Ayia Napa

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Ayia Napa
Αγία Νάπα (Greek)
Aya 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
District Famagusta District
 • Mayor Yiannis Karousos
Population (2001)[1]
 • Total 2,693
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Website http://www.ayianapa.org.cy/

Ayia Napa[a] is a 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 centre of the town, next to the square that today is the clubbing centre. 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.


According to local legend, the area 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.

The government of Cyprus, recognizing the importance of Ayia Napa to Cyprus' economy, decided in 2014 to characterize Ayia Napa as a main city.[2][3][4] Today, Ayia Napa is the largest tourist resort in Cyprus, with a 27,000-person bed capacity and more than 145 hotels and apartments of all sizes. In 2017, the resort welcomed over 700,000 tourists and accommodated 5 million overnight stays,[5] representing approximately 30% of all Cyprus overnight stays.[6] The city of Ayia Napa has the seventh largest budget of the 30 active municipalities of Cyprus, and employs 230 people.


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 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Protaras, a town that has recently seen similar development, but still manages to remain low-key and remains more favourable for families and Cypriot locals.

Cultural sites and events[edit]


Ayia Napa Medieval Monastery is the main point of significant historical interest in the Ayia Napa area.[7] 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.[8][9]

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.[10] 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 BC merchant ship which was salvaged during the 1960s.[11][12]

The Ayia Napa Sculpture Park, which is located on the east side of Ayia Napa, was inaugurated in May 2014 with 17 sculptures. By 2017, the sculpture park contained 144 sculptures through the participation of 104 sculptors. The sculpture park has gained worldwide recognition[citation needed] and has been turned into an international sculpture park with participation from artists from all over the world.[citation needed]


The Ayia Napa 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 theatre performances, operas, concerts, and Cypriot and foreign folk dancing.

The Ayia Napa Youth Festival was established in 2010[13] 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,[14] then President of the Ayia Napa Tourism Committee, on September 16, 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.[15]

Points of interest[edit]

Following his election as head of the city 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:

  • 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.
  • The Mermaid of Ayia Napa. A sculpture on the harbour. 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.
  • The Lady Farmer. Located in the heart of the city, the statue is a modern version of the lady farmer.
  • 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 centre. The monument was inaugurated in July 2016.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 March 2017.
  • 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.


WaterWorld Themed Waterpark is an Ancient Greek-themed water park[16] that is one of the biggest themed water parks in Europe, with over 25 rides and attractions.[17] It opened in 10 April 1996[18][19] and has since become one of the most visited places in Cyprus, with over 4 million visitors to date. The park is a member of the World Water Park Association and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.[18]

International relations[edit]

Ayia Napa is twinned with:



  1. ^ Officially romanised "Agia Napa". Greek: Αγία Νάπα (locally [aˈʝanːapa]). Turkish: Aya Napa.


  1. ^ Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus (MS Excel), 2001 Population Census
  2. ^ Government, Secretary of council of ministers (2014-05-25), Προσωρινός Χαρακτηρισμός των Δήμων Παραλιμνίου και Αγίας Νάπας ως αστικό κέντρο της Επαρχίας Αμμοχώστου, Cyprus Government 
  3. ^ phileleftheros, phileleftheros (2015-12-02), City center infrastructure projects due to urban center characterization, phileleftheros 
  4. ^ phileleftheros, phileleftheros (2017-06-05), Ayia Napa and Paralimni characterised as main cities, phileleftheros 
  5. ^ karousos, yiannis (26 July 2017). "Οταν δεν μπορείς να κοιμηθείς - when you cant sleep". politis newspaper. p. 11. 
  6. ^ karousos, yiannis (2015-06-20), Ayia Napa in 1974 and in 2015, simerini newspaper 
  7. ^ Stenzel, Samantha (1999), Cyprus, Nelles Guides, Hunter Publishing, ISBN 3886181561 
  8. ^ "The Makronisos Tombs". Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  9. ^ Gorringe, Anne (2014-01-08). Roman ruins, ancient art and mouth-watering moussaka: 10 things to do in Cyprus. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  10. ^ Dublin, Marc; Morris, Damien (2002). The Rough Guide to Cyprus. Rough Guides. Retrieved 2016-08-27. .
  11. ^ Davies, Tracey (2013-05-14). "The quiet side of Ayia Napa". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 
  12. ^ "Thalassa Agia Napa Municipal Museum", Visit Cyprus, retrieved 2016-08-27 
  13. ^ "Security Check Required". [permanent dead link]
  14. ^ yiannis karousos. "Αγία Νάπα Τελική ομιλία - Ομιλίες- Γιαννης Καρουσος Δημοτικός Σύμβουλος - Ayia Napa". 
  15. ^ "Ayia Napa hopes for Guinness record". HomeboyMediaNews. 
  16. ^ .WaterWorld on TripAdvisor TripAdvisor.com
  17. ^ WaterWorld Water Park Archived 2016-01-31 at the Wayback Machine. wow247.co.uk.
  18. ^ a b .Ayia Napa Water Park All-Waterparks.com
  19. ^ .A place travelers can visit [permanent dead link] HolidayCheck

External links[edit]