About Cyprus

Larnaca Castle

Larnaca Castle

The history of the fort in Larnaca

Ларнакский замокAccording to historical evidence, the Larnaca Fort (sometimes known as Larnaca Castle) was built in the middle Ages during Lusignan rule. The harbour in Larnaca became part of the fortifications that were used to protect Cyprus’ southern coastal cities.

During the reign of the Venetians the fort continued to provide defence of the city’s marina but it gradually began to decline, and by the time Ottomans captured Cyprus the fort was destroyed.

In 1625 the Turks rebuilt the fort, combining Ottoman style and Romanesque architecture.  Only the arches in the southern part remain from the previous structure, and it looks a little less like a Lusignan fort. There are 2 inner buildings that create an internal courtyard.

In the 18th century the fort again fell into decay, but began to recover after the capture of the island by the British in 1878. The British no longer needed a defensive fort so after repairing it they used it for judicial and police needs, turning it into a police station and prison where executions were carried out in one of the cells.

The last criminal was executed in the dungeons in 1948, and 2 years later the police station was moved to another location. An archaeological museum was opened in the fort’s buildings.

Interesting Facts

Ларнакский замокIn the northern part of the fort are two single storey buildings from the Ottoman era. The east and west sides of the two rooms are connected by a gallery, fulfilling the function of the inner court. The West Room, which is located to the right of the entrance to the fort and at one time contained gallows, was the site of executions during the reign of the British.

Historical evidence suggests that the friends and relatives of the condemned were invited to the execution. They could hear and watch the proceedings while remaining in the outer courtyard, but there was no admittance to the execution chamber itself.

How is the fort used now?

Today the Larnaca medieval castle is an historical museum – a Museum of the middle Ages. Initially, it consisted of only two rooms, but in subsequent years the museum’s collection has increased greatly and two additional halls had to be opened.

From the top you can take in the scenic views of the fort and its surroundings. From here the guards would keep watch for enemies on the horizon.

During the summer, the inner courtyard is used for performances, where concerts and other cultural events are organised.

A castle museum

Larnaca CastleThere are a lot of unique exhibits in the Larnaca Historical Museum – from ancient times, religious items and finds from the medieval period including marble plaques, glass and pottery, plaster decorations from the early Christian basilicas, clay lamps, and more. The walls of the museum are decorated with photos of the frescoes of early Christian basilicas.

In 1963, during the riots resulting from the conflict between Greek and Turkish police, a part of the museum’s exhibits were substantially damaged or stolen.

Still to this day, the cannons that saluted ships entering the harbour remain in the eastern part of the courtyard.

Opening hours:

  • Summer (from April 16 to 15 of September): Monday – Friday from 08:00 to 19:30;
  • Winter (from September 16 to April 15): Monday – Friday from 09:00 to 17:00;
  • Saturday – Sunday from 09:30 to 17:00;
  • Closed on public holidays.

Tickets

  • EUR 2.50;
  • For groups of 10 people – 20% discount.

How to get to the castle

Larnaca fort is located at the end of the Finikoudes seafront. This is the last point on the tourist routes showing the sights of Larnaca seafront.

Larnaca fort can be reached by bus, car, taxi or tour bus.