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Love lessons in Larnaca

by Paula Manoli-Gray

What with it being the dreaded V word next week, it is hard not to write about Valentine’s Day in some context as there simply is no avoiding the frenzy – even a trip to your local supermarket
will have you face-to-face with ordinary food or drink that has been given a romantic make-over!

You will no doubt have noticed the appearance of heart-shaped pizza and pasta; boxes of seductive chocolates; shiny pink bottles of drink; flowers, underwear, jewellery and cards in places that that don’t normally stock such categories, and just a general overuse (or abuse?) of pink, red and heart and rose motifs.

Personally, I am not one for Valentine’s Day, but it is a nice opportunity to tell family and friends that they are loved. And whilst I don’t agree with the greed and commercialism of it all, I suppose it is not unreasonable for businesses to want to profit from Valentine’s in the way they do at Christmas and Easter.

After all, they couldn’t do so without hungry consumers ready to gobble up the novelty of it all. And if couples do take the decision to dine or drink in establishments with overinflated prices, then, by all means, let the commercial love-fest keep rolling!

But garish tat aside, Larnaca folk are, in fact, lucky, as we get to live in a region that has a reputation for being one of the most romantic – which means that we should be able to feel ‘the love’ every day of the year.

And what is it that makes Larnaca so romantic? You could ask the couples who choose to visit the town for just one day for the sake of marrying here en-masse for a start! Larnaca’s annual mass wedding has taken place since 2010, and during the 2016 ceremony, 50 foreign couples tied the knot simultaneously in one of the island’s largest declarations of love.

When it comes to romantic sunsets, Larnaca salt lake boasts some of the best. Described as ‘ultra red’, these fiery beauties are believed to be connected to the love-related history of the Greek, Semetic and Roman Goddesses Artemis-Diana and Aphrodite-Astarte, who were worshiped at their sanctuary at the lake in ancient times.

Further still, at the archaeological site of Kition – Kathari you can explore the links of the ancient city of Kition with the Goddess Kyprida-Aphrodite, whilst ancient fertility symbols and other artefacts that relate to love and marriage, including idols of Cupid, can be found at a local, private museum.

So, even if you have nothing to celebrate this Valentine’s Day, or don’t bother either way, it doesn’t really matter… because the Larnaca love is always there, and you can’t escape it!

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