The Service is located in the restored building of the old Port Authority at Evropis Square.
The Cultural Service is responsible to plan and coordinate the entire cultural movement of our town. It manages all the cultural aspects belonging to the Municipality of Larnaka, i.e. the Municipal Theatre, the Pattichio Municipal Amphitheatre, the Garden Theatre in the Medieval Castle, the Municipal Art Gallery, the Municipal Historical Archive-Museum, the Municipal Natural History Museum, the Pattichio Municipal Theatre “Skala”, the Municipal Conservatory and other places, which occasionally operate as the “cultural lungs” of the town.
Musical ensembles which consist of the Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vocal Ensemble, the Children’s Choir and the Children’s Philharmonic Orchestra are part of the Cultural Services.
Some of the most important established annual events which are organised is the Holy Spirit Festival, the International Festival in July, the Classical Music Festival, the European Cultural Winter, the Flower Festival and the Children’s Carnival Parade. Finally, the numerousart and publishing activities of the Services complete the range of cultural activities.
Publishing is one of the most important sectors of the cultural work and an inextricable part of Culture. Having this in mind, the Service established its own Publishing Committee which consists of people of the Letters and the Arts who are in their majority from Larnaka and work pro bono for the rich publishing work of the Municipality.
In detail, the established activities and events are the following:
The decision of the Municipality of Larnaka to organise exhibitions for a two-week period,in which non-professional teams, ensembles and artists working with artsbecause of their passion are involved, is considered an important event.
Ordinary people, children, housewives, students and retired people, who find during their free time a creative way to escape from everyday life in songs, dance, music, theatre etc., participate in these artistic and amateur ensembles. The aim is to promote and support these initiatives.
The events organised within this framework are carried out in November.
The Zenonion Free University has operated in Larnaka for more than 22 years. It is organised jointly by the Municipality of Larnaka, the University of Cyprus and the Progressive Movement of Larnaka with the support of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.
This is a series of scientific lectures which are open to the wider public, thus offering a learning opportunity and information about various subjects of general or special interest. Subjects are selected based on strict criteria, with the aim to cover all subjects ranging from social, financial, political, religious, historical and other matters of Larnaka and the wider area, as well as subjects of a more general and global interest on economics, medicine, ecology and other.
The speakers are usually members of the Teaching and Research Staff of the University of Cyprus, as well as members of foreign Universities and qualified experts from different Research Centres, scientific bodies and other organisations.
At the end of each cycle of lectures, the Municipality of Larnaka and the University of Cyprus organise a humble ceremony to award the certificates of attendance to the participants.
The lectures are held at the House of Arts and Letters and are broadcasted in the whole of Cyprus directly on the First Radio Channel of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.
The European Cultural Winter has become an inextricable part of the cultural identity of the Municipality. The decision to establish this event arose after realising that the Municipality could not host large shows during the winter period due to the absence of a large theatre.
Through a series of events which mainly cover the range of all cultural events for the months of November, December, January, February and March, the Municipality resolved the issue of this gap and at the same time gave the opportunity tothe local population and foreign visitors to enjoy these events.
Classical music is considered one of the greatest musical genres. In 1988 the Cultural Services established a custom which would be the means and catalyst to disseminate and lead to the appreciation and love of classical music among the public (in the town of Larnaka and not only).
The Festival includes excellent examples of chamber music concerts, recitals, guitar quartets of renowned artists of the international music scene. In the last years, the events presented by the Municipality of Larnaka within the framework of this festival are of a very high level and comparable to events of other European cities.
The Municipality of Larnaka pays great attention to the traditional orthodox custom of “Tsiknopempti” (Fat Thursday). Cyprus dishes and drinks are offered to citizens and mark the start of the long fasting period of Lent.
On the following days, the carnival parties take place, when people dress up, and the Children’s Carnival Parade is carried out. Groups of people, schools, nursery schools and organised groups of the town participate in the parade.
The most important celebration is the party at the camping site of Tekke for Green Monday. The Municipality offers citizens traditional fasting dishes. The party includes shows, traditional Cypriot games and competitions.
