Reading time
15 min
23 April 2021

Finikoudes promenade in Larnaca

We continue to walk through the neighborhoods of Larnaca.

First we took a stroll through Mackenzie, the fashionable area of the city. Then we walked through the Skala neighborhood, from which our city has its second name.

Today we will visit the very, very center - the Finikoudes embankment. At the end of the article we will tell you how to get a small bonus - a recently released book about the Finikoudes - for free.

To begin with, let's deal with the area's boundaries. This time everything is very, very easy.

Finikoudes and Larnaca neighborhoods, which we have already passed.

The Finikoudes promenade starts from the Larnaca Fortress, (as you might guess) goes along the sea and ends at Europa Square.


First of all, let's work with the name of the embankment. What does Finikoudes mean? What are the first words that come to mind? The phoenix bird... the Phoenicians people... Yes, yes, we are thinking in the right direction, but not quite to the point.

Let's learn a Greek word - φοίνικας / finikas / (or a more archaic variation φοῖνιξ). It means "a palm". Accordingly, Finikoudes is a place where palm trees grow. Everything is very simple. But what do the Phoenicians and the phoenix bird have to do with it?

In fact, the name may have another meaning, which the builders of this embankment clearly did not mean, but this second meaning is always on my mind.

Where does the Greek word φοῖνιξ come from? From the Phoenicians. A palm tree (φοῖνιξ) is a plant of the Phoenicians. Phoenix (also φοῖνιξ) is a bird of the Phoenicians (although it was from Egypt, it was associated with the Phoenicians by the ancient Greeks). The word phοῖνιξ was also used to name the musical instruments of the Phoenicians, dyes and every-everything that the Ancient Greeks associated with a land of Phenicia.

And our Larnaca before the campaigns of Alexander the Great was the largest Phoenician city on the island, so the name of the main embankment today sounds symbolically - Finikoudes is a place full of palm trees, or a place associated with the Phoenicians.

Nothing is permanent. Even the city center

Today this part of Larnaca is the very center of the city. Lots of tourists and locals walk here. Young people meet here, families dine here. They swim, they take pictures and rent hotel rooms here.

Has this place always been the center of the city?


During its many thousand-year history, Larnaca several times "moved" not only along the sea, but even inland and back, towards the sea.

This is how Larnaca looked in the early years of British rule. Kitchener's Survey of Cyprus, 1882.

And here is the arrival of the first British soldiers in Larnaca. Modern Finikoudes. Photo: Illustrated London News.

For example, the city center in Phoenician time (2.5 thousand years ago) was a little further, in the areas, which we will talk about at other times. This place, which we are talking about today, became the city center in the Modern Times.

Let's start with the castle. Last time we said that if you climb the fortress, you get a wonderful view of the Skala area. Of course, if you turn around and look towards Finikoudes, you will see an equally excellent view.

For the first time, the castle was built by the crusaders, who made our island a transit point for the soldiers defending the 'Holy Land' from the muslims. The fortress was definitely built by 1180. However, later it was rebuilt in such a way that nothing remained of the original medieval citadel. But we know for sure that it was right there.

In British times, it was used as a police station, a prison, a quarantine hospital, and a museum.

Let's think about what may seem too obvious for us. Why did they build a fortress? To prevent enemies from attacking the city! And it's not only about unfriendly nations but also about piracy.

Living on the coast was dangerous in these centuries as you could be robbed, killed, kidnaped and taken to unknown lands. Doesn't sound like a fantastic journey.

Just like in "Pirates of the Caribbean", but without happy ends.

Therefore, the city center during the time of the Crusaders and Venetians (the latter ones ruled over Cyprus after the former) was not right on the shore, as it is now, but a little further - towards the Salt Lake (Aliki). Western rulers actively mined salt from there, so the inhabitants of Larnaca lived on the isthmus between the sea and the lake, but not so close to the sea coast - they could be kidnapped or killed...

Larnaca in the 16th century. Rade des Salines ou de Lernica en Chypres Gravier, Etienne (16 ..-....; Marquis d'Ortier).

Somewhere here.

Yes, thousands of years before that time, thanks to the might of the Phoenician (or, much later, the Roman) fleet, the locals did not have such problems.

Peace was brought to the island by new invaders - the Turks, who not only radically repaired the fortress, but also secured the coast. Since then (approximately from the 17th-18th centuries), the gradual construction of modern Finikoudes began. Larnaca's new center.

