Cyprus is well known for its severe scarcity of water due to periodic droughts and dry winters. This has been the rule throughout its long history. The city of Larnaca on the south coast of Cyprus is the oldest uninterrupted settlement in Cyprus and one of the oldest cities in the world.
The Larnaca area was first inhabited in the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. The site was selected due to its excellent natural port facilities and because of its proximity to the great civilizations of the Bronze Age. It was certainly not chosen on the premise of availability of water, however important a factor this was for the establishment of early settlements. Soon enough, the early settlements of the 2nd millennium BC in the wider Larnaca region became the first urban centres of Cyprus.
The city was originally known as Alasia (= place of salt), but after the 1st millennium BC it was known as Kition (= grail). In Medieval years it was known as Salines (= Salt Lakes) and only after the 18th century AD did the name Larnaca prevail. The town’s present name derives from the Greek word larnax (= coffin), because of the many ancient coffins found on Kition’s grounds.