Ayia Napa History
Ayia means Holy in Greek whilst Napa means Archaic but it also translates to Wooden Valley, as in ancient times this whole area was covered in a thick forest and according to legend the original Icon of The Virgin Mary was found by accident here by a hunter.
In the 14th century The Lusignans who were from a royal house of French origin ruled much of Europe including Cyprus. As they ruled here in Cyprus they were attracted by the charm of the region and decided to build a monastery here. Slowly people started coming to the region to work at the monastery and also to build an Aqueduct to provide water for the monastery and the surrounding area. People started to settle around the monastery developing a community.
The village of Ayia Napa was born. Just outside Ayia Napa at Makronissos you can find a cluster of burial tombs dating back to The Hellenistic period and some as far back as The Roman Period, carved out of the ancient volcanic rock.
Between 1800-1974 Ayia Napa was home to either fishermen or farmers. The surrounding sea was full of fish and the land boasted the famous red soil which was rich in minerals and great for growing fruit and vegetables. Cyprus is proud to grow the most amazing potatoes and are famous around the world all because of its red soil.
Before 1974 Famagusta which is north of Ayia Napa on the east coast was the main tourist area in Cyprus. Unfortunately Cyprus was then invaded by The Turks forcing the United Nations to separate the country in two. Famagusta became illegally occupied by the Turkish army and became a ghost city, part of no mans land between the South and the Illegally occupied North. Thousands of Cypriots, [Refugees ] had to flee from their houses and head south. The refugees from Famagusta boosted Ayia Napas population and began turning the small sleepy little fishing village into the popular tourist centre that it is today.
Today Ayia Napa, is the second clubbing destination in the whole of Europe after Ibiza. It has a wide choice of over 90 bars and 10 clubs playing all different kinds of music from House Music, Garage, Hip Hop, RnB, Rock right through to cheesy tunes. Many a famous DJ and Musician’s have performed In Ayia Napa to thousands of Holiday makers. It also has an abundance of restaurant’s and places to eat. Plenty of places to stay from 3-4 star hotels, self catering apartment’s and luxury villa’s.
It has something for everyone including in the winter. Although most of Ayia Napa closes down there are a few hotel’s, bar’s and restaurant’s still open for the usually older winter sun tourists who enjoy walking around the surrounding area of natural beauty.
Ayia Napa has two museums; The Museum of Marine Life and The Thalassa (which means sea in Greek)
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