Cyprus // Larnaka and around //

Larnaka fort

Once little more than a tumbledown ruin, Larnaka’s fort, at the southern end of the promenade and separating it from Piyale Pasa and the old Turkish quarter, now provides a fine ending to the long promenade and beach. The fort was built during the reign of the Lusignan King of Cyprus, James I (1382–98 AD); it then fell into disrepair, was rebuilt by the Ottomans in the early seventeenth century, and was used as a prison by the British. Once through the Ottoman two-storey building which blocks off the end of the promenade, and past a row of medieval canons, you’ll see to the immediate right a wooden staircase leading to the fort museum. Though it’s all a bit jumbled, broadly Room I contains displays of early Christian artefacts, Room II photographs relating to the Byzantine period, and Room III an excellent collection offourteenth- to sixteenth-century Byzantine and Islamic glazed pottery – the greens and browns of the sgraffito ware are truly stunning. There’s also a reconstructed “divan room” – the sort of place where you’d lie around puffing dubious substances in your hookah. When you go back downstairs, you’ll find that the lush gardens (which host summer evening concerts) are worth lingering in.

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