Limassol covers an area of 34.87 km²
Greater Limassol today includes the municipality of Limassol (includes the suburb of Agia Fyla) and the municipalities of Polemidia, Mesa Geitonia, Agios Athanasios, Germasogeia and Ypsonas.
The district of Limassol is bordered by the district of Larnaca in the east, the district of Paphos in the west, the capital; Nicosia in the north, with Akrotiri Bay to the south.
Limassol traditionally had a mixed population of Greek, Turkish Cypriots and Armenian Cypriots. The majority of Turkish Cypriots moved to the north in 1974. Accordingly, many Greek Cypriots from the north of Cyprus, who became refugees following the Turkish invasion, settled down in Limassol. During the 1990s several Cypriot Romani people (considered Turkish Cypriots according to the constitution) returned from the North of the island to the Turkish quarter of Limassol. Armenians remained in Limassol and continued residence in surroundings of Sourp Kevork Armenian Apostolic Church and maintain an elementary school named Nareg (Նարեկ Հայկական Վարժարան). There is also an Armenian village in Limassol District named Armenochori (Greek: Αρμενοχώρι).
Limassol is home to a large community of Pontic Greeks, who settled in Cyprus after the collapse of Soviet Union.
In recent years, the city has also become increasingly popular with Russian or other post-Soviet nationals and expatriates Today, some 3% of the population of Limassol are Russian-speaking, and 2% of the population are Russian citizens. There is a saying that “Limassol has the largest Russian Community outside of Russia”
There are over a hundred educational institutions in the city. Limassol hosts Saint Mary’s school, a Catholic private school open to all religions and races, as well as other private schools, such as The Grammar School Limassol, American Academy, The Heritage Private School and Foley’s Grammar School.
In addition to the various Greek-speaking Elementary schools, Limassol is home to the Limassol Nareg Armenian school.
Furthermore, Limassol is the base of Cyprus University of Technology, which was established in 2004.
Cyprus operates under a multi-party system, with socialist AKEL and right-leaning Democratic Rally in the forefront. Centrist DIKO and lesser parties often form a coalition with the President’s party and are allotted a number of ministries.The first marxist groups in Cyprus formed in Limassol in the early 1920s; in 1926, the Communist party of Cyprus was formed in the city. Its successor, AKEL, has dominated municipal elections, since the first free elections in 1943, won by Ploutis Servas.
Andreas Christou, an AKEL member, was reelected mayor of Limassol in December 2011 to serve his second five-year term.
The development of tourism in Limassol began after 1974 when the Turkish invaders occupied Famagusta and Kyrenia, the principal tourist resorts of Cyprus. Limassol has a lot of beaches, suitable for sunbathing and swimming.
Limassol became the major sea port of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974. Before 1974, that role had been filled by Famagusta which is now located in the Turkish controlled part of the island which is not recognised as a legal port by any country except Turkey.
The town of Limassol is the biggest industrial centre of the province. There are about 350 industrial units with 90 industry wares. These industries concern dressmaking, furniture, shoes, drinks, food, prints, metal industry, electric devices, plastic wares as well as many other different industries.
Limassol is an important trade centre of Cyprus. This is due to the presence of the UK sovereign base at Episkopi and Akrotiri, and to the displacement of the population in Limassol after the Turkish invasion in 1974. The trade markets are gathered in the centre of the town and in the tourist area along the coast that begins from the old harbour and ends in Amathus area. Most of the hotels, restaurants, confectioneries, discos and places of entertainment in general, are to be found in this area.
Limassol has two Ports, commonly referred to as the “old port” and the “new port”. The new port has the greatest commercial and passenger flow of traffic and it is the biggest port in the free part of Cyprus. The old harbour has a breakwater 250 metres long and it is only able to receive three small ships at a time. It is thus normally used by fishing boats. The new harbour is eleven metres deep and has break-waters that are 1300 metres long. It is able to receive about ten ships depending on their size. Exports of grapes, wines, carobs, citrus fruitsand imports of cereals, vehicles, machines, textiles, agricultural medicines, fertilizers, iron etc. are exported and imported through these ports.
Limassol is today the largest ship management service centre in Europe with more than 60 ship management companies located in the city, as due to the Cyprus Shipping tax system (a choice between corporation tax or a tonnage tax system) it makes it very attractive for ship management companies to have their main offices in Limassol. Thus the very popular MARITIME CYPRUS shipping conference which takes place every 2 years, attracting all the largest shipping companies of the world. These ship-management companies currently employee more than 40.000 seafarers. In fact, the Cyprus registry today is ranked as the tenth among international fleets.