The Flower Festival is a celebration whose main elements are colours and perfumes. The Flower Festival is celebrated during the most beautiful time of the year, which is spring, and in particular in May.
The seafront is flooded in floats decorated by flowers and groups who compete in a parade in front of thousands of people applauding them. The highlight of this impressive celebration is the cultural shows at the Seafront Central Stage.
This is the greatestfolkfestival of Cyprus and possibly the entire Greek world. The Flood or Holy Spiritcelebration, which has its roots in Greek antiquity andis adjusted to the current reality, maintains tradition and becomes a spectacular event in the town of Zeno. The festivalwas preserved in history without interruption throughout the period of foreign rule in Cyprus.
Every year a program of celebrations is prepared. The folklorecontests of Cypriot poems, love songs, the so-called “tsiattista” (oral poetry),the flute, and the “ballos” folk dance originate from the ancient years of Homer. Dance contests are equally important, such as the one of the Cypriot folk dance of “karjilamas” i.e. the “antikristos” (meaning face-to-face), the “syrtos” (which means to drag), the zeibekiko and the “drepani” dance (scythe dance). Dozens of folk poets and artists compete skillfully in poetry, music, dancing and singing. The Flood Festival is perhaps the only celebration in Cyprus attracting such variety of folk artists from all over Cyprus and the only festival in which our authentic folk tradition is presented. Preserving our tradition relies heavily on presenting our traditionaloccupations.
In addition to the above folk contests, it is worth mentioning the children’s song contest and the amateur singers’ contest which are of great interest, as well as other water sports, swimming games, the beach volley games of Cyprus, the chess championship and other. The schedule of the Flood Festival features various other entertainment programs, folk concerts, dance programs, satire and mimicry, revues, magicians, shadow theatre plays and plays for kids. Every year, thousands of artists participate in organising this celebration, as well as hundreds of street shops, and thousands of visitors.
For six days of consecutive events, the entire Cyprus lives the experience of the Flood Festival, in an ambience of joy, celebration and entrainment. Being the organiser of this important celebration, the Municipality of Larnakamakes every possible effort to succeed, always setting as the ultimate aim the preservation and promotion of our folk traditions.
The “tsiattista” contests have become part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. Additionally, three books have been published to date about the “tsiattista”, after a study and research by Dr Nikoletta Demetriou.
The Larnaka Festival is unjustifiably considered to be one of the most successful traditions which were established by the Cultural Services of the Municipality of Larnaka. Reviewing its timeline, the Larnaka Festival slowly startedin 1985, and at the time it lastedonly for a week and was taking place at the Medieval Castle. However, many things have changedsince then. Starting from 1987 the Festival lasts for a whole month and it is decentralised. The Pattichio Municipal Amphitheatre, the Larnaka Marina, the Medieval Castle, the area of the old Aquaduct in “Kamares” and the Ancient Citium are only some of the places where various events of theFestival take place.
Through time, the Larnaka Festival has been transformed into a modern cultural custom which has attracted thousands of fans and is appreciated for the aesthetics and integrity of the cultural events presented every summer.
Unsurpassed artists, important theatre heroes and other important figures participated in the Larnaka Festival and have rendered it a birthplace of culture for the entire Cyprus.
An important moment for the Festival was its award of the EFFE Label 2015-2016 by the Cyprus Centre of the International Theatre Institute. The established Larnaka Municipality Festival received distinctions out of 761 Festivals from 31 countries for being among the top European Festivals for years 2015-2016.
Every year, the Municipality of Larnaka organises the National Celebrations of 25th March 1821, 1st April 1955 and 28th October 1940. Apart from the parades, a General Celebration takes place at the Municipal Theatre of Larnaka on the eve of the Anniversaries. The Celebration takes place at Georghios Lykourgos Municipal Theatre and includes speeches about the anniversary, as well as cultural events. The program usually consists of students from the town or from professional art ensembles and they present musical shows, theatre plays, dance shows and recitations.
