A general view of Lapithos

Location in Cyprus

Coordinates: 35°20′12″N 33°10′27″E / 35.33667°N 33.17417°E / 35.33667; 33.17417Coordinates: 35°20′12″N 33°10′27″E / 35.33667°N 33.17417°E / 35.33667; 33.17417
Country  Cyprus
  District Kyrenia District
Country (controlled by)  Northern Cyprus
  District Girne District
  Mayor Fuat Namsoy
Population (2011)[1]
  Total 7,839
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Climate Csa
Website Cypriot municipality (in exile)
Turkish-Cypriot municipality

Lapithos or Lapethos (Greek: Λάπηθος;[2] Turkish: Lapta) is a town in Cyprus. De facto, it is under the control of Northern Cyprus.

According to Strabo, the settlement was founded by Spartans. In Assyrian inscriptions, Lapithos is mentioned as one of the eleven Cypriot kingdoms. During the Persian rule, Lapithos was settled by Phoenicians. The last independent king Praxippos was subdued by Ptolemy I in 312 BC.

Lambousa is the name currently used for the ancient Roman town on the coast about 3 kilometres (2 miles) north of the current Lapta.

The coast at Lapithos



Strabo wrote that Lapethos is a 'construction of the Laconians and of Praxandros'. The philosopher Alexander of Ephesus called it "Imeroessa", meaning "attractive" and "passion-arousing".[3]

Lapithos is usually referred in archaeological literature as a Laconian colony built after the Trojan War, by Praxandros, its first king. However, findings from excavations i.e. pots and pottery wheels date back its existence as early as 3000 BC. According to Diodoros of Sicily, who wrote in the 4th century BC, Lapithos was one of the nine kingdoms of Cyprus.[3]

Peisistratos, king of Lapithos, with his flotilla, together with Nicocreon of Salamis and Stasanor of Curion, came to the aid of Alexander the Great, helping him to capture Tyre in Phoenicia. For this reason Alexander, the victorious army commander, declared Cyprus free from the Persians. The last king of Lapethos was Praxippos.[3]

Roman, Byzantine and Luisignan periods

Map showing the ancient city-kingdoms of Cyprus

During the period of the Roman Empire, Lapethos had more than 10,000 inhabitants. It formed one of the four districts of Cyprus. From ancient times, Lapithos became a centre for the processing of copper and more importantly an earthenware centre.[3]

During the proto-Christian period (25 BC – 250 AD) Lapethos experienced a great commercial drive because of the plethora of its produce, but also because of its port and its shipyard. During this period Lapethos was given the name Lambousa, "shining", maybe because of its shining wealth or because of its shining beauty and cleanliness or because of its lighthouse, which shed shining light to the surrounding region.[3]

During the first years of Christianity the apostles Paul, Barnabas and Mark passed by Lapethos coming from Tarsus. According to Apostle Barnabas, Lapethos had city walls. He cites that during his second tour with Apostle Mark, they stayed outside the walls because they were not given access to the city. In late antiquity, Lapethos enjoyed great prosperity in commerce as well as in riches, art and development. Bishop of Lapithos Theodotos (c. 314–324) died a martyr in Kyrenia while Bishop Didymos was represented at the 4th Ecumenical Synod (451) by Saint Eulaleus or Eulampius, whose chapel can still be found near the Acheiropoietos Monastery.[3]

Lapethos was heavily damaged during the Arab incursions. The population often had to flee and take refuge in the interior.[3]

Upon the Byzantine recovery of Cyprus from the Arabs in 965, Lapithos's refugees returned to their town to rebuild it in a new location, but chose to stay away from the sea, relocating it to the foot of mountain Pentadactylos.[3]

During the Lusignan period, Lapithos boasted a greater population than Limassol, Famagusta or Paphos. It was known under the name Le field de la Pison, believed to be a false etymology for Lapithos. 3000 troops were stationed at Lapithos under the command of Zanetto Dandolo in the years preceding the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus in 1571. Dandolo was killed during the defence of Nicosia.[3]

Ottoman period

In 1780 a section of Lapithos was split off to form a new village, Karavas.[3]

British rule

Further information: British Cyprus

Lapithos became a municipality soon after the transfer of power to the British rule, with Andreas Koumides becoming the first mayor.[3]


Landscape near Lapithos

Situated about 14 kilometres west of Kyrenia, on the northern coast of Cyprus, on the East it borders with Karavas, on the West with Basileia, on its south with the villages of Sysklhpos, Agridaki, and Larnaka tis Lapithou. It spreads from the high mountains of Pentadactylos to the waters of the Mediterranean. In fact, it rests against the background of the highest peak of Pentadactylos, the Kyparissovouno.[4]


A beach and a house standing by it in Lapithos. Tourism is an important source of income for the town.
A hotel in Lapithos

