Larnaka Sites Pending UNESCO World Heritage Status
Spring brings great news to Larnaka; that two of the region’s most significant ancient monuments - Angeloktisti Church and the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque - are on the tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site list, along with the Salt Lake that surrounds the mosque.
Angeloktisti means ‘built by angels’, and this 11th century Byzantine church in Kiti Village was erected over the ruins of an Early Christian basilica (6th century). The church is special for housing one of the finest pieces of Byzantine art on the island - a rare 6th century mosaic of the Virgin Mary and Child between the two archangels Michael and Gabriel.
The Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque is the main Muslim pilgrimage site of Cyprus, and marks the spot where the Holy Helper and aunt of Mohamed - Umm Haram - died when she fell off her mule after the Arab armies successfully landed in Larnaka in 648AD.
The Salt Lake has been a natural habitat of sea life for 3-5 million years, with fossil life found in the surrounding hills confirming this. Excavations in the area have shown that the lake was perhaps one of the first natural ports of Cyprus that facilitated trade between the island and the great civilizations of the area.
The World Heritage Sites of UNESCO are cultural and natural heritage sites around the world that are considered to be of outstanding value to humanity, and the inclusion of such important Larnaka sites (pending for 2017 and 2018) is an honour for both the region and the island.