Consortium of Partners

Limassol Description

 

Lemesos is the second biggest town of Cyprus and the biggest Municipality indeed, while, after the tragic events of the Turkish invasion occurred in 1974, it has become one of the greatest Mediterranean harbours for the transhipment of goods. Therefore, Lemesos has ever since developed rapidly and is actually one of the most important maritime, commercial, tourism and service centres in the area.

Lemesos is also known for its long tradition in cultural issues. It gives the possibility to the visitors to attend a great number of activities and visit many museums and archaeological sites, which they are interested in so far and it combines, in a unique way, ancient, Frank, Byzantine and other modern historic influences.

The district of Lemesos (Limassol) which covers the south part of Cyprus, borders with the district of Larnaca in the east, with the district of Paphos in the west, as well as with the capital Nicosia in the north. The stretch of land which is included in the boundaries of Lemesos Municipality is 34.870.000 sqyare meters or 34.87 square kilometers.

The limited water resources of the countryside and the continuously increasing need for irrigation, industrial and touring aims, lead to the building of the dams in order to increase the water reserves.

The bigger ones among the dams are the dams of Kourris which has a capacity of 115,000,000 m3, the Yermasoyia dam which has a capacity of 13,600,000 m3 and the dam of Polemidia with a capacity of 3.864,000 m3. The dynamic of the dams of the province is about 135,000,000 m3.

The dams are of great importance to Lemesos (Limassol). Sufficient agricultural areas are watered in the summer time when the rain is limited.

The climate of Lemesos (Limassol) is warm and dry in the summer and mild in the winter it is a marvelous Mediterranean climate. In the summer the temperature during daytime fluctuates between 22.00 Celsius degrees and 38.00 and in winter between -1,0 and 180 Celsius degrees, according to the altitude of the area. The temperature of the sea water, is about 15.500 Celsius degrees in winter and 24.500 in August and September. These temperatures allow swimming throughout the year.

Vegetation

The hilly and mountainous areas of the countryside of Lemesos (Limassol) are rich in vegetation. The main kinds are the Pinus Brutia, the Pinus Nigra and a kind of cypress tree known as «Juniperus oxycedrus» which grows at an altitude of about 1200 - 1500 meters. The plane trees and the aldez grow in the valleys of Troodos while a kind of oak tree named «latzia» and the «trimithia» grow on the slopes of the hills. The most frequent kinds are the wild roses. the thyme and the lentisk (bush).

Occupations of the inhabitants

The inhabitants of the rural area of Lemesos (Limassol) ore occupied with agriculture, stock breeding, fishing, tourism and industry - handicraft.

Agriculture

The main cultivations include citrus trees, other fruit trees such as cherry trees, pear trees, peach trees, plum trees, fig trees, apricot trees, pomegranate trees, avocado trees, kiwis and banana trees, vineyards, olive trees, almond trees, walnut trees, trees, vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, melons, water-melons, carrots, beetroots, cucumbers, pulses such as legumes, beans, broad beans, chickpeas, lentils, cereals such as wheat, barley, oats.

Stock breeding: Breeding sheep, goats. pigs, cattle and poultry.

Fishing

The great length (80 kilometers) of the coasts of the province of Lemesos (Limassol) has contributed to the development of fishery. Both in the town of Lemesos (Limassol) and in Avdimou village there are fishery refuge places. Quite a big number of theinhabitants of Lemesos (Limassol) are occupied with fishing.

Tourism

The development of tourism in Lemesos (Limassol) began after 1974 when the Turks invaders occupied Famagusta and Kyrenia, the basic tourist areas of Cyprus. Lemesos (Limassol) has some very good beaches, rich in sand and suitable for sunbathing and swimming. The most important of these are Episkopi,Pissouri, Akrotiri, Amathus and the Lady’s Mile beach. A bathing beach with all the necessary facilities, provided by the «Cyprus Organization of Tourism» (COT), is operatingin the town of Lemesos (Limassol), in «Dasoudi» area.
During the summer months there is a distinctive popularity for the hotels of the summer resorts. The most important of these resorts are Platres, Troodos, Prodromos, AgrosPera-Pedhiand omodos.

Industry

Lemesos (Limassol) is known for its wine factories. The most important ones are KEO, LOEL, SODAP and ETKO. The wines and cognacs (brandies) that are produced by the grapes that growin the countryside, are of excellent quality. They have won several awards in international exhibitions. There is a considerable consumption of wine products in Cyprus by the locals and the foreign visitors. Big quantities are exported to Europe. The KEO factory also produces an excellent kind of beer.
The town of Lemesos (Limassol) is the biggest industrial center of the province. There are about 350 industrial units with 90 industry wares. These industries concern dressmaking, furniture, shoes, drinks, food, prints, metal industry, electric devices, plastic wares as well as many other different industries.

Commerce

Lemesos (Limassol) is an important trade center of Cyprus. This is due to the presence of the British bases at Episkopi and Akrotiri, and to the displacement of the population in Lemesos (Limassol) after the Turkish invasion in 1974. The trade markets are gathered in the center of the town and in the tourist area along the coast that begins from the old harbor and ends in Amathus area. Most of the hotels, restaurants, confectioneries, discos and places of entertainment in general, are to be found in this area.

