The seaside town of Larnaca has been given the real wow factor with the entire strip between the Finikoudes promenade and Mackenzie Beach sporting a new look. Head to the old Piale Pasha Sea road and you’ll get a real taste of the unique character of the Larnaca seafront with sites of interest to leave you wide eyed at every step of the way.
Offering a welcome change for both local residents and tourists, the makeover of the coastal strip covering a distance of just over two kilometres is one of many projects which aim to change the face of the town over the next couple of years, to soon also include a Larnaca port and marina project.
Connecting the Medieval Fort (otherwise known as the Larnaca Castle) to the Mackenzie Beach strip, the project has transformed a narrow road into a far more pedestrian friendly one which runs alongside a cycle lane with wheelchair access, while also boasting new lighting and an appealing green area. The sea front strip has two distinct sections.
The first has been aptly named the ‘historical section’ and reaches out from the Old Fort at the end of the Finikoudes promenade to Tapa Hana Park in the Old Turkish Quarter. The second, has been proclaimed the ‘modern section’, stretching from the Tapa Hana Park on to the Mackenzie beach area.
To make the most of your walk, start off at the well-known Finikoudes tree lined promenade where you can take in views across the sea while sitting back on one of the many wooden benches that characterise the length of the strip.
Watch the world go by and you’ll notice families enjoying a day out, couples making the most of a romantic stroll, and plenty of teenagers enjoying a natter as they prepare for their latest excursion at one of the nearby hot spots. If the weather is warm, you may want to plunge into the sea for a bit of a cool down, while the milder weather in the spring, autumn and winter makes for a lovely opportunity to spread a throw down onto the sand and enjoy the atmosphere as the waves softly lap up against the shore.
Once you’ve charged up your batteries, walk all the way down Finikoudes until you reach the Larnaca Fort. Some sources indicate that the fort was founded during the Byzantine era as the first fortification of the island. But 18th century sources insist that the castle was built by the Turks in 1625 AD. More recently, it is known that the English used the fort as a place for the execution of convicts and as a prison, up until 1948.
Now housing the District Medieval Museum, the small treasure trove consists of three rooms to be found on the upper floor of the main building, with a whole host of interesting items to ogle at. First up, you can find antiquities from Early Christian, Byzantine and Post-Byzantine monuments of Cyprus that will take you back in time to somewhere between the 4th and 16th century.
In the central room, you’ll come across photographs of Byzantine wall paintings dating all the way back to the 11th Century. Step into the large eastern room and you’ll find representative examples of old cooking utensils, guns, helmets and swords spanning a period from the 15th to the 19th century. This in turn is enriched with photographs of defensive structures coupled with Gothic and Renaissance architecture styles of Cyprus.
After you’ve had a good wander around the fort, exit the grounds and continue your walk down the Piale Pasha towards Mackenzie. As you walk beside the sea, you’ll notice a number of fish restaurants dishing up the fresh catch of the day. Take note that the whole area is also of historical significance and if you continue walking down the Piale Pashe seafront street, the old Turkish Quarter will certainly give you food for thought with its maze of quiet streets and whitewashed houses, while you can stop for a moment to catch your breath at the Tapa Hana Park.
Those with an artistic flair will love peeping in at a number of workspaces that characterise the area, with the district particularly known for its pottery, much of which has been inspired by ancient Cypriot art. If you’d like to put your creativity to the test, you can even try your hand at pottery with a number of workshops that are open to the public.
Continue your walk down the modern section stretching from the Tapa Hana Park onwards to the Mackenzie strip which offers a great selection of beachside bars and even the opportunity to dabble in a spot of fishing. Laze on a sun lounger and you can watch the planes land at the nearby Larnaca airport as you top up your tan and enjoy a splash in the shallow waters.
If your feet are tired and you really want to enjoy the length of the Piale Pasha in style, then keep in mind that you can now see the sights of the area with the gentle trot of a horse and carriage run by Venus Aphrodite Horse Carriage Tours. The horse and cart rides are available both mornings and afternoons for adults and children, with a choice of routes.
The children’s pony and cart rides start from Europe Square at the beginning of the Finikoudes promenade and trot up to Kimonas Square, with room for up to five children. The larger horse and carriages can accommodate four adults and ride to Agios Lazarus Church or the Mackenzie area.