
Coordinates: 34°59′N 34°00′E / 34.98°N 34.00°E / 34.98; 34.00Coordinates: 34°59′N 34°00′E / 34.98°N 34.00°E / 34.98; 34.00
Country Cyprus
DistrictFamagusta District
 • MayorYiannis Karousos
 • Total12.150 sq mi (31.469 km2)
 • Total3,200 (year round); 40,000 (active)
 The year-round population consists of locals living here throughout the year whereas the active population includes tourists and workers coming from other places.
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Area code(s)5330

Ayia Napa (Greek: Αγία Νάπα, locally [aˈʝanːapa]), officially romanised Agia Napa, is a tourist resort at the far eastern end of the southern coast of Cyprus.


The name Ayia Napa is derived from a Venetian-era monastery of the same name, located in the center of the town, next to the square that today is the clubbing centre.[2] The word "Ayia" means "holy" in Greek. "Napa" is archaic and means "wooded valley" or "dell". In ancient times the area surrounding the town was covered with thick forest.[3][4][5]



The city in 2013 under new leadership and management shifted its strategy and decided to improve on quality rather than quantity.[clarification needed] The vision of the city according to public statements of mayor Yiannis Karousos is to by 2030 become the best and most cosmopolitan tourist resort of the mediterranean.[6][7][8][9]

Beginning in 2013, the resort has implemented a series of actions in fulfilling its vision, upgrades in public infrastructure and the hospitality sector (hotels and restaurants), shutting down problem establishments, and attracted mega projects such as the 220 million euro marina.[10] Additionally, major events and festivals have been added to the calendar, to improve the quality of the resort and promote its cosmopolitan aspects.[11] The vision set by the city is supported by the Cyprus Tourism Strategy, which for 2030 was completed in March 2017,[12] and which sets as a vision for Ayia Napa the following: Ayia Napa should aspire to be regarded as one of Europe’s top three beach and nightclubbing holiday destinations, with a customer value proposition (CVP) offering the best beach and marine experience in Cyprus for young adults, complemented by international standard beach clubs and nightlife.

The strategy evaluates the quality of Ayia Napa as 3.4/5 and proposes that its future direction should be an increase in quality in all the areas of the tourism product from accommodation to nightlife having as a goal to increase its quality evaluation to 4.4/5 [13]

On 6 March 2018 the city announced a shift on its tourism strategy, having as a main goal turning low quality nightlife into a cosmopolitan nightlife.[14][15] The city council, after hearing all the stakeholders of the Ayia Napa tourism, voted unanimously against the low quality youth tourist product (organised youth) which typically misbehaves and does not respect the laws of Cyprus and with their actions create negative publicity for the resort and do damage to the reputation of the Ayia Napa brand, which, according to the announcement, the city has worked very hard to reposition and reintroduce in the last years.[when?][16][17]

2019 Ayia Napa rape allegation case[edit]

In late December 2019, a 19-year-old British woman was convicted of making a false rape claim. This case was closely followed by the world media, especially in the UK, with journalists describing it as a miscarriage of justice.[18] In an unusual step, the UK government described the case as "very distressing".[19] On 17 July 2019, the woman reported that she had been gang raped by twelve young Israeli men while staying at a hotel in Ayia Napa. Following the alleged rape, she had been taken to hospital with severe injuries, with hospital staff contacting the police. The accused men were originally arrested but then released, and the woman was arrested instead. After over seven hours of questioning without a lawyer present, the woman signed a pre-written retraction,[20] and she was charged on 30 July with "public mischief" for allegedly making a false rape accusation. She was imprisoned while on bail for six weeks, and was then required to remain in Cyprus. She was tried and convicted on 30 December 2019.[21]

Following her conviction, there was a call in the UK for visitors to boycott Cyprus because of a perception that its legal system would not only fail to protect victims of rape, but would even punish them.[22] Several commentators suggested that the decisions by Cypriot authorities had been intended to protect Ayia Napa's reputation as a safe tourist venue, but that the decision to prosecute the woman had actually increased Ayia Napa's reputation for sexual violence because of the perception that rapists could act with impunity and rape victims would not be protected.[23] Other articles reported that this aggressive stance against rape victims might be common practice in Ayia Napa.[24] The case had also come to global attention a few months after the Mitsero murders, an incident in which a Cypriot army officer was convicted for the murder of seven females from 2016 to 2018, and Cypriot authorities were still in the midst of being heavily criticised for ignoring the multiple missing person reports filed by the victims' relatives over the span of two years.