Three parts of Finikoudes

There are a lot of sources regarding our embankment, but Finikoudes is best presented in a new book published in honor of the 100th anniversary of the embankment (we will talk about this later). The book is called Η Παραλία των Φοινικούδων της Σκάλας, written by Dr. Marios Kyriazis (Μάριος Κυριαζής), one of the city's most famous city experts. Kyriazis allowed us to use material from his publication, for that we are grateful. We'll tell you how to get his great book for free a little later.

So, Kyriazis divides our embankment into 3 parts, and we will follow him.

Finikoudes. Part one

The first part is the first 200 meters from the Larnaca Fortress. This area is the oldest.

The Meeting Pub seems more interesting.

The first British city administration was located here (in 1878). Later there was a police station, a tobacco factory of Dimitrios Dianellos (του Δημήτριου Γ. Διανέλλου), a three-story house, and now there is a bar where local British Cypriots gather to watch football games.

Somewhere here was a French consulate during Turkish times. On the territory of modern Kalamaki (or a little towards Alexander), there was a consulate of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Do you know how to make the residents of northern Greece mad? Show them the Kalamaki bistro! Do you know the war between US fries / UK chips and US chips / UK crisps? There is exactly the same unsolvable conflict in the Greek language! In Athens (and, therefore, almost everywhere), meat-on-a-stick is called καλαμάκι / kalamaki /. In Thessaloniki, this term sounds strange for locals and they say only σουβλάκι / suvlaki /. (PS. καλαμάκι is a small wooden skewer, small twig, and drinking straw. Hence, Athenians also call kebab-on-a-stick καλαμάκι, which both Greeks and Cypriots love to eat).

If we pass the Alexander bar, we will get to the Παλιάς Αγοράς street. Or the street of Old Market. Yes, if you walk a little inside, there is a place used to be a market.

Photo source: City of Larnaka. Old Market Street (as well as the streets parallel to it) connect Finikoudes with the People's Neighborhood (Λαϊκή Γειτονιά). This is one of the most picturesque parts of the city, which we will definitely talk about!

Navy Marine is the most pleasant building on Finikoudes, at least in architectural terms, as it is one of the two buildings that have survived from the XIX century to this day! From it we can see what our embankment looked like in the middle of the ΧΙΧ century.

Finikoudes used to be like this (this is not quite the same building, but the idea is clear):

It was not possible to find out the source of the image.

Today the building of the middle of the 19th century hides from our eyes behind huge signboards, verandas and 'high-rise' new buildings:

Image source: flickr / Sergey Galyonkin.

Now let's go in the opposite direction from the Meeting Pub forward to one of our first 'high-rise' buildings.

This is the Town Hall (Δημαρχείο in Greek).

Today it is located here. For the first time it moved here at the beginning of the last century, but then the building was rebuilt and since the 90s the main offices of the municipality have been here again. If you go into the lane to the left of the town hall, then you can see such a lovely old building:

And the buildings opposite are no less wonderful, but, unfortunately, are in a terrible condition. And this despite the fact that they are placed next to the administration of the municipality and city officials!

Different times, different architecture.

Finikoudes. Second and third parts

The second part of Finikoudes starts near the Town Hall and goes to the beginning of the marina.

This part was initially less populated, and later, in the late 19th - early 20th centuries, it began to be built up with hotels such as Grand Hôtel or Royal (which later became Beau Rivage).

Finikoudes in 1925. Photo source:

An American consulate in the 19th century was here, where now is the restaurant Hobos (or Hobo).

It is more important to us than others, since the Cesnola brothers (1865-1877) worked here. They, in addition to their diplomatic work, carried out active excavations in Cyprus. Thanks to them, the scientific community became acquainted with Cypriot archeological treasures, and New York stylish women wore copies of ancient Limassol jewelry.

We should tell you about Cesnolas' life in a separate article, how they moved to Cyprus, how they worked on the island, and why the youngest of the brothers sat here in prison.

Please note that apartments in a new 'high-rise' building directly behind the Hobos are being sold. And if you go a little inland, then you can find this building under construction:

Here, you can buy an entire floor with a wonderful view of the city for only € 210,000!

97 m2 (living area 78 m2), two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Finikoudes promenade is just a few minutes away. By the way, if you buy another small property from the same developer (so that the total amount is from 300 thousand, excluding VAT), you can get permanent residence in Cyprus (if you are not a EU citizen).

