Primeval Kition – Part I

Mediterranean | | September 4, 2009 at 10:11 am




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Kition, formerly a noteworthy primeval city, is presently, majorly concealed beneath contemporary Larnaca. Initially Larnaca was founded three thousand years back by the Mycenaeans and the Phonicians and it was called Kition. Kition was the native land of the strong-nerved truth-seeker, Zeno. One can find numerous places of worship that were unearthed here that date back to the pre-Greek era.

Initially settled in by the Mycenaeans during the 13th century B.C., the location of the contemporary Larnaca town was according to the Bible called as Kittim at that period. Much like major Cypriote towns, Kition was under the Persian rule in 450B.C. that lasted for a century. The statue of ‘Kimon the Athenian’, the Athenian general who laid down his life at sea in a huge clash protecting the town of Kition from the Persians, is seen standing tall on the sea-facing walkway of modern day Larnaca.

Till 1000B.C., Kittim faced major downslide, but was re-instituted nearly two hundred years later by the Phoenicians where after  it recommenced its past function as a seaport sending copper abroad and the following period saw Kition garner significant affluence.

In 550 B.C. with the Hellenistic conquest over the Cyprus Island, this era noticed the origin of Kition’s highly famed son Zeno. With Christianity spreading its roots to Kition, beliefs imply that Lazarus was the foremost bishop who preached in Kiton, believed to be the person whom Jesus brought to life in Jerusalem. Folklore state that in a malicious attempt to cast away Lazarus’s miracles, he was shipped off in a seeping boat by the Pharisees into the sea, only to return back safe and sound to Cyprus. Following this incident, he went on to become the foremost bishop and eventually turned out to be Kition’s patron saint. For a period of time, his crypt was preserved in the Church of Ayios Lazaros.

During the seventh century, Kition faced similar ravages in the hands of the Arabic raiders who had also attacked several Cyprus coastline settlements. Kition’s situation improved only after the Genoese seizure of the close by area of Famagusta leading to the traders shifting base to this place in order to garner the port’s immense benefits. During this period, the colony was identified as Les Salines or Salina, deriving its name from the internal salt lake.

During the Ottoman reign, the town got christened its contemporary Larnaca name, derived from ‘larnax’ that meant sarcophagus. With the dawn of the eighteenth century, Larnaca became the leading port in Cyprus and the abode of several overseas representatives. Only subsequent to the Second World War, did Larnaca lag in significance after Famagusta and Limassol.

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4 Comments

  1. Jacob says:

    Ricky, tell me, do you really find this fusion of roman, pre-greek, turkish cultures interesting ? How has it impacted their food? Sorry, man! I am a foodie.

  2. Sandy says:

    I am curious to know about few things, like with coastline, what kinda water activities do they have? Another thing I wanted to say was that I think a lot of good places to visit & good activities to do would have gone unnoticed had you not brought it to our at attention. I feel, it’ really some of great stuff I have read that was informative, interesting & helpful to take right decisions for my trip.

  3. Rochelle says:

    It’s significant town in terms of history, as some world changing events & people belong to this city & it still carries the marks of their “once-upon-the-time” kinda existence. It somewhere does go unspoken with the glory & beauty of those relics. But, the highest significance should go their value & potential, instead of beauty, according to me.

  4. Daniel says:

    Whatever, anyone wants to say about the history of Kition, I would say, Ricky, you gotta tell the kinda stuff people love to do when they go there. The rest is just stuff, that might have some value,yet you forget it minute you leave the place. What do you think?

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