Let’s face it. Neither of these cities is interesting. We arrived in Larnaca at night, slept and left the next morning. In Nicosia we stayed two nights because it is a divided city. And since Germany has been united and I never made it to Berlin before the wall fell, I needed to experience that at least once. I am sure a divided city is not such a fun experience for the locals. For all tourists it’s a must-see. Such is life.
But let’s get back to Larnaca. The city of Larnaca has a population of over 50k, so I guess you can call it so. It’s about 5km from the airport and the cab drivers rob you blind by charging 15EUR for driving you into town. Actually the second time we arrived it was already 20EUR. But when we said no way, the driver was okay with it. He just meant: “There is no taxi mafia on Cyprus”. Interesting statement don’t you think? In any case there is no taximeter, so make sure to ask before for the price.
Larnaca lies right next to the sea, which is amazing when you leave and can still spend a couple of hours on the beach. Especially since the sightseeing part is not really yielding any highlights. We stopped at the Holy Church of Saint Lazarus. Yes, that’s the guy who was raised from the dead by Jesus. But don’t let the name of the church fool you, the sarcophagus in the crypt is actually from a friend of Lazarus. How do I know that? Because there is an inscription and the Hungarian guide just explained it while we were there (thanks Sylvia for translating).
Not far from Larnaca lies the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque. The area around the mosque was a cemetery in the second millenium BC. So one can say that this has always been used as a religious site. Nowadays it is a favorite place for cats. An abundance of cats call the parking place their home and you have to be careful not to drive over them when you leave.
The mosque is also on the shores of the Larnaca Salt Lake. It dries out in summer but apparently in winter flamingos come to inhabit. In November there was still no water.
From there we drove to Nicosia which was a disappointment in itself. Walking around the Greek part of the city, there is really not much to see. I mean there are some nice looking houses but overall the town has nothing to offer and looks empty. Okay that’s not fair, because in Nicosia you can cross over to the Turkish part on foot. And there are even signs laid in the floor to let you know where to cross.
Furthermore we went for dinner to Zanettos which came with countless recommendations from guide books, friends and the internet. This place lives only from its name. It offers countless mezze in a vegetarian version or with meat and both were disappointing. The meat probably even more, the meat was fry and the snails disgusting. So if you come across it, there is really no need for you to go. Spend your money some place else. Yours, Pollybert