Constructed over 500 years ago, the Venetian Watchtowers acted as an early warning system against naval attacks and remain intact in four separate villages within the Larnaka District. This tour will take you to two of these watchtowers in the western area of Larnaka at the villages of Pervolia and Alaminos.
This tour won’t take you too far away from home, just to the surrounding villages to visit some of the Watchtowers of the Larnaka region, which are a significant element of the island’s connection to Venice. Historians believe that this system would have continued across to the Ammochostos region, and perhaps even the whole of Cyprus.
Head through Pervolia and follow the signs for the beach and you will eventually come to the 9th-century lighthouse of Cape Kiti (opposite the E-Hotel), you can park your car here whilst you explore, you may want to pop into the lovely Dipato Art Cafe next door for a quick coffee and gaze at the beautiful view over the ocean before you continue, you could also go down the steps from the cafe and stroll along the beach if you wish.
If you continue along the road towards Larnaka you will see the Rigaina Watchtower (Regina’s Tower) on your right, if you are looking inland. This well-preserved tower is small but graceful, and over its elevated entrance, you can see the crest of St Mark’s Lion, which was the Coat of Arms of the Venetians who built it during their rule of the island.
Built in 1489-1570. It is one of the few surviving towers. An old tradition says that the Tower of Regina had an underground tunnel which was used by Regina when there was an invasion or simply when she wanted to go to the baths in Tersefanou. The Regina it is also said had a golden chariot which according to tradition is still buried in the underground tunnel. Another tradition says that both surrounding green area and its trees must be left untouched as the goddess Aphrodite and watching Rigainis used to bathe in the clear waters of the area near the Tower. This will apparently guarantee the clean waters of sea. On Green Monday in February, the day before Lent, you will see thousands of Cypriots picnicking in this area and flying their kites.
Leaving the Watchtower, you can then carry on towards Meneou Village with the western edge of the Larnaka Salt Lake at your side. Once in Meneou, a left turn will take you back towards Kiti Village. Turning right at the police station island back towards Fig Tree Villa you will come to the beautiful 11th century Byzantine Angeloktisti Church, whose name means ‘built by angels’. The church is very famous for the unique 6th century mosaic of the ‘Virgin and child between two archangels’ it contains.
After visiting the church you may want to have another coffee here in the outdoor cafe, browse the gift shop, stroll in the gardens and look at the fountains or pop over for lunch with George in Tamala Bar/Cafe over the road.
If you’re not ready to go home yet and you want to resume your drive, you can continue along this road towards the villages of Mazotos and Alaminos to the Medieval stone-built watchtower that is located at the entrance of Alaminos.
The fortress is one of the most important historical monuments of the village. It is also called “Koulas” and it was built around the 15th century. It is long, narrow and made of stone. Its height is 8 meters. It was restored some decades ago. It is believed that it was an observation tower of the southeast costs of the island. The access to the fortress was made through subway tunnels which lead down to the sea.
The 15th century chapel of Agios Mamas – which is situated on the southern edge of the village – is also worth a visit if you like churches. The big basilica which is dedicated to Agios Mamas, was built with the contribution of all the inhabitants of the community and it is situated on the east side of the village. It is quite big and its capacity is 500 people.The church is painted with white color. In the big yard stands the tall and bell tower with two giant bells. Inside the church, there are magnificent wall paintings with unique shapes. They are placed in the sanctuary. One of them depicts Panagia Platitera. Next to this there is a wall painting of Adam and Eve. On the right side of the church there is a wall painting of Theodoros Stratilatis and Archangel Daniel. The wooden iconostasis is beautiful and it has many portable icons. Above the icons there is another zone which is more narrow, and includes 12 smaller icons, the Festal Cycle or Dodekaorton. The icon dedicated to Agios Mamas, is on a special case, next to the south door of the church. It depicts the saint sitting on a lion and holding a lamb.
Head south on the main road and you will reach the coastal road for the return drive back to Kiti.