Limassol, Cyprus » City Info » History

Limassol (Lemesos) was positioned between two ancient cities, Amathus to the east and Kourion to the west; both were extensively excavated. In 1911, Amathus was destroyed by King Richard the Lionheart, and then Limassol was built.

According to the Synod (451 BC), the bishop of Theodossiani Sotir, along with the bishops of Amathus and Arsinoe, were part of the initial development of Limassol. The city was known as Neapolis around the 7th century, and in the 10th century, Constantine V11 Porphrougenitus (the son of the Byzantine emperor Leo VI) had referred to Limassol as 'Nemesos'.

In 1191 A.D., the Byzantine domination of Cyprus came to an end. In 1192, the island was sold to the Templars, rich monks and soldiers, but their knights began to collect high taxes to get back the money given for the purchase of Cyprus. This was not welcomed by the Cypriots, demanding the King to abolish the bond of the promise, which King Richard accepted. Cyprus then came under the rule of the Frankish Dynasty, the Lusignan kings of the medieval Cypriot kingdom.

The city of Limassol flourished from 1192 to 1489. It experienced several attacks and influences of Germany, Egypt, Ottoman and Turkey. During 1754 and 1821, the church acted as an educational base. They taught Greek history, Turkish and French.

The following schools were established in Limassol:

  • The Greek School - 1819
  • The Public school - 1841
  • The Girls' School - 1861
  • In 1878, the British occupied Cyprus, and they developed and improved the infrastructure and roads in Limassol. Roads were cleaned and fixed, trees were planted, docks were constructed for loading and unloading ships, lanterns were installed for lighting in main roads. Furthermore, job opportunities were created with the development of the port and industrial sectors. In 1912, old lanterns were replaced by electrical poles and lamps.

    Tourism in Limassol began after 1974 when Cyprus's popular tourist resorts Kyrenia and Famagusta, were occupied by Turkey. Thus, the port in Limassol became the central seaport of Cyprus. At the end of the 19th century, the first hotel in Limassol began to operate.