According to local legend, the area around the monastery was accidentally discovered by a hunter in pursuit of his prey. Upon discovery, the icon of the Virgin Mary in the area was called Virgin Mary of Napa, eventually shortened to Ayia Napa. The monastery, built in 1100, was built around a cave, in honour of the Virgin Mary of Ayia Napa. According to local tradition, nobody lived within close vicinity of Ayia Napa until 1790. The first inhabitant was Nikolaos Kemitzis from Thessaloniki, who arrived from Greece around 1790 and settled in the village of Panayia, located on the northeastern part of Ayia Napa. Kemitzis had a fight with the Ottoman authorities who ruled Cyprus at the time, and decided to move near the monastery of Ayia Napa.

Government recognition awards and statistics[edit]

The Government of Cyprus, recognizing the importance of Ayia Napa to Cyprus' economy, decided in 2014 to characterize Ayia Napa as a main city-urban center.[25][26][27] This was credited to the efforts of the mayor of Ayia Napa, Yiannis Karousos.[28]

Today, Ayia Napa is the largest tourist resort in Cyprus, with a 27,000-person-bed capacity and more than 175 hotels and apartments of all sizes. In 2017, the resort received over 700,000 tourists and accommodated 5 million overnight stays,[29] representing approximately 30% of all Cyprus overnight stays.[30] The city of Ayia Napa has the seventh largest budget of the 30 active municipalities of Cyprus, and employs 280 people.

The City was recognized as a Prime City Destination by the Oxford Business Assembly, and was awarded in 2018 the International flag of investment and innovation attractiveness 'Flag of Europe" and the International Certificate of Excellence in Investment and Innovation (ICEII).[31][32]


Ayia Napa lies near Cape Greco at the eastern part of Cyprus, south of Famagusta, and forms part of a larger area known as Kokkinochoria ("Red Villages", a name derived from the vivid red colour of the soil). It is a town of the Famagusta District, in the remaining Greek-controlled southern part of the district, while the northern part has been occupied by Turkish forces since 1974.

Ayia Napa is about 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) from Protaras, a town that has seen similar development but still manages to remain low-key and more favourable for families and Cypriot locals.


The resort has twenty-seven beaches, of which fourteen have been awarded the blue flag award, more than any other resort in Cyprus.[33][34] In 2018, it was announced that Nissi Beach ranked as third in the list of the most popular beaches on Instagram.[35][36] A CNN feature ranked Nissi Beach as the best beach to visit for the month of July 2018.[37] In 2011, it came first in the TripAdvisor list of the best beaches in Europe[38] In 2017, Makronissos Beach was chosen by Travel weekly as the third best beach for Cyprus and Greece.[39]

Cultural sites and events[edit]


Ayia Napa Medieval Monastery is the main point of significant historical interest in the Ayia Napa area.[40] The Makronissos Tombs are an archaeological site consisting of set of ancient rock-cut tombs, an adjacent sanctuary and quarry, and evidence of funeral pyres.[41][42]

The town contains two municipal marine museums: the Tornaritis-Pierides Museum of Marine Life and the Thalassa Agia Napa Municipal Museum (also known as the Thalassa Museum of the Sea). The former, founded in 1992, displays marine fossils, specimens, and dioramas.[43] The latter, founded in 2005, displays the "marine heritage of Cyprus, from prehistoric times to the present" and features a full-scale replica of a c. 300 BCE merchant ship which was salvaged during the 1960s.[44][45]

The Ayia Napa Sculpture Park, which is located on the east side of Ayia Napa, was inaugurated in May 2014 with seventeen sculptures. By 2017, the sculpture park contained 144 sculptures through the participation of 104 sculptors. The sculpture park has gained worldwide recognition and was accepted as a member to the International Sculpture Symposium Alliance,[46] and has been turned into an international attraction, with the participation of artists from all over the world.[47]


