The ancient writers mention nothing about the foundation of the town.
The history of Lemesos (Limassol) is largely known by the events of 1191 A.D. that put an end to the Byzantine dominion of Cyprus. The king of England, Richard the Lionheart, was travelling to the Holy Land in 1191. His fiancιe Berengaria and his sister loanna, (Queen of Sicily), were also travelling on a different ship. Because of a storm, the ship with the queens arrived in Lemesos (Limassol). Isaac Comnenus, the Byzantine governor of Cyprus, was heartless and cruel, and hated the Latins very much. He did not allow the queens to get off the ship and did not even help them. When Richard arrived in Lemesos (Limassol) and met Isaac Comnenus, he asked him to contribute to the crusade for the liberation of the Holy Land. While at the beginning Isaac had accepted, he later on refused to give any help.
Richard then chased him and beat him. Cyprus was therefore taken over by the British. Richard celebrated his marriage with Berengaria who had received the crown as queen of England in Cyprus. So, the Byzantine dominion in Cyprus came to an end.
Richard destroyed Amathus and the inhabitants were transferred to Lemesos (Limassol). A year later, in 1192 A.D. Cyprus was sold to the Templars, rich monks and soldiers whose aim was the protection of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The knights enforced high taxes,in order to put back the money that had been given for the purchase of Cyprus. This led to the revolt of the Cypriots. They demanded that they should get rid of the bond of the promise. Richard accepted their request and a new purchaser was found: Guy de Lusignan, a Frank, a Roman Catholic. Cyprus was thus handed over to the Frankish Dynasty of the Lusignan kings of the medieval Cypriot kingdom.
The King of Germany, Frederick II, urged by the Templars of Cyprus who were enemies of Ibelen, arrived in Lemesos (Limassol) and took over in the town in 1228. He then called John Ibelen to come beforehim, in order to discuss the plans against the Muslims. John Ibelen came before him accompanied by the under-aged King Eric and all the Templars of Cyprus. When Ibelen refused to cooperate, Frederick had no choice but to let him go. The German King took over in Lemesos (Limassol) and in other towns. He appointed his own governors but he finally left Cyprus. The forces of Frederick were finally beaten in the battle of 1229, which took place in Agirta, a village in the Kyrenia area, between the forces ofFrederick and the troops of the Franks, which were led by John Ibelen. The outcome of the battle meant the beginning of the freedom of Cyprusfrom the Germans.
Cyprus was sold in1489 A.D. to the town of Venice by the Cypriot Queen Catherine Cornaro. The Venetianswere not interested in Cyprus. They were only interested in receiving the taxes and in exploiting the country’s sources. They destroyed the Castle of Lemesos (Limassol) in1539. Travelers who visited Cyprus in the 16th century commented on the poor condition of the local population in the towns of Cyprus.
All the inhabitants of Cyprus were enslaved by the Venetians, and were obliged to pay a tribute of 1/3 of their income, whether this was part of their products of the land, e.g. wheat, wine, oil, or animals or of any other product.
Limassol is famous for its long cultural tradition, as well as its major folklore festivities.
Visitors have the chance to experience various cultural activities and more, such as theatrical, dancing and musical shows, in addition to visiting museums and archaeological sites around the city, which provide an astonishing combination of Frankish, Byzantine, Ottoman and contemporary influences.
Our city’s cultural wealth is enhanced by its multinational composition: Tens of thousands of people from other countries have become an indivisible part of our society.
The Olympia coast is located southeast of the old town of Limassol, right next to the multifunctional seaside park of Molos. Its waters are crystal clear and calm as a result of the breakwaters built near the coast.
Along the length of the coast, swimmers can enjoy a plethora of amenities such as cafes/ kiosks, changing rooms, toilets, showers, sun loungers and umbrellas. A great variety of water sports, a children’s playground and a beach volley area are also available in the area.
One can also take advantage of the bicycles available for rent all year-round to cycle around the area or even stroll down the pedestrian street at any time of the day.
People with disabilities can now enjoy the healing powers of the sea without having to depend on anyone, through a mechanism consisting of rails on which a specially designed mobile seat is fixed, providing the user with direct access from the beach right into the sea water up to a safe depth.
During the summer season, lifeguards can be found all across the length of the Olympia Coast.
The inauguration took place on 1 June 2012 by the Mayor of Limassol Andreas Christou, in the presence of a great number of distinguished guests. Ms Eliska Kubikova, the director of Jihlava Zoo, welcomed the opening of the LZ and expressed her excitement, wishing the best for this new project.
Specially designed natural-looking habitats were created for all types of animals residing at the zoo. All species are well taken care of and are given the required attention and love, as well as proper nutrition. Guests can enjoy their stroll and grab the opportunity to take a close look at the animals in a pleasant environment, since all safety regulations are observed.
In addition to the entertainment offered to the visitors, the LZ further participates, along with all the other zoos, in what is a zoo’s main mission, namely the research, protection, reproduction and release into the nature of endangered species. With the creation of a modern educational centre, visitors, especially children and students, are able to benefit from organized educational lectures, guided tours and updates relating to the animals, wildlife and fauna.
Pioneering signs have been created for all species, containing the most interesting information with regard to each animal. Educational animal feedings take place on a daily basis by caregivers, thus providing more information to visitors in relation to specific species of animals.
