20 February 2014

Limassol, Cyprus - Town

With a population of just over 100,000, Limassol - also Lemesos, its older name - is the largest town in Cyprus. The town is one of contrasts, touristy lanes in the centre and the more interesting dusty corners of the area immediately outside this.

Limassol makes a strong claim to be one of the oldest continuously-inhabited towns in the world, its roots stretching back to 2000 BCE.

Richard the Lionheart, on his way to the third crusade, called here in 1191, when Cyprus came under the control of the Anglo-Normans. It was sold a year later to the Templars.

It can seem as though everyone has controlled Cyprus at some time. The French, the Venetians, the Ottomans, and again the British, from 1878. The British Sovereign Areas of the island remain a key military asset.

Limassol's role as a tourist destination took off when the Turkish invasion of 1974 lead to Famagusta and Kyrenia, the previous key resorts, being occupied. They continue so, in defiance of numerous United Nations resolutions.

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