The Resort of Ayia Napa
The locals have a legend about the founding of their city. In the 11th century, after a long pursuit of his prey in the thick forest that used to cover the area, a hunter discovered, accidentally, an icon of Virgin Mary in a cave (probably placed there during the period of iconoclasm 7th-8th century) and named it the “Icon of Virgin Mary of Napes”, or “the Saint of the Woods”. Thus the village got its name Ayia Napa, “Holy Forest”.
The old monastery located in the heart of the village was built in 1500 in honour of the Virgin Mary. However, until the late 18th century no one lived within close vicinity of Ayia Napa. The first inhabitants who settled were twenty fishermen from Thessalonica, fleeing an outbreak of the plaque, and so began the village of Ayia Napa.
Little remains of that forest as the years went by. Ayia Napa was a poor village and people were struggling to make ends meet. The only income came from fishing. After the 1974 Turkish invasion, Ammochostos and the old tourist quarter of Varossi were abandoned pending a settlement of the Cyprus dispute and Ayia Napa, as tourist destination, was born to grow to the most popular tourist resort on the island.
Ayia Napa caters for all ages and offers the better of two worlds:
The all year-round sun, the crystal turquoise blue sea, the awesome white-gold sandy beaches, the narrow cobbled streets, the relaxing coffee shops and restaurants and the gorgeous gardens surrounding the medieval monastery, offer a tranquil side to your holiday.
The notoriously celebrated nightlife of Ayia Napa is bustling with cutting-edge clubs and trendy bars have established Ayia Napa as a buzzing cosmopolitan party paradise.