And if you want housing of a completely different class, then you can pay attention to such a penthouse in Larnaca:

Let us remind you that you can upload your property for rent or sale on DOM real estate website, as well as find property for your budget and plans. At the moment our offices are located in Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca!

We continue our journey. There were the famous Terry's Pub and Black Ship pub breweries Near McDonald's on Finikoudes in the 80s of the last century

Further we can find a real monument of history. Το Αρχοντικόν restaurant is the other oldest building on the embankment, it was built in 1850. Today it stands alone among the 'skyscrapers' built several decades ago.

Τhe whole embankment consisted of such houses of the Ottoman era in former times.

In addition to a real architectural rarity and an archaic name, Το Αρχοντικόν is famous for its cuisine.

Finally, the third part of Finikoudes extends from the marina to the police station. Here (near the police) there was a quarantine for everyone who arrived in Larnaca by sea. Do not forget that the sea is a source of not only mortal danger from pirates and enemies, but also deadly diseases (cholera, plague, typhoid fever, smallpox, and, of course, various venereal diseases brought by sailors from distant lands).

Photo: pinterest

The quarantine was in different places (for example, in the fortress) in different periods of time.

At the beginning of the ΧΧ century, it was moved here. Construction of administrative buildings began nearby, immediately after the landing of British soldiers and officials on the island. They finished constructing until the beginning of the last century.

Now it is the administration of the Larnaca district (in Greek it is called Επαρχιακή Διοίκηση Λάρνακας). Please don't be confused with the Town Hall of the Municipality of Larnaca! Here are the offices for the whole district, and there are ones only for the city municipality.

Finikoudes construction

Looking at the old photographs, you probably noticed that the sea is very close to the buildings. Yes, the area we are now walking on was the sea a hundred years ago. There was no life on the embankment just because there was no real embankment.

139] Η αλήθεια γύρω από έναν μύθο σχετικά με τη Λάρνακα | ΚΙΤΙΟΝ - ΛΑΡΝΑΚΑ  - ΣΚΑΛΑ


The British decided to rectify the situation. They filled the coastline with sand and planted palm trees by 1920.

Before construction of the embankment. Source:

After. There were small palm trees at that time. Source: Historical Archive of the Municipality of Larnaca

At first, the road was called the Coastal Avenue. Then the British began to call it the Strand - in honor of the famous street in London. For a while it was called Marina Avenue, and then (during World War II) the British decided to rename the street names in the Greek manner.

Finikoudes in 1950. Photo source:

Then (or even earlier) our street began to be called Athens (Αθηνών). And the name of the embankment became Finikoudes. Yes, the street is called Athens! Finikoudes is the name of the coastal strip.

The construction of the embankment has changed the look of the city beyond recognition. This place became the very center of the city. The buildings of the 18th-19th centuries were instantly repaired (or demolished). In the latter case, they built houses in the neoclassical style instead of old ones.

The construction of electric poles with lamps began In 1922. This all contributed to the development of the restaurant business. Young people began to come here, in the so-called wedding market of Larnaca. In 1948, due to the large number of tourists, cables had to be removed underground, and in the 60s the traffic became one-way.

Photo: Irini K / pinterest. The post-war XX century

Thanks to the wide beach, the constant flood hazard has disappeared. It is hard to imagine, but palm trees were destroyed by strong sea waves in the first decades.

Larnaca began to change more strongly after the Cyprus war. The Turkish-speaking population was forced to flee to the north, and the Greeks of the north were forced to relocate to Larnaca. Thus, new quarters were formed, and Finikoudes began to noticeably rebuild. The old houses (in the neoclassical style) were demolished and replaced by what we can observe today.

Embankment of squares

Like the Piale Pasha promenade, Finikoudes has several squares and monuments that reflect different periods in the history of the city and the whole country. Let's visit them.

Near the fortress of Larnaca, in the old part of the embankment, there is the Venetian Square with two monuments.

"Dono della città di Venezia in occasione del gemellaggio Adriatico Venezia - Larnaca, Festa Della Sensa 2010." "Donated by the town of Venice in memory of the Adriatic twinning Venice - Larnaca, Festa Della Sensa 2010."

As you may know the cities are close to each other not only as sister cities, but also by a common history. Eighty-two years (1489-1571) Venice directly ruled Cyprus and our Larnaca.

