East meets West in Larnaka (Larnaca) as both Christianity and Islam have revered religious sites here, with the mosque of Hala Sultan, an important Moslem place of pilgrimage, and the church of St Lazarus, Jesus’ friend whom he resurrected from the dead.
The mountainous area of Larnaka (Larnaca), is dotted with charming villages and has the largest concentration of traditional houses available for rent. The listed village of Lefkara, is perhaps the most picturesque, with its narrow streets and stone houses with red-tiled roofs and central courtyards, and a history of producing wonderful handicrafts such as filigree silverware and a traditional kind of lace known the world over as “lefkaritika”. Legend has it that Leonardo da Vinci himself came here and bought an altar cloth, which he donated to Milan cathedral.
Amongst archaeological sites worth visiting, Choirokoitia is one of the best preserved sites of a prehistoric settlement brought to light in the Eastern Mediterranean, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The church of Angeloktisti, in the village of Kiti, has one of the finest examples of Byzantine art of the Justinian period, a rare 6th century mosaic of the Virgin and Child between two archangels, while perched dramatically on a rocky peak with a panoramic view over the surrounding hillsides, sits the solitary monastery of Stavrovouni, one of the oldest monasteries in Cyprus.
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