Throughout history, the island’s religious communities coexisted and cooperated together without so much as a single religious conflict! On the contrary, the degree of mutual respect and acceptance was such that, in the towns and villages of Cyprus, Christian churches frequently stood next to Muslim mosques. People lived together, side by side, they took part in one another’s celebrations and they shared one another’s joys and sorrows. Most Greek Cypriots belong to the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Cyprus (78%), while most Turkish Cypriots are Muslim (18%).
Other religions represented on the island include the Maronites and the Armenian Apostolic (4%).While the power and wealth of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus is evident from the many lavishing churches that have been built in the last few years, religious observance is varied. In traditional rural villages, women attend religious services more regularly than men, and elderly family members are usually responsible for fulfilling the religious obligations on behalf of the entire family. Church attendance is less frequent in urban areas and among educated Cypriots.
For most Greek Cypriots, religion revolves around rituals at home, adoration of icons, and strict observance of certain festivities marked by the Orthodox calendar. The religious services are long and colorful, with singing, incense, and elaborate vestments according to the occasion for the priest. Statues are not allowed, but the veneration of icons, located on the church’s walls and often covered with offerings of the faithful, is highly developed. Easter is the focal point of the church year, closing the fasting of the Lent season with an Easter eve vigil and procession.
New Year’s Day – 1 January
Epiphany – 6 January
Clean Monday – date variable
Greek Independence Day – 25 March
Cyprus National Day – 1 April
Good Friday – date variable
Holy Saturday – date variable
Easter Sunday – date variable
Easter Monday – date variable
Easter Tuesday – date variable
Labour Day – 1 May
Pentecost Monday – date variable
General Shopping Hours
The winter period runs from November 1 to March 31; most shops are open at the following times:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 09:00-13:00 and 14:30-19:00
Friday: 09:00-13:00 and 14:30-20:00
The summer period runs from April 1 to October 31; most shops are open at the following times:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 09:00-13:00 and 16:00-20:30
Friday: 09:00-13:00 and 14:30-21:30
During high summer from June 15 to August 31, shops in towns may close from 14:00-17:00.
General offices are open in the winter period, September 15 to May 31.
Monday to Friday: 08:00-13:00 and 15:00-18:00
Office hours in the summer period, June 1 to September 14, are:
Monday to Friday 08:00-13:00 and 16:00-19:00
ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) are available 24 hours a day outside most banks in larger towns and tourist centres.
Hair Dressing Salons and Barbershops are closed on Thursdays but are open on Saturdays.
Apollon Limassol and AEL FC are the two major sport clubs in Limassol, which have football, basketball and volleyball teams. In basketball, Apollon and AEL are very powerful teams). In football, both teams Apollon and AEL play in First Division. Aris Limassol is another football team which plays in First Division and like AEL is one of the founding teams of the Cyprus Football Association (KOP). AEL women volleyball teams is the permanent champion of Cyprus. There are also teams in athletics, bowling, cycling and other sports.
The football stadium of Limassol is Tsirion, with capacity of 16 000, which hosts the three football teams of Limassol and in the past it hosted Cyprus national football team. It was used also for athletics. There are various other stadiums for other sports in Limassol. The Apollon Limassol basketball stadium, hosted the 2003 FIBAEurope South Regional Challenge Cup Final Four. The two basketball teams of Limassol participated and AEL became the first Cypriot sport team to win a European Trophy. In 2006, Limassol hosted the FIBA Europe All Star Game in Spyros Kiprianou Sports Centre, as it had the year before.
Also, in the Limassol district the Cyprus Rally was hosted for World Rally Championship and currently is organizing the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Limassol also has an independent civilian Rugby Union team, the Limassol Crusaders, who play at the AEK Achileas Stadium and participate in the Joint Services Rugby League. There is a professional handball team, APEN Agiou Athanasiou. An annual marathon event takes place each year in Limassol the Limassol International Marathon GSO.
Rowing and canoeing are rapidly becoming very popular in Limassol, due to the 3 Nautical clubs in the city of Limassol. The Germasoyia dam is the place for both practising and competitions.
Limassol has generated a few world wide known athletes such as the Olympic silver medalist Pavlos Kontidis (sailing) and the famous tennist player Markos Bagdatis.