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In ancient times Larnaca was known as Kition as it is believed that Noah's grandson, Khittim, established the first settlement about 6000 years ago. The modern name of the city; which means coffins in Greek ('Larnax') was derived because of the many burial sites found on Kition settlements. While other settlements in Cyprus were abandoned later, Larnaca developed into a city because of its ancestors who inhabited it continuously.
Archaeologically, the earliest remains trace Larnaca to the Mycenaean age. Once, it was a major colony for the Phoenician rulers, but it achieved its true status during the Hellenistic Age.
The Mycenaean Greeks formed the Kition Kingdom in the 13th century B.C., during which it was a port. The prosperity of the Kingdom can be viewed through the excavations of Cyclopean walls and Mycenaean temples.
Due to its prime location in the Mediterranean region, Larnaca has always attracted a lot of external rulers. Cyprus has been at the mercy of many conquerors such as Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Franks, Venetians, Turks and Britishers. The main reason for invading the city of Larnaca was due to its location as a port as well as its richness in minerals and other resources.
Though many rulers attacked Larnaca, one of the most important ones was the Byzantines. Historically they left behind many remains and monuments, such as the Basilica of Saint Lazarus. During this time, the city enjoyed stability and prospered.
When the Ottomans landed in Larnaca, the port basked in the glory of being an important diplomatic and commercial centre of Cyprus.
The British, who ruled Cyprus for about eighty-two years, first landed in Larnaca. During their rule, the port developed its own distinct identity in modern Cyprus as it developed very fast. This lasted till the Turks attacked Cyprus in 1974.
After Roman times the city became the main port of the island. Today, the locals of Larnaca have developed a modern outlook whilst still maintaining many traditions and upholding their hospitality and welcoming attitude towards visitors. The city is well known for its beautiful and clean beaches, great food and vibrant nightlife.
Larnaca has a picturesque seafront offering plenty of activities during major festivals.