Limassol, Cyprus » City Info » History

Limassol (Lemesos) is positioned between two of the most important historic city-kingdoms, Amathus to the east and Kourion to the west, both of which are being extensively excavated. In 1911, the city-kingdom Amathus was destroyed by King Richard the Lionheart and through its downfall led the formation of Limassol.

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. During 1192, the island was sold to the Templars, rich monks and soldiers, but their knights began to collect high taxes to make a return from 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 during the period of 1192-1489. It experienced several attacks and influences of Germany, Egypt, Ottoman and Turkey. During the years 1754-1821, since the Turkish domination did not contribute to any development, the church acted as an educational base. They taught Greek history, Turkish and French.

The following schools were established in the city of Limassol: The Greek School - 1819, The Public school - 1841, The Girls’ School - 1861.

In 1878, the British occupied Cyprus and they began various development plans in Limassol. The first British governor of Limassol, Colonel Warren carried out many improvements in the structure of the city: Roads were cleaned and fixed, trees were planted, docks were constructed for the loading and unloading of ships, and lanterns were installed for lighting in main roads etc. Furthermore, job opportunities were created with the development of the port and industrial sectors.

The tourism in Limassol began just after 1974 when the Turkish army illegally occupied the northern part of Cyprus. At the time, Famagusta was the most commercially advanced city, being the main tourist area of Cyprus, with luxurious hotels, restaurants and entertainment areas etc.

Thus, after the invasion of Famagusta and other towns, the port in Limassol became the central port of Cyprus. Today, the city is the home for several industrial units as well as being a popular tourist destination.