The famous tourist resort, with its golden beaches and positive vibes is a mosaic of flavours, music and cultural references that are a testimony to its long and rich history and traditions.
Ayia Napa means Holy Forest and the name of the area came from the icon of Panayia tis Napis (Virgin Mary of Napis) found in its medieval monastery. The image was found hidden in a cave and is supposed to have been placed there to be saved during the Iconoclasm. The first signs of human life in the area date back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In modern times, the first inhabitants of Ayia Napa arrived at the end of the 17th century from Thessaloniki, in order to escape the plague epidemic that struck their city. In the following centuries and until modern years, Ayia Napa was a picturesque fishing village with few inhabitants. The Turkish invasion in 1974 and the occupation of Famagusta, which was the first and foremost tourist resort of the island, changed the given. Investments eventually returned to Ayia Napa and from 1980 onwards, its massive and rapid tourist development began.
Ayia Napa Monastery
International Festival: It takes place every year during the last week of September, in the square around the historic Monastery and is the most popular event in Ayia Napa. The aim of its festive events is to highlight the historical, cultural and agricultural traditions of the region through theatrical performances, concerts, traditional dances, painting exhibitions and photographs as well as products and delicacies. Kiosks are also set up and displays showcase traditional folk art, such as wood carving, silversmithing, glazing, silk weaving, leather goods, basket weaving, pottery, etc.
Medieval Festival: One of the biggest medieval festivals in the Mediterranean, the Medieval Festival takes place in Ayia Napa every year. It starts on the second Saturday in October and lasts for eight days within a fairytale atmosphere, with shows, stilt walkers and artists dressed in medieval costumes, bands and dancers from all over Europe. Truly amazing!
Kataklysmos (The Floods): It is the feast of Pentecost for the Orthodox Church and is always celebrated 50 days after Easter.
Sculpture Symposium: Artists from all over the world come to the Sculpture Park of Ayia Napa to create their sculptures which enrich the existing collection.
Summer Cultural: Pentagram Music-dance performances, tributes, exhibitions and arts and crafts are organised on a weekly basis. (May-September).
Analambes: Every Friday Cypriot tradition is revived in the neighbourhoods of Ayia Napa, with the established “Analambes”. (May-September).
Cultural Winter/ Winter: Walks Musical, dance and theatrical performances that draw their themes from Cypriot tradition. (November-May).
Easter Events: On the evening of Good Friday, the procession of the Epitaph takes place in the streets of the city, while on the evening of Holy Saturday, before the Resurrection Liturgy, a large fire (Lambratzia) is lit in the churchyard to burn a statue of Judas. On Easter Sunday and Monday, various festive events are organised by the Municipality, in the central Square.
Despite residential development, there are still agricultural areas that grow mainly potatoes and early vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes.
- See the first sunrise and sunset of Europe from Cape Greco. The experience is enchanting.
- Walk on the beautiful sidewalks by the sea.
- One of the ‘instagramable’ places of Ayia Napa is the Sculpture Park at sunset.
- Visit the new hot spot of the Mediterranean, the Ayia Napa Marina and its amazing restaurants.
- Take a walk at the Ayia Napa harbour at night. The spectacle is enchanting.
- Enjoy Cypriot dishes, fresh fish and international flavours in the hundreds of restaurants in the area.
- Swim at Nissi Beach, Europe’s 4th best beach according to Trip Advisor.
- Go to the Medieval Festival on the second Saturday in October and live a fairy-tale experience you will remember.
AYIA NAPA MUNICIPALITY POPULATION: 3,212 (2011 CENSUS)
MAYOR: CHRISTOS ZANNETTOU