The second monument is also located here.

"Дарунок міста Одеса" is "a gift from the city of Odesa".

In 2004 (when Cyprus joined the European Union) Larnaca became the sister city of Odesa.

Larnaca became the first city where Odesans (in the summer of 2019) bult their anchor. The event was attended by the mayors of both port cities.

Closer to the police station is a statue of Cimon in the square of the same name.

Cimon was a famous Athenian commander and politician. He led his tribesmen during the war against the Persians and the intra-Greek strife. However, why does he have a statue here, in a distant land of Cyprus?

Under the statue ΤΟ ΚΙΤΙΟΝ ΚΙΜΩΝΙ ΤΩ(Ι) ΑΘΗΝΑΙΩ(Ι). ΚΑΙ ΝΕΚΡΟΣ ΕΝΙΚΑ is written in ancient Athenian. Kition (i.e. Larnaca) for Cimon the Athenian (510 - 449 BC). "And the dead won." What are they talking about here?

In 450 BC, Athens and its allies decided to expand their influence in Cyprus and face off with the Persians who controlled the island.

In the same year, Athenian forces besieged Kition (Larnaca), but were defeated by the Persians.

During the siege of Kition, Cimon died.

However, before dying, he asked his generals not to tell the soldiers that he was dying. So the army of the allies returned to Greece, believing that they were led by Cimon. Before returning home, the Greeks won a battle in Salamis, and then another naval battle. This is how the famous expression "and the dead won" appeared. After the campaign, peace was concluded, according to which the Athenians no longer interfered in the life of the Greek Cypriots.

According to the idea of ​​the builders of the monument, the inhabitants of ancient Kition should have been grateful for the attempt of the Athenians to seize the city.

Opposite the Larnaca regional administration there is a monument to the most famous resident of Larnaca - Zeno of Citium (Citium is the latinized name of the city of Kition).

The famous expression of the philosopher is indicated on the monument: ὁμολογουμένως τῇ φύσει ζῆν - "to live in harmony with nature."

Finally, we will mention another monument dedicated to one of the local ethnic groups of Cyprus. And they, you most likely will not guess, are Armenians!

According to the Constitution of Cyprus and signed European treaties, four ethnic groups are the native inhabitants of the island. Two main ones: Greek and Turkish Cypriots. And also Catholics (of whom only a few number of Arabs-Cypriots remained) and Armenians.

True, these are not exactly the Armenians to whom we are accustomed. These are native speakers of the Western Armenian language who have lived and live now in Turkey and Cyprus. They, unlike the Eastern Armenians, have never been part of Russia or USSR, therefore they do not speak Russian.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Armenians (like the Greeks) were subjected to a genocide in the crumbling Ottoman Empire. In 1915, fleeing death, part of the Armenians could escape to Cyprus.

The text is written in Eastern Armenian, the official language of Armenia.

Pagan Holidays

The Feast of the Cataclysm (Kataklysmos) is inextricably linked with the Finikoudes embankment. This is a holiday that fits well with the Orthodox religious tradition. On the 50th day after Easter, Cypriots remember the miraculous salvation of Noah. Theatrical performances, poetry duets and water competitions are held.

Like many traditional festivals, Kataklysmos has its roots in pagan religious cults that existed on the island thousands of years before the first Christians. Probably, the veneration of Aphrodite of Paphos and her beloved mortal Adonis, as well as the Larnacan cult of the Phoenician Ishtar, the prototype of Aphrodite, were mixed in the Cataclysm.

This is also a separate chapter to which special attention should be devoted.

Where to get the book about Finikoudes?

You can get a book about Finikoudes in Greek language (the text is not difficult to read) at the Museum of Medicine in Larnaca or at the Estia bookstore. Yes, just come and ask for the book, and they will give it to you.

Contact the DOM Larnaca office on +357 24030062, or come to the address: Gregoriou Afxentiou 7, Larnaca, 6023, Cyprus. Here you will always be provided with competent advice and help with renting (out), buying and selling homes.

Read more:

  1. First acquaintance with Larnaca (link)
  2. Where to live in Limassol? Coastline vs mountains (link)
  3. Paphos Real Estate Market Overview (link)
  4. Paphos vs. Limassol. All the pros and cons (link)
  5. All about life and housing in Mackenzie, Larnaca (link)
Source: DOM LiVE
Photos: DOM LiVE
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