The Ayia Napa International Festival was first held in September 1985 and has since been established as an annual event, usually over the last weekend of September. It takes place in Sepheris Square in Ayia Napa Monastery. The festivities reflect the historic, cultural and agricultural traditions of Ayia Napa and Cyprus as a whole. The programme includes theater performances, operas, concerts, and Cypriot and foreign folk dancing.[48] Visitors can also enjoy art and photo exhibitions, wood carving and silversmithing workshops, and culinary shows with halloumi cheese making.[49]

The Ayia Napa Youth Festival was established in 2010[50] when the Ayia Napa Youth Council accepted the proposal of its president Yiannis Karousos and decided to organise a festival similar to the large music festivals of Europe. The festival is based on several principles such as free entrance, the headliners to be chosen by the public, a charity goal, and a social responsibility message attached to it. All styles of music are welcome. At the first festival, which took place at the harbour square of Ayia Napa, more than 10,000 people visited the festival during the three-day period with bands such as the Greek reggae act Locomondo, pop-rock band MPLE, and hip hop band Stavento featuring Ivi Adamou. 25 rock and metal bands performed. In 2011, the Ayia Napa Youth Festival became international and included the bands Stratovarius, Sabaton, Rotting Christ, Nightstalker, and other bands from all over Europe. The 3rd Ayia Napa Youth Festival took place in 2012.

World record[edit]

Following the proposal of Mayor Yiannis Karousos,[51] then President of the Ayia Napa Tourism Committee, on 16 September 2007, the world's longest chain of syrtaki dancers (a famous Greek dance) danced to "Zorba the Greek" in a successful attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. The chain had a total of 268 members of eight dancing groups. Then Ayia Napa Mayor Antonis Tsokkos said the aim of the event was to send the message that the village was interested in Greek culture and to promote the tourist resort abroad. Head of Cultural Services Maria Tofini said that, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the dancers had to perform in synchronised step for the attempt to qualify. The event drew the attention of tourists and locals, many of whom danced on the beach and in the sea.[52]


The City of Ayia Napa is well known for its city management and its applications. They have implemented some major decisions and setup an example in Cyprus municipal management

  • Beaches are public and under City management. Through the initiative of the City of Ayia Napa all the beaches in Cyprus are under the management of the local authorities(cities and villages). Beaches in Cyprus until the end of 2014 were under the management of private individuals and companies which were given licences to manage the beaches directly and without public tenders. Through the actions of the City of Ayia Napa the management returned to the Municipalities. This fact, benefited the general good and the public interest leading to revenues in excess of 3.5 million euros on annual basis for the City. For the City to take over the management of the beaches it had to take some very difficult decisions and implement them[53] the Mayor Yiannis Karousos, who led this initiative, and the city councilors who voted in favor of the proposal, experienced a lot of pressure, threats and several legal actions against them, all which were turned down by the courts.[54]
  • Participatory Budget.[55] The city of Ayia Napa became the first city in Cyprus who had voted and implemented a participatory budget. in October 2017 the city decided that €240,000 of its development budget will be allocated to projects who will be proposed and chosen by citizens and organisations of Ayia Napa.[56]
  • Broadcasting live a city council meeting.[57] in January 2017 the City become the first city council in Cyprus who transmitted a live webcast of its council meetings.
  • Annual Barometer. citizens, businesses and visitors evaluate the City and its services through an annual research survey .Starting 2017 the city implemented an annual survey where citizens, businesses and tourists evaluate the City in a range of features, its services but also state their issues and feedback.[58]
  • Participate and improve my city application . Improvement of the City with the help of its citizens. the City created an online application where its citizens and visitors can upload and report issues and problems they have in many areas , such as technical, cleaning, repairs, complaints etc. the applicant and the visitors of the application can watch the follow up and the time the city took to reply and fix the issue[59]
  • Blockchain the city became the 1st City in Cyprus who took a decision to implement blockchain technologies for improving its productivity and services. the City signed an agreement on 2 May 2018, with university of Nicosia, a blockchain and cryptocurrency specialist, in which the university will act as consultant to the city and advise in issues of blockchain, artificial intelligence and smart cities[60][61]

