Lar­naca, my kind of town

Just Words...

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - CYPRUS - By Char­lie Char­alam­bous

Peo­ple who live in Lar­naca, know the score when­ever they ven­ture out of the city lim­its and head for the bright lights of, say, Ni­cosia (old money) or Li­mas­sol (new money).

Once out of your com­fort zone, you will be looked down upon as some kind of coun­try bump­kin who has the mis­for­tune to live in a quiet back­wa­ter where time, in­vest­ment and fash­ion for­got.

Lar­naca is like the ugly sis­ter who doesn’t get in­vited to the celebrity wed­ding for fear of em­bar­rass­ing the well-to-do guests or be treated like the coun­try bump­kin who will stut­ter and spill soup down his un­fash­ion­able tie.

For most Cypri­ots and tourists, Lar­naca is that place that passes in a flash of grey as you hurry to the air­port to go some­where ex­otic or in­fin­ity more in­ter­est­ing. In all like­li­hood, if Lar­naca didn’t have an air­port, peo­ple would find lit­tle ex­cuse to visit the town.

Ni­cosia is the cap­i­tal with its movers and shak­ers, so if any­thing hap­pens it’s go­ing to be bro­kered in a glitzy restau­rant, sushi bar or wine cel­lar. It is the place to be if you want to net­work and be­come a power bro­ker banker, lawyer or politi­cian.

Ni­cosia is where deals get done, so the cap­i­tal is never go­ing to lag be­hind in in­fra­struc­ture and in­vest­ment. It ar­guably has the best schools, hos­pi­tals, uni­ver­si­ties and shops to boot.

Then down the coast at Li­mas­sol, the town is glis­ten­ing with Rus­sian wealth, ex­pen­sive man­sions, lux­ury ho­tels, flash mo­tors, ship­ping com­pa­nies, a thriv­ing port and busy ma­rina.

The place smells of money, ex­pec­ta­tion and am­bi­tion. It will not take se­cond best for an an­swer, which is why it will ac­com­mo­date Europe’s big­gest in­te­grated casino re­sort, is tapped into the oil and gas busi­ness en­sur­ing its fu­ture is a blank cheque wait­ing to be signed.

Even the Fa­m­a­gusta dis­trict has that Ayia Napa buzz, the best sandy beaches and tourist dol­lars.

Al­though Paphos might con­sider it­self the is­land’s poor re­la­tion, it can boast some top-class golf cour­ses, worl­drenowned cul­tural her­itage sites and at­tracts for­eign in­vest­ment for peo­ple – like the Chi­nese and Bri­tish ex­pats – who want to make a home on the is­land.

Paphos also has some great ho­tels, an air­port and is quite re­laxed about be­ing a laid­back, sleepy out­post that has its own way of do­ing things.

Rewind to Lar­naca – which isn’t quite sure what it is. Ne­glected over the years as an af­ter­thought – it isn’t re­ally a busi­ness or fi­nan­cial cen­tre like Li­mas­sol and Ni­cosia. It doesn’t have the qual­ity ho­tels or cul­tural sites that Paphos or Ayia Napa can roll out ei­ther.

There is a port but there are no ships in ma­rina but its cramped, di­lap­i­dated and re­de­vel­op­ment.

It is also a hol­i­day re­sort but doesn’t at­tract the kind of num­bers as the other towns, mainly be­cause it lacks qual­ity ho­tels and there’s not much to do on a cul­tural or en­ter­tain­ment level. You can only walk down the prom­e­nade and buy an ice cream so many times be­fore it starts to grind your gears.

a boom­ing econ­omy

driven by it, there is a in need of

Hav­ing said all that, Lar­naca is my kind of town, it just needs a help­ing hand to shine as bright as the other towns.

And the pop­u­lar­ity of the Macken­zie area among the young and trendy show what Laranca can of­fer when it puts on a new Ar­mani out­fit and Gucci shoes.

To be­gin with, the au­thor­i­ties need to get their act to­gether by re­mov­ing those eye-sore oil stor­age tanks that clut­ter up prime coastal ar­eas. There also needs to be move­ment on devel­op­ing the port and the ma­rina to meet 21st cen­tury stan­dards in trade and leisure.

The rusty tankers have been there for too long and the shabby port area is cry­ing out for re­de­vel­op­ment that will em­brace the com­mu­nity and not just the rich and priv­i­leged.

Things have started to change re­cently, with in­vestors show­ing in­ter­est in re­shap­ing the town and the open­ing of the Radis­son Blu is the first lux­ury ho­tel to be built in Lar­naca since ‘Night Fever’ was at num­ber one in the pop charts.

It is a sign that there is in­ter­est in giv­ing the town a new lease of life that makes peo­ple want to visit and stay for a while, rather than go­ing straight to the air­port.

So, see you down at the Salt Lake on any given Sun­day, but leave your snob­bery back at the villa.

Lar­naca - lost in frus­tra­tion?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cyprus

© PressReader. All rights reserved.