Larnaca, Cyprus

Cyprus is small. It’s the third smallest country I’ve been to after Luxembourg and Singapore.

From a British point of view, the number of abandoned buildings and modern ruins in Berlin is shocking, but the density of these in Larnaca was even more surprising. There were a lot of roads with no footpaths, but — in contrast to any American city where the footpath has ended — the roads themselves are still very walkable. This is probably partly because houses on those roads have front doors which open onto the road without the driveway that’s practically mandatory in the USA, so everyone knows to drive slow and carefully.

It was also surprising to be back in a place that drives on the wrong (left) side of the road, and that all of the street furniture was the same as in the UK, but that’s the sort of thing only a Brit could care about.

Cypriot pedestrian crossing with English-only user guide.
Cypriot pedestrian crossing with English-only user guide.

There were a few ancient ruins in the city; of these, the Kition seemed to be the main one, while the Archeological Museum was a surprising mixture of “closed”, “currently being excavated”, “a warehouse”, and one olive press. Interspersed with the ruins were a few in-use-now-or-recently buildings, such as the coastal defence fort (and then police station) at the south end of the main pedestrian tourist/food beach, and a few churches. There was also a mosque right next to the fort, but I couldn’t tell if that was open to tourists, open only to worshipers, or disused entirely.

Church and museum
Church and museum.
Larnaca fort
Larnaca fort.
Ancient Kition
Ancient Kition.
Acropolis, Lanarca
OpenStreetMap says this is an Acropolis. It seems to be part of the Archeological Museum.
Ancient ruin of an olive press, presumably partly reconstructed
Ancient ruin of an olive press, presumably partly reconstructed.
Collection of archeological artefacts sheltered from rain by wooden roof
Archeological Museum outdoors display.
Kamares Aqueduct, Lanarca
Kamares Aqueduct, Larnaca.

The tourist area was fairly standard for tourism — a mixture of fast-food and fancy, with plenty of picture-based menus, some brands you’d recognise and others which prided themselves on how authentic they were. There were, of course, also the standard tourist tat shops selling overpriced duplicates of the same things you can buy anywhere. So far as the genuine authentic local cuisine went, there was what seemed to be a local variant of pitta bread, sweetened with honey or chocolate — when eating it, it felt very much like a soft, floppy pastry. I recommend tying it if you get the chance.

The housing itself had some details you might not expect. In each of the two hotels I used, there was a message in the bathroom saying “don’t flush toilet paper” or similar, while at the top of nearly every building I passed, I saw large white plastic containers, each roughly the size of 2 or 3 bathing in volume. Water? I wouldn’t know.

Less surprising were the stylistic choices. Newer building were the same as newer buildings everywhere: rectilinear, plain, high quality; the older buildings, the one more likely to be (but not universally) in a state of disrepair, are of a style I do not recognise. It’s nice to see something new to me when I travel.

The climate was a bit of a surprise. As with Athens, I had been expecting much warmer and sunnier; even though I went from 1-4°C in Athens to 9-14°C in Cyprus, the previous winter in Spain had led me to expect 14-18°C in both and no rain. There was a lot of rain.