The first site of immense interest encountered upon arrival at the Larnaka international airport is the Larnaka salt lake. Its past as a natural habitat of sea life is traced 3 million years BC and fossil life of that age can be found in the surrounding hills. The central salt lake in prehistoric times was a gulf. From 1700 BC it was a secure natural port in the service of the large prehistoric town next to Hala Sultan Tekke, which was abandoned by its population at about 1050 BC. At about the time the gulf was closed, the natural port was destroyed and the central salt lake was formed. As excavations in the area show, this is perhaps one of the first natural ports of Cyprus that facilitated trade between Cyprus and the great civilizations of the area at the birth of international seafaring exchanges. The porphyra - red dies using the juices of the murex-shells, which were in abundance in the gulf and until now in the Larnaka bay, was one of the most important and expensive exports of this prehistoric town and of Kition, the nearby town that succeeded.
Salt was another expensive prehistoric product of the lake, which was heavily exploited through the centuries until just a few years ago. Historians of Hellenistic, Roman, Frankish and Ottoman times report the great quality of this salt and the significant income it generated from exports. But, the most interesting thing about the salt lake today is the migration of birds in winter. These migrants include flamingos, ducks, swans and many other flying species.
Such a rich hunting place did not escape the attention of the ancient inhabitants, who built on the shores of the salt lake one of the most famous temples of Artemis Paralia (Diana of the seafront) goddess of hunting. Hunting is no longer allowed, but watching the birds, walking the interesting pathed surrounds and enjoying the famous red sunsets across the lake are strongly recommended.
In the wider salt lake area covering about 5 square kilometers there are actually 4 lakes of exceptional natural habitat, which are administered by the Committee for the Protection of the Larnaka Salt Lakes, which is authorized under a relative Cyprus Law.
In order to claim this cache we need you to answer a few questions and email them to us through our profile:
1. What was blocked by sediments in the 4th century BC?
2. What type of plants store salt in their roots and leaves?
3. Where does the water in the salt lake come from?
Logs will be deleted if the required answers have not been emailed.
It is not advisable to walk onto the flats even in the height of summer as the baked surface can sometimes give way. It’s not deep, but does make a smelly mess of your footwear!
FTF honours and congratulations to Hackher
16 July 2010