Ayia Napa is known globally for its beautiful beaches and energetic nightlife, and anyone looking for a good time with no stress could do a lot worse than this coastal town.
Generally perceived as the party capital of Cyprus, Ayia Napa often attracts fun-loving people eager to blow off some steam and enjoy everything the resort has to offer, particularly during summer months when tourism is at its peak.
Besides the beaches and nightclubs, Ayia Napa also has a rich and interesting history, from its origins as a small fishing village to the lively holiday destination that we see today.
Originally known as Agia Napa, the town is first mentioned in documents in the 14th Century. Five ships containing stolen Cypriot goods were sunk just off the coast of the region, and accounts of the incident talked about a wooded, green area that was well known with hunters.
Actually, the name ‘Ayia Napa’ comes from the Greek word ‘nape’ meaning ‘wooded valley’, indicating that the place once looked a lot different to the golden, sun-drenched shores that we see today.
During the early 16th Century, the Ayia Napa monastery was built into a cave along the coastline, commemorating the place where an icon of the Virgin Mary was discovered by a local hunter. The figure had been hidden and forgotten about; however, when it was found again, pilgrims began to visit the area to witness the miraculous find.
Eventually, a monastery was built around the cave; these buildings still survive at the present and are well worth a visit. Although the monastery has been regularly visited after the structure was finished, Ayia Napa didn’t get its first residents until the late 18th Century. Multitudes of people fleeing an outbreak of the plague in nearby Thessalonica decided to live in the town, and soon, many houses were built.
As the population grew, several trades began to emerge as the people began to establish an economy and means to survive. Because of the town’s beachside location, fishing became one of the primary trades and soon Ayia Napa had a successful seafood and fishing industry. The Thalassa Museum in the centre of the town displays this heritage much more closely.
The boom in foreign holidays in the 60s and 70s saw a rapid change in Ayia Napa’s character, and soon, the beautiful beaches and weather were attracting plenty of tourists. Nightclubs began to dot all over the town, and it became renowned for its party atmosphere and fantastic entertainment.
Today, Ayia Napa Holidays are perfect for those looking for great nightlife, cool clubs and plenty of beaches. Especially popular with those who love the UK garage and urban scene, the town has often been compared to Ibiza; additionally, the large number of cheap hotels means that the resort is great for those who want to holiday on a budget, making it popular with a younger crowd of holidaymakers.
Ayia Napa is no doubt one of the best places for people looking for fun and plenty of sun this summer but it’s worth remembering that aside from sunbathing, partying and shopping, the town has a rich history with plenty of places to explore should the mood take you.
The monastery and museum are both perfect options for when all that relaxing becomes too much, and the nearby sea caves are great for those who like the active and adventurous life. The resort may have come a long way, but remnants of the old town are still there to be found.