The zoo includes a cafeteria called “Flamingo”, specially created for the recreation and relaxation of the visitors. The cafeteria offers unobstructed views to the sea, the greenery of the area and of course the flamingos! The modern playground and children’s corner with mini goats and sheep are sure to provide unforgettable moments to all young visitors.
This particular project enhances and enriches both the maritime tourism infrastructure and product, all while opening up new horizons not only for Limassol but also for the entire Cyprus. For the time being, there is no equivalent project in the Mediterranean concentrating so many advantages such as an attractive location, direct access to the city centre and the beach, unobstructed and impressive views, high levels of safety, guaranteed quality of construction, project uniqueness, architecture of high aesthetics etc. All necessary harbour works and building facilities are constructed at the Marina, while the surrounding area is specially modified for the docking, maintenance and repair of more than 660 pleasure boats, from small craft boats to luxurious yachts of up to 115m length.
Sea side Multi-fuctional Park
As a continuation of the seafront development, the need arose for the reconstruction of its western section, i.e. the seaside promenade commonly referred to as the ‘mole’ or ‘reclamation’.
The various designs and changes made to the core area of the town from 1974 and afterwards have influenced its planning network. The existing seafront
situation, the ‘mole’, which had been created by the Town Planning & Housing Department, needed modifications that would make it part of the new, modern face of central Limassol by means of an integrated, unified design.
The landscaping of the whole seafront area was completed with the widening of the area of the Old Port and, to the west, the Marina, the planned Conference
Centre and the planning of the Coastal Road (Aktaia Odos) to Limassol new port.
The aim of the Project was to reshape the seafront, based on the new developments dating from 2002 when the ‘Central Limassol Plan – provisions
and policy matters’ was drawn up, and on the new demands and needs of those using the area.
In the context of the upgrade, existing functions and infrastructures were taken into consideration, such as fountains, sculptures, green areas and play areas, without at the same time overlooking the general design principles which govern the town as a whole.
Today, the Limassol seafront area is buzzing with life and is one of the most important places with the town’s residents as well as with thousands of visitors who walk, exercise, rest and enjoy some recreation there.
The project was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund of the EU as part of the 2007-2013 programming period in the “Competitiveness and Sustainable Development operational programme, with priority given to the regeneration of urban and rural areas and with the particular aim of regenerating the urban environment and the promotion of entrepreneurship”.
The total cost of the project was €12 million and it was completed in February 2015.
Limassol Sculpture Park
The Limassol Municipality installed an outdoor Infopoint digital information access system at the Sculpture Park, enabling visitors to obtain additional information about the sculptures adorning the Park. The system was installed by the Cyprus company Blupath Ltd on behalf of the Municipality of Limassol as an offer to the Municipality, while the system is technologically supported by CYTA as a sponsor. The system is also supported by Askanis Group of Companies, Medochemie and Remedica.
The system consists of ten signs containing an explanatory text on the conceptual rationale behind each project, written both in Greek and English by Dr Nadia Anaxagorou, Head of the Cultural Services of the Limassol Municipality, who was also in charge of the organisation of the three relevant Symposiums mentioned above. The texts are accompanied by photographs taken by the well-known Vassos Stylianou.
The Infopoint system was officially delivered to the public on 3 April 2017 during a ceremony held at the Limassol promenade. In his speech, the Mayor of Limassol, Mr Nicos Nicolaides, stated that the Sculpture Park is one of the most important projects undertaken by the Cultural Services of the Limassol Municipality. He further added that this initiative serves as a model and point of reference for similar actions taken by other Municipalities throughout the island. The Mayor subsequently thanked Blupath Ltd and the other sponsors for their contribution to the creation of the system. At the end of the ceremony, a guided tour of all seventeen sculptures took place by Dr Anaxagorou. During the tour, she stressed that “these sculptures merged with the dynamic of the coastal landscape as well as the psychosynthesis of its people and the culture of Limassol and Cyprus in general”, underlining that the Sculpture Park undoubtedly constitutes one of the most important projects of cultural heritage in the city, literally bringing art to one of its most central and popular spots”.
A Stroll in Limassol
The Walking Tour (City Route) of ‘A Stroll in Neapolis, Nemesos, Limassol… Lemesos’ is designed to acquaint visitors with one of Lemesos’ most important features – the seafront area known as ‘Molos’ or ‘Embankment’.
Traditionally a meeting point for the locals (Lemesiani), this area was turned into an open-air Sculpture Park, which exhibits works of art by Cypriot, Greek and international artists.
The tour also takes participants past the old port, and Lemesos Castle, which is now a museum on the Medieval history of Cyprus. It continues through the surrounding area – home to interesting stone-built warehouses, many of which have become restaurants and exhibition halls.
The walk then visits the sites of Great Mosque or Kepir Mosque, the Cathedral of Agia Napa, the Municipal Market and the traditional shopping centre of Agiou Andreou – now a quaint, pedestrian area.
Start Point: Τourist Information Office, Lemesos (Limassol), Old Port, Syntagmatos Square
End Point: Τourist Information Office, Lemesos (Limassol), Old Port, Syntagmatos Square
Days / Times: Monday, 10:00
Operating Period: All year round. Not available on Public Holidays.
Estimated Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Booking: Advance booking is required.
Organised by: Lemesos Municipality, Deputy Ministry of Tourism and Cyprus Tourist Guides Association
Information: Tel. +357 25 362 756