Not too long ago Ayia Napa was a small sleepy fishing village with a small
harbour, a couple of tavernas and quiet long sandy beaches. Nearby Famagusta
was the hotspot of the coastal region with its big hotels and resort
mentality. Ayia Napa was fishermen and farmers, the famous Cyprus potato comes
from this region, but soon after the invasion and subsequent pumping in of aid
the farmers discovered that their coastal land was far more valuable to
develop than to farm and so not so slowly hotels and tourist villages began to
spring up in the area until Ayia Napa started to get an international
reputation for being a clubbing paradise. The boom of tourism has
transfigured it in a relatively short space of time into a throbbing
night-spot and fashionable beach playground. The waters on this side of Cyprus are superior in colour,
which is that lovely turquoise blue and the sand especially on Nissi beach is golden and clean. The fast food outlets and tourist shops invested in Ayia Napa, more
clubbing happened, spawning more clubs which sprang up like the local potatoes, DJ's started to visit the resort and soon it was heaving. This of course made more and more farmers give up their land to the developers in exchange for a piece of the action and now only twenty years later Ayia Napa has almost met up with the neighbouring villages on both sides. Protaras to the north and Ayia Thekla/ Potamos to the south. The attractions, villas, restaurants and hotel complexes sprawl along the coast and a new highway has been built to connect to the airport in Larnaca with easy access to the capital Nicosia. Nearby at Dherinia there is a lookout point where you can see the still deserted part of Famagusta, behind the united nations lines,
clearly marked by the cessation of residential areas where the fields get to grow their traditional crops in peace. It seems to be particularly appealing to young people, who are
catered for quite handsomely, from lunar parks and water parks for the very young to
go carts, bowls and driving ranges for the more mature.
The beaches around Ayia Napa and Protaras are famous for the
beautiful blue of their water and although they are now overcrowded in some
places it is still a lovely spot, especially if you like an active holiday.
For those of you who like to partake of the action without being in the thick
of it all the time, Protaras, Ayia Thekla
or Paralimni are an ideal alternative.
In the table below we have listed some of the more
traditional sights to be seen, the churches, museums and places of general
interest. For a guide to what's on while you are here, including art
exhibitions, concerts, folk dancing, cinema program and special tourist events see Cyprus-art.com which used to be updated
The mediaeval monastery dedicated to ‘Our
Lady of the forests’ stands in the middle of the village surrounded by a
high wall. Its 16th Century church is partially underground and cut into the
rock. The ancient sycamore tree in front of the south gate is believed to be
600 years old. The more modern aspects of the village include hundreds of
bars , restaurants , disco's and places of
entertainment. It is a very popular destination. A recent development is
the wedding business in Ayia Napa, a lot of young people choose to
get married here.
Click the photos to enlarge
village of Frenaros has its own small Church, Ayios Andronikos and the
Archangelos Micheal date back to the 12th Century. The church of Ayia Marina
has some interesting frescoes
Here is a 16th
Century church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the 15th Century church of
Ayios Andronikos, with an octagonal dome and murals which can still be
distinguished in the apse.
Ayios Andronikos wine is very
nice indeed. Liopetri still carries on the traditional craft of
basket weaving or basket making and the school for the blind in Nicosia is a
place where you can still have a seat restrung or your piano tuned.
The church, in
Paralimni dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Panayia), is decorated with unusual
18th Century porcelain plates. The church, parts of which belong to the 13th
Century, houses a small ecclesiastical museum. Other interesting churches
are also to be found in the area.
Paralimni deserves more of a focus than this little note, as it is not only
better for shopping than Ayia Napa, but is becoming a popular residential
area. We will get to it soon.
picturesque fishing refuge. Nearby are the remains of a Venetian
watch-tower. The French poet Arthur Rimbaud worked in this area in the
1880’s, read him and see if you recognise the nightlife.
MARINE LIFE MUSEUM
(23) 721179 ext 116
Agias Mavris 25
(1st May - 30th September)
Monday - Saturday: 09.00-14.00
Monday and Thursday:16.00-18.30
The monastery in the centre of Ayia Napa is just on
the edge of the square. It is a tranquil place which reeks of simpler
days gone bye and is a great place to relax in the cool shade of the
trees and arches. A photo opportunity indeed as you can see in the
pictures to the left. At night however it has been known to heave with
the young, glistening in the summer with a sea of sweaty bodies, the
beer bottles glint in the moonlight and if you don't like noise, crowds
or throbbing music, it is a place to avoid.
At the east
entrance of this village is the partly ruined church of Ayios Mamas which
was built around the 12th century and rebuilt in the 16th Century. Most of
the existing surviving frescoes date from the 16th Century. About 1,5 km
to the west is the 16th Century cruciform church of Panayia Chordakiotissa
(mother village music??)
and the church of Ayios Georgios, (Saint George) an Early Christian basilica .
The village of Dherynia has three interesting
churches; there is a small domed 17th Century church named Ayios Georgios, the 15th
Century Ayia Marina church, and the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary
with its 17th Century icons. From a vantage lookout point above the village one may look upon the ‘ghost
city’ of Famagusta, still under occupation by the Turkish forces. Once the
most popular holiday resort in Cyprus, now with trees growing in the streets.
Protaras is the up market version of Ayia
Napa. Nice beaches and interesting coves, that in itself is healthy entertainment for the children, nice
hotels, lots of villas and
plenty of nightlife but not till 5am. The evening winds down by 2am here.
Click the photo to enlarge
The Centre Of Ayia Napa
And then there was
BUNJEE JUMPING or even
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