Within the context of the International Children’s Day (1st June), the Municipality of Larnaka, in cooperation with the Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children and the Pancyprian Organisation of Large Families, organises events for the children at the Municipal Garden and the seafrontstage. Apart from these events which usually have an educational character while combining entertainment, other sport activities are planned.
Larnaka gives great emphasis on Christmas celebrations.
Christmas events start with the lighting of the town which includes music and dance shows with ensembles from the town and concerts by artists from both Cyprus and abroad. Then Santa Claus arrives, accompanied by a large Christmas parade of ballet schools and dance schools, thus creating a spectacular ambience in the town.
The town centre becomes pedestrian and various types of events are held on different squares, including concerts by Greek and Cypriot artists, dance groups, theatrical plays, exhibitions, games for the children, Santa Claus and other events which create a festive scene.
At the Municipal Theatre of Larnaka, Christmas plays and music and dance shows are presented.
The Larnaka Municipality also contributes to the planning of many Christmas charity events in cooperation with various charity institutions and bodies of the town and in general.
Saint Lazarus Procession
Saint Lazarus is the patron saint of Larnaka and is celebrated majestically by the Municipality. As a reminder of the miracle of the Resurrection on the Saturday of the fifth week of the Pentecost, the procession of Saint Lazarus takes place and the town Authorities and Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra participate. During the procession, the icon of Saint Lazarus is carried around in the streets of Larnaka.
- Procession on Holy Friday (“Epitaphios”)
On Holy Friday which is the day of culmination of the holy tragedy of the Jesus Christ crucifixion, the “Epitaphios” (representing the Tomb of Christ) is decorated and the procession takes place.
In cooperation with the Holy Bishopric of Larnaka, on Holy Friday the Municipality of Larnaka organises the procession of the decorated “Epitaphios” from different parishes of the town, accompanied by the Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra. The Acropolis Square is the point of gathering during the procession.
The Cultural Services of the Municipality of Larnaka manage and are in charge of the smooth operation of all places of the cultural infrastructure of the town. These places include the following:
Larnaka was a pioneer when it founded the Natural HistoryMuseum, which was the first of its kind in Cyprus.
The environment is the foundation of public health and the living standards of citizens and the need for the protection of the natural environment has become more and more critical.
The Museum is a complete centre of study of the Cypriot nature, the flora and fauna.
A large part of the collection of shells of Takis Zampakkides was scientifically ranked in the museum, thus giving the opportunity to scientists in this sector to obtain unlimited information.
With the establishment of the museum, the Cultural Services accepted a long challenge and have contributed to the attempt to sensitise the public about the natural environment. This challenge became an objective and a duty for its preservation, through a collective effort.
- Municipal Conservatory – Building of the Musical Ensembles of the Municipality of Larnaka
The Multipurpose Social Welfare and Employment Space of the Municipality of Larnaka (Community Centre of Larnaka) hosts the Municipal Conservatory which includes the Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vocal Ensemble, the Children’s Choir and the Children’s Philharmonic Orchestra. Within the context of the operation of the above, the service has the obligation to plan, enrich and carry out concerts of the musical ensembles in our town and other towns in Cyprus and abroad.
The Municipal Conservatory of Larnaka started its operation in October 1992. Its establishment set the foundations for the musical scene of the town, thus further promoting the music sector. The Municipal Conservatory of Larnaka is a nursery for the Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra and other local orchestras. It offers young children of Larnaka with the opportunity to have a proper and complete musical education. Results can be observedalready. Many students successfully continue their studies abroad, whereas others work here. Our Conservatory is a leader in the sector, as it specialises in teaching wind instruments, in addition to piano and music theory.
- Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra
In 1987 the Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra was founded, and its conductor was Andreas Andreou. It consisted of around thirty-five members. Nowadays, it includes more than eighty members and it has already recorded a history of successful appearances in Cyprus and various countries abroad. It has been established as an impressive musical ensemble in National and religious events in the town. It has also managed to have such an audience that theatres become overflownevery time there is a show. Joining the Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra is possible free-of-charge for every citizen who wishes to be involved with music.
