Thursday, June 19, 2014

Larnaca Salt Lakes

The Larnaca Salt Lakes are located about 5 km from the city of Larnaca, within the Larnaca district of Cyprus.

Actually, it consists of four connected salt lakes, including Alyki Lake (also known as Aliki Lake), Orphani Lake, Soros Lake, and Spiros Lake (also known as the Airport Lake).  The Spiros Lake was once a part of Orphani Lake, until the Larnaca Airport was built.

According to the brochure provided at the Larnaca Salt Lake: "The lakes of the Larnaca Salt Lake complex are inter-related lakes, which, however, vary significantly among them from an ecological point of view.  These lakes were connected to the sea until recent times.  This is evidenced by Late Bronze Age anchors found in the main Salt Lake and by collections of sea shells found in ancient tombs near the Tekke.  These shells could only have originated in coastal lagoons which were connected to the sea."

The area around the Larnaca Salt Lakes has been inhabited since the Neolithic period.  These lakes once yielded a massive quantity of quality salt, which was collected and utilized until the 1980s.  Today, the salt is considered unfit for consumption.

When it rains during the winter, the Larnaca Salt Lakes are filled with water, yet continues to dry out during the summer and becomes a lake without water.  During the winter months, particularly from December to February, over 80 species of birds, particularly flamingos, migrate to this area.  As a natural habitat for birds, the Larnaca Salt Lakes have become a protected area, as the second largest salt lake in Cyprus.

The Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque, which was featured in a previous blog post, and a picnic site are located nearby.  Also, there's a 4 km nature trail along the Larnaca Salt Lakes, starting at the Kamares Aqueducts.

According to a sign at the trail, "The nature site of the Salt Lake of Larnaka.  The site where the Cypriot Goddess was worshiped in a sanctuary, perhaps as the patron of exploitation of salt, from the 1st millennium to the Roman period, finally under the name of Artemis Paralia.  The sanctuary has not survived.  Visitors are welcome to follow the nature trail and enjoy the scenery of the Salt Lake."
The Larnaca Salt Lakes are worth exploring in the summer or winter.

Site: Larnaca Salt Lakes. 

Category: Nature. 

Location: About 5 km from the city of Larnaca, within the Larnaca district of Cyprus. 

Phone Number: N/A. 

Operating Hours: Daylight hours. 

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2010 and 2011.

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