Harbor facilities

Lemesos (Limassol) has two ports. The old port and the new port. The new port has thegreatest commercial and passenger flow of traffic and it is the biggest port in the free part of Cyprus. The old harbor has a breakwater 250 meters long and it is able to receive only three small ships. It is thus normally used by small fishing boats. The new harbor is 11 meters deep and has break-waters that are 1.300 meters long. This one is able to receive about 10 ships depending on their size.
Exports of grapes, wines, carobs, citrusfruits and imports of cereals, vehicles, machines, textiles, agricultural medicines,fertilizers, iron etc. are exported and imported through these ports.

History of Limassol

The town of Lemesos (Limassol) is situated between the ancient towns of Amathus and Curium. The English King Richard the Lionheart destroyed Amathus in 1191. Lemesos (Limassol) was probably built after Amathus had been ruined. However, the town of Lemesos (Limassol) was inhabited since the very old times. Graves that were found there date back to 2.000 B.C. and others date back to the 8th and 4th century B.C. These few remains that were left behind show that a small colonization must have existed which did not manage to develop and flourish.

The ancient writers mention nothing about the foundation of the town.

According to the Synod which took place in 451 B.C.; the bishop of Theodossiani Sotir as well as the bishops of Amathus and Arsinoe were involved in the foundation. Theodossiani is regarded the same as Lemesos (Limassol) was known later as Neapolis. The records of the 7th Synod (787) refer to it as the bishop’s see. The town was known as Nemesos in the 10th century. Constantine Porfyrogennitos refers to the town by this name.

The history of Lemesos (Limassol) is largely known by the events of 1191 A.D. that put an end to the Byzantine dominion of Cyprus. The king of England, Richard the Lionheart, was travelling to the Holy Land in 1191. His fiancιe Berengaria and his sister loanna, (Queen of Sicily), were also travelling on a different ship. Because of a storm, the ship with the queens arrived in Lemesos (Limassol). Isaac Comnenus, the Byzantine governor of Cyprus, was heartless and cruel, and hated the Latins very much. He did not allow the queens to get off the ship and did not even help them. When Richard arrived in Lemesos (Limassol) and met Isaac Comnenus, he asked him to contribute to the crusade for the liberation of the Holy Land. While at the beginning Isaac had accepted, he later on refused to give any help.

Richard then chased him and beat him. Cyprus was therefore taken over by the British. Richard celebrated his marriage with Berengaria who had received the crown as queen of England in Cyprus. So, the Byzantine dominion in Cyprus came to an end.

Richard destroyed Amathus and the inhabitants were transferred to Lemesos (Limassol). A year later, in 1192 A.D. Cyprus was sold to the Templars, rich monks and soldiers whose aim was the protection of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The knights enforced high taxes,in order to put back the money that had been given for the purchase of Cyprus. This led to the revolt of the Cypriots. They demanded that they should get rid of the bond of the promise. Richard accepted their request and a new purchaser was found: Guy de Lusignan, a Frank, a Roman Catholic. Cyprus was thus handed over to the Frankish Dynasty of the Lusignan kings of the medieval Cypriot kingdom.

For a period of about three centuries 1192-1489, Lemesos (Limassol) enjoyed aremarkable prosperity. Cyprus was characterized by its great number of Latin bishops. This lasted until the occupation of Cyprus by the Turks in 1570 A.D. Latin battalions which established monasteries were settled down there.

The settling down of merchants in Cyprus and particularly in Lemesos (Limassol) in the 13th century led to the financial welfare of its inhabitants. Its harbor as a center of transportation and commerce, contributed greatly to the financial and cultural development.

The King of Germany, Frederick II, urged by the Templars of Cyprus who were enemies of Ibelen, arrived in Lemesos (Limassol) and took over in the town in 1228. He then called John Ibelen to come beforehim, in order to discuss the plans against the Muslims. John Ibelen came before him accompanied by the under-aged King Eric and all the Templars of Cyprus. When Ibelen refused to cooperate, Frederick had no choice but to let him go. The German King took over in Lemesos (Limassol) and in other towns. He appointed his own governors but he finally left Cyprus. The forces of Frederick were finally beaten in the battle of 1229, which took place in Agirta, a village in the Kyrenia area, between the forces ofFrederick and the troops of the Franks, which were led by John Ibelen. The outcome of the battle meant the beginning of the freedom of Cyprusfrom the Germans.

Lemesos (Limassol) witnessed the attacks of the Mamelukes of Egypt. The harbor of Lemesos (Limassol) had become a refuge for the pirates who were ravaging the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and were stealing the products of the Mohammedans. The lords were getting richer and richer because of the money that wasgiven to them for their assistance to the pirates. Thus, a military force arrived in Lemesos (Limassol) in 1424, sent by the Mamelukes of Egypt. The Mamelukes devastated and burned Lemesos (Limassol). A year later, they invaded Cyprus again, this time with greater forces. They plundered Famagusta and Larnaca, and then arrived in Lemesos (Limassol) where without any difficulty they occupied the Castle, burned many places, plundered others and then returned to Cairo. The Mamelukes caused even greater destruction in Lemesos (Limassol) and other places in 1426. Janus, the king of Cyprus, was defeated by them in Chirokitia and was sentback to Cairo as a prisoner.

