About the city
During the Crusades, Richard the Lion-Heart, leader of the Third Crusade, landed in Limassol (Lemesos), not incidentally to free a noblewoman held captive by the Byzantine sovereign. The noblewoman? His betrothed, Berengaria of Navarre. In Limassol they married, touching off the most extravagant party the island had ever seen. Today, the tradition of celebration and hospitality continues in this vibrant seaside town. In February before Lent, masked revelers invade the street with music, parades, and dancing for Carnival. In September, the Wine Festival explodes in the town for a week. And every night people in restaurants, cafés, and nightclubs celebrate events momentous and trivial, from a soccer win to a sudden romance to yet another stunning sunset at day’s end.
Explore Limassol Castle, which contains the Cyprus Medieval Museum, or the Folk Art Museum, which is housed in an old mansion. Walk on ten miles of beautiful beaches, deservedly known as the Cypriot Riviera. Stroll in the sea promenade or visit the lush Municipal Gardens. On the coastal road to the east, just after the luxurious Limassol hotels, you will find Amathus, one of the ancient city kingdoms of Cyprus. See the ruins and take a dip near the site of an ancient port.
At 14 km west of Limassol lies Kolossi Castle, a medieval fortress whose walls contain not only an imposing tower and surrounding living quarters but also an ancient sugar factory.
Just 19 km west of town, visit the Kourion archaeological site, an ancient city-kingdom, where you can take in a play or concert at the ancient Greco-Roman Theater, overlooking the blue Mediterranean. And, a bit further on, explore a treasure trove of Greek and Roman sites, such as the Sanctuary of Apollo.
Limassol Places of interest
Kolossi Castle: 14 km west of Lemesos on the road to Pafos. A fine example of military architecture, originally constructed in the 13th century and subsequently rebuilt in its present form in the middle of the 15th century. It served as the Grand Commandery of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. In the 14th century it came under the domain of the Knights Templar. Daily 07:30-17:00
Kourion Museum: 14 km west of Lemesos, 4 km before Kourion site, at Episkopi village. Collection of finds from nearby archaeological sites, exhibited in a beautiful old house. Mon-Fri: 07:30-14:30 Thurs: 15:00-18:00 (except July and August)
Kourion:19 km west of Lemesos on the road to Pafos. An important ancient city-kingdom and one of the most spectacular archaeological sites on the island. The magnificent Greco-Roman Theatre was originally built in the 2nd century B.C. and is now used for musical and theatrical performances. The House of Eustolios, originally a private Roman villa, became a public recreation centre during the Early Christian period. The Early Christian basilica dates to the 5th century. The House of Achilles and the House of the Gladiators have beautiful mosaic floors, and the Nymphaeum is an elegant Roman structure. The Stadium is dated to the 2nd century A.D. Daily 07:30-17:00.
Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates: 3 km west of Kourion, on the road to Pafos. Apollo Hylates, God of the Woodland, was the protector of the city of Kourion. The cult of Apollo was celebrated here from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. Excavations have also revealed other structures of this important sanctuary such as the bath complex, the pilgrim halls, the palaistra and a holy precinct. Daily 07:30-17:00
Amathus: 11 km east of Lemesos town centre, close to Amathus
Hotel. One of the ancient city-kingdoms of Cyprus where, according to
mythology, Theseus left the pregnant Ariadne after his battle with the
Minotaur. The remains date from the Archaic, Roman and Christian periods.
Dining in Limassol
Whoever said that civilization started on the table and variety was the spice of life surely had Cyprus in mind. In ancient times it was said that Cyprus invented the art of good living, and the island’s name became synonymous for luxury to both the gods and humans.
Taverns, restaurants and hotels offer French, Italian and “international” menus. But they take pride in preparing Cypriot food and specialties, especially in the tavernas and the popular restaurants. These are some of the Cypriot dishes, which delight both tourists and residents alike.
"MEZES": When you order Meze (or mezedes or mezedakia) in a Cyprus hotel or restaurant, you are served a rich collection of appetizers and savories in up to 20 saucerlike dishes. For example various cheeses, like halloumi, kaskavalli or feta, tomatoes, olives, celery, sliced artichokes or smoked ham, houmous (ground chick peas, with olive oil and garlic), octopus (or squid), shrimps, fresh fish, such as barbouni (the delicious red mullet), succulent snippets of chicken or turkey; cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, seftalia (homemade sausage), koupepia (stuffed vine leaves). The local bread made of homegrown wheat and the village salad with fresh coriander, green olives, olive oil, lemon and feta cheese make the mouth water. So can taramosalata, a delicious dish made from fish roe, olive oil and lemon.
Main Courses: This consists of moussaka, made from minced lamb or beef and herbs covered with layers of sliced potatoes, eggplant and zucchini, or tavas, a veal, onion and herb dish served in little earthenware bowls straight from the oven and sprinkled with “artisia ” spices. Souflakia or Kebab, is either bits of lamb or pork skewered and roasted by slow charcoal fire and eaten with chopped onion, salt and pepper in a ‘pitta’, a flat, unleavened bread.This dish is often a meal in itself, especially if served in a big ‘envelope’ of bread together with delicious local yiaourti (yogurt). Such a feast is followed by a cornucopia of excellent juicy fresh fruit — oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, melons, lemons, apples, pears, cherries, apricots, figs, pomegranates, bananas, purple plumbs, grapes, dates, almonds, walnuts etc. Some friendly advice! The rule is “eat a little of each” otherwise you’ll find halfway through your meal that you just can’t go on to taste what follows! If all this seems a bit too much for you to eat — and such a meal can cost less than three pounds — you can order a three course meal, which can also be Cypriot food and style. Some of the best dishes are Cyprus raviolis (a pasta dish) or avgolemoni (lemon and egg soup), patcha (a kind of lamb stew served with lemon). Lemons in Cyprus go with every meal and every meat. Kleftiko (lamb roasted in traditional oven) or suckling pig with roast potatoes are delicious. Cyprus grows some of the finest potatoes of the world. Other famous dishes include grilled or fried fresh fish, such as synagrida, fagree, red mullet, vlachos, trout. For people who like a more simple meal, Cyprus has the national dish of sailors’ beans, called “fasolada”, or there is the sturdy afelia, which is pork soaked in wine, sautéed with oil, coriander and wine. There’s also zalatina (highly seasoned brawn), Cyprus smoked sausages, flavored with pepper and lentisk, or laurel. Game abounds in Cyprus, including partridge, hare, woodcock snipe and pheasant. And there are specialties like koupes, pourekia, kattimeria — thin semolina paste delicacies filled with meat, almonds or eggs and cheese, etc.
Sweets: Souzoukko, a favorite at Cyprus festivals and fairs, is made by dipping strings of nuts in heated grape juice until the confection solidifies. Glyko are preserves of almond, date, apricot, cherry, quince or grapes, always served with a glass of cold water.... Loucoumi, or Turkish delight.... Kadeifi and baklava or galatopureko, all rich oriental honey cakes.... Cyprus honey is excellent.... Soumada, made of almonds and a favorite hot drink. And this brings us to a legion of Cyprus fruit juices mentioned above.
Wines: It is mentioned in the Bible (the story of Solomon) that Cyprus wines are the best in the world. Commandaria, the rich sweet dessert wine of the Crusaders, is in fact, the oldest wine known in the world. It’s fame is wide and takes pride of place.
Cyprus produces a wide range of wines red, white, sweet, dry as well as sherries, vermouth, and ports. The traditional ouzo is a strong distillation of grape juice taken watered, when it looks like milk.
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