- Vocal Ensemble
It was founded in 1987 and since then, it has developed a long creative course which includes appearances both in Cyprus and abroad. It is an essential musical cell of the town as the activity of this ensemble covers a wide range of events, such as national and religious celebrations, cooperation with other ensembles and artists, and independent concerts. Nowadays, it includes almost fifty male and female members, under the management of Mr Andreas Gerolemos. Every citizen can join the ensemble, provided that s/he meets the basic musical criteria.
- Children’s Choir
It started its operation in 2012 and gained a momentum which is impressive for both its level and the quality of its concerts. At present the Children’s Choir continues its successful progress through its participation into various events of the town, delivering concerts in collaboration with various other artists, as well as planningstand-alone concerts, under the management of Mrs Loukia Lazarou. Children from the age of six years old up to seventeen years old can participate in this ensemble.
- Children’s Philharmonic Orchestra
The creation of this ensemble is recent as it started its operation in October 2020. Despite the fact that its establishment happenedunder adverse conditions, it has managed within a short period of time to consist of sixty-five young children, covering all categories of instruments, under the management of Mrs Eleni Papadopoulou. The Children’s Philharmonic Orchestra has five teachers-instructors for each family of instruments. Participation of a child is possible after a vacancy is announced depending on the available instruments. A music rehearsal follows which determines the relevant participation into a category of instruments. Attendance and the provision of an instrument is for free by the Municipality of Larnaka. Children are eligible to join between the age of eight and fourteen years old. Subsequently, the child can move to the Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra if they wish.
The five restored,stone-built, colonial-character Warehouses of the Customs Department have been the house of the Municipal Art Gallery of Larnaka since 1995 and are located on Evropis Square. They are integrated in the social web of the town and have a multifaceted contribution to the establishment of the visual arts in Larnaka and Cyprus-wide.
The rooms in which the Municipal Art Gallery is located include mostly works of Cypriot artists. Regular exhibitions are organised, as well as painting and sculpture exhibitions, and transform the heart of Larnaka into a permanent living centre of art.
The Municipal Art Gallery hosts large group or theme exhibitions of people who are established in the arts sector in Cyprus and abroad. An important milestone was the planning of the Larnaka Bienalle of 2018. Great individual and group exhibitions are organised, as well as other events, in cooperation with Art Galleries, Museums and other Cultural Institutions in Cyprus and abroad.
The operation of the Municipal Art Gallery gives the opportunity for continuous change and a chance for the fans of the fine arts to enjoy and admire pieces of art from various movements and styles.
- Permanent Collection of the Municipal Art Gallery
A main element in the operation of the Municipal Art Gallery of Larnaka is the permanent collection of pieces of art. The collection consists in works of Cypriot and other artists and represents the contemporary art creation. Many Cypriot creators have been established internationally in the visual arts sector and have been awarded during international events. The collection includes a large number of works made of oil, watercolours, engravings, sculptures etc.
Among the various activities of the Municipal Art Gallery, educational programs are delivered for children at a pre-school age, and of the primary and secondary education.
The Municipal Art Gallery is an important project for Larnaka and it certainly has a great impact on the development of the cultural life of the town.
The internal yard of the Medieval Castle of the town is the ideal place for cultural events. The beautiful garden is perhaps the most suitable site for these events. The unique atmosphere can inspire any creator and/or spectator.
- Georghios Lykourgos Municipal Theatre
The inauguration of the theatre took place on 16 November 1996 by the President of the House of Representatives at the time. The fact that at that time there was no theatre in the town was the most important limiting factor for the cultural development of the town.
The theatre has a capacity of 400 spectators and features lighting and sound equipment etc. Apart from the events of the Municipality of Larnaka, the theatre is also used for events organised by third parties.
After a decision of the Municipal Council during the term of Andreas Vyras, the Municipal Theatre was renamed into “Georghios Lykourgos Municipal Theatre”.