Civil servants and workers constitute the majority of the working population. Tourism, agriculture, small-scale industry and fishing are also important sources of income, practised by the rest of the population.[5]


Thanks to its spring, Lapithos has rich water resources and fertile land. This results in an agricultural sector with a diverse range of products. Citrus is a major product, the lemons of Lapithos are especially renowned. In the hills, olive and carob trees grow. Among other trees and crops cultivated are pistachio, konari and kolokas/kolokasi. Mulberry trees are also planted and provide the protection of lemon trees from the salt and winds of the sea, as well as the silk that is used in the silk industry and handicrafts. Lapithos also has a great variety of plums, including the "flokkaroues" variety unique to the town.[6]


Turkish Cypriot municipality

The Municipality of Lapithos (Lapta) that de facto administers the town was founded on 19 November 1974 by the cabinet of the Autonomous Turkish Cypriot Administration.[7] The current mayor is Fuat Namsoy of the National Unity Party.[8] He has been in this position since 1994.[7]

Greek Cypriot municipality

The Municipality of Lapithos was established in 1878 by the British as one of the ten new municipalities after the beginning of their rule in Cyprus. The municipality has horned Athena on its logo, in reference to an ancient coin found in Lapithos. In 1974, this municipality was forced into exile, and its municipal council operating then stayed at their positions until 1987. The municipality is currently located at 37 Ammochostou Street and shares its headquarters with the municipality-in-exile of Kythrea. The current mayor-in-exile is Athos Eleftheriou.[9]

Before 1974, the village was administratively divided into six parishes (enories), each with its own civil and religious administration, community council, an ecclesiastical authority with a Greek Orthodox priest, and cemetery. The parishes were as follows:[4]

In addition to these parishes, the seventh administrative division was the Turkish Cypriot quarter.[5]

Churches and mosques

Timios Prodromos Church in Lapithos
Saint Evlalios Church
Acheiropoietos Monastery

Lapithos has 14 churches, two mosques and two monasteries.[10] These include:

The mosques are as follows:


The town annually hosts the Lapta Tourism Festival in the first week of June. Numerous cultural and sporting activities, folk dance shows by groups from various countries and concerts take place during the festival.[13][10]

Lapithos has a unique needlework with original patterns, known as the Lapta lace (Turkish: Lapta Hesap İşi). The handicraft is still preserved as a product for tourists, and is made on linen fabric with the cross-stitch technique. Lapithos have also produced the culturally important walnut wood chests for Cyprus. The town also has a tradition of knife-making; its knives traditionally had handles made of goat horn and were known for the sharpness and workmanship. The town is one of the most important silk-producing centres in the island and has been historically that way. The silk is used locally and island-wide in handicrafts and for weaving.[10]

Lapithos hosts a vibrant sports life concentrated on the sea. Water sports such as diving, windsurfing, jet-skiing, water-skiing and parasailing are popular. Horse riding and cycling are also practised. The town is the centre of several hiking trails protected by Natura 2000; these trails pass through the area's forests, ruins of ancient cities and temples, churches and historical warehouses.[10] The town is home to the football club Lapta Türk Birliği S.K. They played in Süper Lig, the top-level division of Turkish Cypriot football in the 2014–15 season, but were relegated as they attained the last place.[14]

Notable locals

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Lapithos is twinned with:


  1. KKTC 2011 Nüfus ve Konut Sayımı [TRNC 2011 Population and Housing Census] (PDF), TRNC State Planning Organization, 6 August 2013, p. 21
  2. The pronunciation of which has changed since antiquity. Originally Cypriot Λάπαθος Lapathos.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "History". Lapithos Municipality. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  4. 1 2 "Location of Lapithos". Lapithos Municipality. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  5. 1 2 "Lapta". Lapta Municipality. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  6. "Farming and Crops". Lapithos Municipality. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  7. 1 2 "Belediyemizin Kuruluşu ve Siyasi Oluşumu" (in Turkish). Lapta Municipality. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  8. "Lapta'da Fuat Namsoy Başkanlığı garantiledi!" (in Turkish). Kıbrıs Postası. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  9. "History of Lapithos Municipality". Lapithos Municipality-in-exile. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 "Lapta" (PDF) (in Turkish). TRNC Department of Tourism. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  11. 1 2 "Parish – Churches in Lapithos". Lapithos Municipality. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  12. "Lapta (Lapithos)". Cypnet. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  13. "Lapta Turizm Festivali" (in Turkish). Lapta Municipality. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  14. "K-Pet Süper Lig Puan Tablosu" (in Turkish). Turkish Cypriot Football Federation. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  15. "Büyükçekmece – Twin Towns". [[copyright|]]Büyükç Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  16. "Kemer – Twin Towns". [[copyright|]] Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  17. "Karpoš – Twin Towns". [[copyright|]]Karpoš Retrieved 22 March 2015.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/19/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.