Points of interest[edit]

Following his election as mayor in March 2013, Yiannis Karousos implemented a strategy in which visitors will enjoy and be able to visit points of interest other than the beaches and the sea:[62][63]

  • The Ayia Napa Sculpture Park. This park by January 2018 included more than 200 sculptures from 140 sculptors from all over the world.[64][65]
  • The Fisherman of Ayia Napa. Fishing is part of the history of Ayia Napa. The population once consisted of mainly fishermen and farmers. This monument was created and dedicated to all the fishermen of the world, and was inaugurated in June 2015.[66]
  • The Mermaid of Ayia Napa.[67] A sculpture on the harbor of Ayia Napa. The mermaid was inspired through the poems of the Nobel-winning poet George Seferis and through Alexander the Great, as according to legend, she was the sister of Alexander the Great. She has the unique feature of two tails. The sculpture was inaugurated in 2015.[68]
  • The Lady Farmer. Located in the heart of the city, the statue is a modern version of the lady farmer.[69]
  • The Farmer of Ayia Napa. A square was created on Yiannaki Pappoulis Street where the sculpture of the Farmer of Ayia Napa was placed. This initiative was under the measures taken for improvements and changes in the city center. The monument was inaugurated in July 2016.[70]
  • Kemitzides, the Family of Ayia Napa. A collection of three sculptures representing the Kemitzis family, who created Ayia Napa in 1790. The man has Greek characteristics on his clothes because Kemitzis was from Thessaloniki. The lady is a classic Cypriot woman and the child symbolizes the continuation of the family. The project was inaugurated in September 2016. It was donated to the city by five families of Ayia Napa.[71][72]
  • The Cactus Park. A park was created which includes over 10,000 cactus and dessert plants. Located next to the sculpture park, it was created with voluntary work. The park was inaugurated in June 2015.[73][74]
  • Artificial Reef. The main interest point inside the artificial reef is the Kyrenia ship, which was donated by the Ministry of Defense to the city of Ayia Napa. Other underwater sculptures are also located in the reef. It was inaugurated in February 2015.[75][76]
  • The Fishing Boats Roundabout. A touch of the history of Ayia Napa can be seen on the first main roundabout of Ayia Napa. The city was looking for ways to create positive feelings and memories when entering the city. An abandoned fishing boat was transferred there together with some other fishing boats.
  • The Cape Greco Environmental and Educational Center, which provides information and education with regards to the national park of Cape Greco, a nature 2000 protected area. The center was inaugurated in May 2017[77]
  • First and Second World War volunteers monument. In October 2016 the city inaugurated in the presence of the Minister of Defence the monument dedicated to the citizens of Ayia Napa who participated in the First and Second World Wars. The monument is called From Yorgopotamos to El Alamein.[78]


On 30 September 2016,[79] the foundation stone of the Ayia Napa Marina (the largest private project in Cyprus at the time) was set. It is expected to cost €250 million and be completed in 2021.[80] The main investor is Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris.[81] Ayia Napa Mayor Yiannis Karousos presented Sawiris with the town's golden key and said that this was an "exceptional day for the municipality and for Cyprus", further stating that the project underlines Ayia Napa's ambition to become "the best and most cosmopolitan tourist resort in the Mediterranean".[82]


Theme cafeteria The Flintstones in Ayia Napa

WaterWorld Themed Waterpark is an Ancient Greek-themed water park[83] that is one of the biggest themed water parks in Europe, with over 25 rides and attractions. It opened on 7 April 1996[84][85] and has since become one of the most visited places in Cyprus, with over 4 million visitors to date.[when?] The park is a member of the World Water Park Association and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.[84]

International relations[edit]

Ayia Napa is twinned with:


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  83. ^ .WaterWorld on TripAdvisor TripAdvisor.com
  84. ^ a b .Ayia Napa Water Park[permanent dead link] All-Waterparks.com
  85. ^ A place travelers can visit HolidayCheck

External links[edit]