Intercultural city: Limassol, Cyprus
Limassol is the second largest city in Cyprus, with a population of 228.000 (2008). It is also the largest city in geographical size and the biggest municipality on the island with 90.000 inhabitants. The city is located on Akrotiri bay. The district of 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 Limassol Municipality is 34.870.000 square meters or 34.87 square kilometres.
Limassol was built between two ancient cities, Amathus and Kourion, so during Byzantine rule was known as Neapolis (new town). Limassolís tourist strip now runs east along the coast as far as Amathus archaeological site.
Limassol is the largest port in the Mediterranean transit trade. It has also become of the most important tourism, trade and service-providing centers in the area. Limassol is renowned for its long cultural tradition and is home to the Cyprus University of Technology. A wide spectrum of activities and number of museums and archaeological sites are available to the interested visitor. Consequently, Limassol attracts a wide range of tourists mostly during an extended summer season to be accommodated in a wide range of hotels and apartments. A large marina is currently being constructed in Limassol. Limassol is widely known as an important tourist destination and a hub for a numerous offshore companies. It also harbors the biggest port in the Mediterranean transit trade and has historically strong links with the nearby countries such as Lebanon and Israel. The UK sovereign base area of Akrotiri is located just west of the main port and provides a vivid reminder of the colonial past and the strategic importance of the island. Together with the separation of the two main ethnic groups after 1974, these various elements explain to a large extent the specific cultural mix within the city as well as the way in which Limassolians perceive cultural diversity.
The town is also the base for many of the islandís wine companies, serving the wine- growing regions on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains (of which the most famous is Commandaria). The most important one are KEO, LOEL,SODAP and ETKO. The wines and cognacs that are produced by the grapes that grow in the countryside are of excellent quality. They have won several awards in international exhibitions. There is a considerable of consumption of wine products in Cyprus by the locals and the foreign visitors. Big quantities are exported to Europe. A lot of traditional grape products are also produced in the Limassol area.
Limassol town 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, and industry of plastic wares, aluminum as well as other industries.
Of all the cities on the island Limassol is beyond doubt the most cosmopolitan. Its population has more than doubled since the de facto division Cyprus in 1974. Compared to other cities Limassol host the largest group of refugees from the northern part of the island, the largest Russian community and the largest Roma community. For many years, people actually born in Limassol formed a minority of the cityís population.
Limassol 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. Some of the annual activities are the Carnival, the Wine Festival, Contemporary Dance and Folklore Festival, the summer events at the Medieval Castle etc.
During the first week of September, the great Wine Festival of Cyprus is being held. During the festival the visitors have the chance to taste some of the best Cyprus wines, which are offered free of charge. On some evenings, various groups from Cyprus and abroad perform folklore dancing and singing.
Intercultural Cities Index
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Mapping of Intercultural
organisations and issues in Limassol
Interview with Savvas Stouppas, Limassol's Deputy Mayor: The Challenge Of Multiculturalism In Cyprus