- Pattichio Municipal Amphitheatre of Larnaka
On 9 July 1990 the Pattichio Municipal Amphitheatre of Larnaka was inaugurated. It was constructed thanks to the donation of the couple of Nikos and Despina Pattichi in the area of the Salt Lake Park. It has a capacity of 2100 spectators.
The Municipal Amphitheatre hosts great cultural events throughout summer. It is designed and constructed according to the standards of ancient Greek theatres, featuring an amphitheatrical shape which is harmoniously integrated in the area of the Larnaka Salt Lake park, set on the fringes of one of its hills.
- Pattichio Municipal Theatre of “Skala”
The building was constructed in 1950 and it was adjacent to the Evriviadio Girls School. It operated as a modern cinema under the name of “Attikon” and had a capacity of 440 places.
Subsequently, it was bought by the Skala Theatre which transformed it into a modern theatre, thanks to the benefaction of Nikos and Despina Pattichi and the Municipality of Larnaka.
After a decision of the Municipal Council during the term of Andreas Vyras, the Municipality of Larnaka took possession of the building and renamed it into the Pattichio Municipal Theatre of Skala. The Skala Theatre continues to be located in this space.
At the time of developing the seafront, a provision was made for the construction of a permanent stage with the necessary equipment to organise events. This construction work was proven important as events are frequently organised in this place, and they contribute to create a lively and cosmopolitan environment in Larnaka, assisting in the promotion of tourism of the town and not only.
The Municipal Historical Archive of Larnaka is located on Zinonos Kitieos street in the building of the former Ottoman Bank. In the same place there is the Foundation of Fivos Stavrides – Larnaka Archives, as well as the Research Centre of the Press and Information Office.
The Historical Archive is open for researchers and has documents, printouts, maps, publications, photographs, sheets, posters, forms etc. Material is added to the archive on a daily basis and it is recorded. The largest part of the archive comes from donations.
The Archive is open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. Entrance is free.
The Municipal Historical Archive Museum of Larnaka is located on Athinon Avenue (Palm Trees Promenade) on the ground floor of the two-floor building of colonial character which was constructed in 1881. On the ground floor, the offices of the Customs Service were located, whereas the first floor was the house of the Head of the Customs Service. The building was reconstructed with a donation of CYP 300,000 by the Foundation of Nikos and Despina Pattichi during the term of Mayor Georghios Lykourgos. It was inaugurated for the first time on 4 June 2003 by Nikos Pattichi and the President of the Republic of Cyprus, late Tassos Papadopoulos during the term of Mayor Andreas Moyseos.
The objective of the Museum is for visitors to know part of the history of the town. The Museum is divided into thematic sections and objects, which are part of the Municipal Historical Archive, are presented. A large part of the collection comes from donations. In the museum, one can find documents, maps, prints, photographs, objects, costumes, posters, tools, machines etc.
The Museum is open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm. Entrance is free.
The building of the Municipal Multipurpose Cultural Centre “Famagusta” in Larnaka is a modern building complex featuring all facilities, such as accessibility, air-conditioning and conference rooms.
It has been configured in a way to offer quality social and cultural events to citizens.
It was conceded to the Municipality of Larnaka by the state after a request by the Municipal Council during the term of Mayor Andreas Vyras.
The Multipurpose Creativity and Culture Space (former Larnaka Club-Mattei House) is located at Zinonos Kitieos street (opposite Pierides Museum – the Cultural Centre of the Bank of Cyprus) and it is the new heart of culture and a quality landmark for tourists. The building is one of the most important buildings in Larnaka and intertwined with the history of the town.
This work enriches to a large degree the cultural capital of the town and particularly the preservation of our folk art, as the Centre of Folk Creativity operates there. Visitors can watch live the production of folk arts and crafts, such as the Lefkara lace, the Athienou lace, the Livadia basket weaving art and other arts which are linked to the cultural heritage of the town and the district of Larnaka. The Cyprus Arts and Crafts Service, the Municipalities of Lefkara, Athienou and LIvadia, as well as the ceramic workshop participate in this Centre. In addition, after the reconstruction of the outdoor yard and garden, occasional exhibitions and small-scale events are organised.