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Ayia Napa (Αγία Νάπα; today officially transliterated into English as Agia Napa) is a resort on at the far eastern end of the south coast of the island of Cyprus. In recent years it has changed from being a family holiday destination to being a party capital, similar to Ibiza. In particular, it has become popular as the summer holiday destination for followers of London's UK Garage music scene. A small paradise in the lovely Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where serene beaches and turquoise clear waters soothe and enhance the spirit. The long summer season is ideal for sun worshippers and sea sport lovers while winter coo. is becoming a haven for nature lovers.

Ayia Napa is Greek for "Saint Napa", the patron saint of the town, whose Venetian-era monastery is in the center of the town, next to the square which today is the clubbing center. The word 'Napa' is archaic and it means "wooded - valley". In ancient times this area was covered with thick forest. According to local legend, the now renowned original icon was accidentally discovered by a hunter in hot pursuit of his prey. Upon discovery, the icon was named the Virgin Mary of Agia Napa, The present monastery, built in 1SOOAD, was built around the cave, in honour of the Virgin Mary of Agia Napa. Agia Napa has become synonymous with clubbing on the island, and has attracted tourism from all over Europe because of the climate, beaches and the specific character of the scene that has built up here.

A beautiful beach of Agia Napa (Source)

According to local tradition, until 1790, no one lived within'close vicinity of Agia Napa. The first inhabitants who actually appeared and settled were twenty men from Salonica, Greece, and so began the village of Agia Napa.

Geographically, Ayia Napa lies near Cape Greco at the eastern part of Cyprus, just south of Famagusta and forms part of a larger area known as Kokkinochoria (a name derived from the red colour of its soil). It is a town of Famagusta District. It is part of the Greek Cypriot controlled part of Cyprus, but the only route to the rest of the south of the island is through the UK Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia.

Ayia Napa is about 8 kilometers (5 miles) away from Protaras, a town that has recently seen similar development, but still manages to remain low-key and remains more favorable for families and Cypriot locals.

The Agia Napa coastline is considered the finest with regard to beaches in Cyprus. Extensive golden, sandy beaches cover the area, which attracts the majority of tourists. All along the beaches of Agia Napa facilities for all sea sports are provided including water-skiing, windsurfing, sailing canoes, pedals, motor boots, scooters, speedboats, parachutes, scuba diving and more. The Cyprus Tourism Organization supervises the beaches and is responsible for protecting the interests of all tourists. All beaches in Agia Napa have been awarded with the EU blue flag for their level of cleanliness and the brilliant facilities offered in line with the uniform standards set by the European Union.

The Square is central to the town, which is filled with restaurants, night clubs and shops and for many is seen as the focal point for the Ayia Napa night-life, what makes it unusual is the location of an ancient monastary right in the midst.

Places of interest

Agia Napa Monastery

Agia Napa Monastery, Photo : Augusta Stylianou Artist

Agia Napa Monastery, Photo : Augusta Stylianou Artist

Agia Napa Monastery is the well known landmark of Agia Napa area. It seems that in the ancient times, the location where the monastery and the village exists today, was covered with a thick forest, visited only by hunters from the neighbouring villages. According to a local tradition around the 11th century, a hunter with his dog while chasing a wild hare, the hare suddenly disappeared. The dog continued the chase and was led into a cave where the hare had sought refuge. The present Monastery was built around 1500 AD. On entering the cave, the hunter found himself standing in front of an icon of the Virgin Mary which was soon to become famous all over the island.

Agia Napa , Photo : Augusta Stylianou

Agia Napa also has several Museums.

The Tornaritis - Pierides Museum of Marine life was founded in June 1992 in Agia Napa and is located at the lower level of the Town Hall, It is the first museum of its kind in Cyprus with exhibits of past and present marine life, scientifically classified. Its main purpose is to show to the Cypriot and foreign visitor the marine fauna of Cyprus and the Mediterranean, helping the study and research of this part of Natural History, but also to stress the importance and necessity of preserving the marine environment.

"Thalassa" the Municipal Museum of the Sea in Agia Napa is dedicated to the enhancement, promotion and preservation of marine heritage of Cyprus, from prehistoric times to present. Located at the centre of Agia Napa, the presence of the Museum serves to display marine artefacts, conduct educational programmes and community cultural events, as well as foster interest in Cyprus' rich sea-history. The Museum houses sculptures, engravings, ceramics and paintings of seascapes made by some of the greatest 19th and 20th century Greek and Cypriot artists. In addition, displays will include audio-visual panels, models and interactive exhibits.

The Farmhouse is an excellent insight into the peasant farmer's simplistic life and his special relationship with the land. The home was the focal point of the farmer's activities. It was therefore arranged in such a way that served his every need.

The Makronissos Tombs are one of Agia Napa's most interesting discoveries found west of Agia Napa village in the locality of Makronissos, which were the discovery of an ancient burial site. The tombs generally consist of a stepped road, which leads down to a rectangular entrance. The entrances were originally closed with one large or two smaller calcarenke slabs.

Agia Napa Festival

The Agia Napa Festival is, unequivocally, the most popular and well anticipated event that takes place throughout the year in Agia Napa and one of the better known events on the island. The first festival was held in September 1985. From then on, it was established as an annual event and is held during the last week of every September at Seferis Square at the Agia Napa Monastery. These festivities reflect die historic, cultural and agricultural traditions of Agia Napa and Cyprus as a whole. Visitors have the chance to watch and participate in the customs of our local people, their traditions in music and folk art and above all their hospitality and warm-heartedness. During these festivities thousands of people from Cyprus and abroad visit Agia Napa. The programme includes, among other things, theatrical performances, operas, concerts and Cypriot and foreign folk dancing.

Within the framework of the festival other events are also organised. Painting exhibitions, photographic exhibitions depicting the present and past life of Cyprus as well as shell, flower and butterfly exhibitions and Agricultural displays of produce are organised by the Department of Agriculture. Stalls exhibiting traditional folk art are also set up. At these festivities a warm friendly atmosphere is generated that reflects Agia Napa's love and respect for friendship. The Agia Napa Municipality holds in June a number of events under the General Title "Music from all over the World" to which world renowned artist are invited to perform

The Agia Napa Municipality organises late afternoon performances of folk dancing, singing and band music at Seferis Square every Sunday beginning in April through till the end of the October.

Other festivals are the Green Monday, Kataklysmos etc.

Links

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Districts of Cyprus

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