Cyprus was sold in 1489 A.D. to the town of Venice by the Cypriot Queen Catherine Cornaro. The Venetians were not interested in Cyprus. They were only interested in receiving the taxes and in exploiting the country’s sources. They destroyed the Castle of Lemesos (Limassol) in 1539.

Travelers who visited Cyprus in the 16th century commented on the poor condition of the local population in the towns of Cyprus.

All the inhabitants of Cyprus were enslaved by the Venetians, and were obliged to pay a tribute of 1/3 of their income, whether this was part of their products of the land, e.g. wheat, wine, oil, or animals or of any other product.

The Turks invaded Cyprus in 1570-1571 and occupied it. Lemesos (Limassol) was conqueredin July 1570 without any resistance. The Turks devastated and burned it. Descriptions of different visitors inform us that the town of Lemesos (Limassol) looked like a village with a considerablenumber of inhabitants. The Christians used to live in small houses of such low height, that one had to bend in order to enter the house. This was deliberately chosen in order to prevent the Turks from riding a horse, to enter the houses.

During the years of the Turkish domination, Cyprus faced a general decline. The Turks did not contribute to any development. Greeks and Turks used to live in distinct neighborhoods.During the years of the Turkish domination, the intellectual standard of the Cypriots had declined. The lack of interest on the part of conquerors, the oppression and the high taxation were restraining factors for the intellectual development of the children. The church playedan important role in the education of the country during the years 1754-1821. During those years new schools were set up in all the towns. Greek intellectuals used to teach Greek history, Turkish and French. The following schools operated in the town of Lemesos (Limassol):

  • The Greek School which was established in 1819
  • The first public school which was established in 1841
  • The Girls’ School which was established in 1861

The British took over in Cyprus in 1878. The first British governor of Lemesos (Limassol) was Colonel Warren. He showed a particular interest in Lemesos (Limassol) and even from the very first days the condition of the town showed an improvement. The roads were cleaned, the animals were removed from the center, roads were fixed, trees were planted and docks were constructed for the loading andunloading of those ships that were embarked away from the shore. Lanterns for the lighting of the central areas were also installed inthe I880. In 1912, electricity finally replaced the old lanterns.

From the very first years of the British occupation, a post office, a telegraph office and a hospital began to operate. In 1880 the first printing pressstarted working. It was in this printing press that the newspapers «Alithia» and «Anagennisis» were published in 1897. The newspaper «Salpinx» was published at the same time.

At the end of the 19th centurythe very first hotels began to operate. Among these were «Europe» and «Amathus».

These changes that the British brought about contributed to the development of an intellectual and artistic life.
Schools, theaters, clubs, art galleries, music halls, sport societies, football clubs etc. were all set up and meant a great deal to the cultural life of Lemesos (Limassol).

The rise of the population birth rate during the late 19th and 20th c. (1878-1960) was 70%. The number of inhabitants was 6.131 in 1881, while in 1960 the number had risen to 43.593. The number of the Greek population was estimated at 37.478,while the Turkish population at 6.115.

Job opportunities concerned the wine and ceramic industries, as well as the commerce and tourism developed by the port.

The Turkish-Cypriotinhabitants of Lemesos (Limassol) were transferred to the north of Cyprus in 1975 because of the Turkish invasion in Cyprus in 1974. Accordingly, many Greek-Cypriots who became refugees after they had fled from the north of Cyprus settled down in Lemesos (Limassol).

When Famagusta, one of the most important tourist areas of Cyprus was occupied by the Turkish troops, Lemesos (Limassol) rapidly expanded. Luxury hotels, restaurants and numerous places of entertainment were built, so that the town soon became a center of commerce.

 

Limassol’s past experience with regards to the project 

All the municipalities taking part in the project are very experienced in the field of dependent people and the Enforcement of the European Roadmap for Gender Equality. More specifically Limassol Municipality works closely with 20 non-profit, voluntary organisations at local level that are involved in activities to support  dependent people like deaf children, children with special needs, elderly people and children in general. All these organisations have participated in the events that have been organised among the other cities/partners. Moreover a number of events were organised by the Municipality of Limassol in the past 3 years in relation to the Gender Equality issue. More details are shown bellow:

 

  • In September 2008 a workshop was organised entitled Enforcement of the European Roadmap on Gender Equality in local communities and relevant action plan” Distinguished guests from governmental and non-profit organisations were invited to speak at the event and share their experience on this topic.
  • In June 2009 an event was organised for children entitled “A better world for Children”. Children with special needs and children with no needs played together participated in fun activities like drawing, recycling, theatre play, music and dancing.  The aim of this event was to bring these groups of children closer, to help them communicate in a better way thus make them more tolerant and sociable.