CITY GUIDE: Limassol

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Limassol, Cyprus’ second largest city and host to the island’s largest port, was previously known as ‘Nemesos’ (meaning ‘in between’) due to its geographical position sandwiched between the ancient cities of Kourion and Amathus.

 

Amathus is famously known as the place where, according to Greek Mythology, Theseus left the pregnant Ariadne to be looked after. Past excavations have unearthed an acropolis and agora in addition to countless other ancient ruins such as Christian Basilicas and the largest ancient stone vase ever discovered, now on display at the world-famous Louvre Museum.

 

Head towards the West and you will stumble upon the incredible Kourion with its majestic cliffs and ancient relics dating from the 5th century B.C. such as The House of Eustolios – originally a private Roman villa, and an early Christian basilica. Other ancient ‘houses’ include The House of Achilles, The House of the Gladiators and The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, while there is also a fully-restored Greco-Roman Theatre dating back to the 2nd century B.C. and still used to this day for musical and theatrical performances.

 

Today, the tradition of celebration and hospitality continue here, most notably just before Lent when masked revellers invade the streets with music, parades and dancing for the famous Limassol Carnival.

 

Another notable celebration – the Limassol Wine Festival, celebrates the island’s love of wine. On the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains many of Cyprus’ main wine vineyards are located here where charming small villages, known collectively as the ‘Krassochoria’ (wine villages), still uphold traditional wine making practices. Commandaria, most probably the island’s most famous wine, was originally produced and exported by The Knights Hospitaller for St. John of Jerusalem from their headquarters at Kolossi Castle which still stands to this day.

 

Furthermore, Panagias Vounarkotissa, also located at Kolossi, is a small church built within a cave and received its literal name meaning ‘inside a rock’. During Turkish rule, Christians would secretly go to pray and it is believed that many healing miracles take place here.

 

Guests visiting this enchanting city can additionally visit Limassol Castle which contains the Cyprus Medieval Museum, or Folk Art Museum, which is housed within an old mansion.

 

History and tradition aside, Limassol also includes 16km of beautiful beaches, the beautifully-scenic Germasogeia Dam, and Akrotiri Salt Lake – an incredible spot to witness migratory birds.

 

Whether for a relaxing or fun-filled beach holiday combined with a stay in a luxurious five-star resort, an action-packed adventure on land or sea, visiting historic attractions or hitting the bars and clubs in the evening, Limassol has it all.

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Tomasz Huczek, http://tomasz.cc