The Larnaca Tourism Board (Etap) said on Wednesday they have asked permission from the antiquities department to use the town’s medieval castle to host weddings.
The request, for civil marriages, was discussed during a meeting between Etap and director of the Department of Antiquities Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou.
In a written statement, Etap said that its chairman and the mayor of Larnaca argued that such an action would “give a competitive advantage by contributing to the increase in civil marriages” of couples visiting from abroad. They also gave reassurances that there would be strict observance of all regulations for the protection of the monument.
The antiquities department however, has expressed reservations “both for matters concerning existing legislation and for issues of protection of the monuments.”
Etap asked the department to re-examine the issue while setting strict conditions for the protection of the area.
Larnaca attracts many tourists each year that arrive specially to have their civil marriages officiated there.
During the meeting the two sides also discussed delays in the renovation of the Larnaca Archaeological Museum, which remains closed since May 2017, and the issue “of the unique mosaic” on Ayios Neophytos street that depicts the Labours of Hercules and believed to be a bath of the Roman period.
The mosaics were uncovered in Larnaca in 2016 during roadworks.
“According to the antiquities department, the proposal for the expropriation of the abandoned neighbouring residence, the demolition of which will allow excavations to continue to reveal the remainder of the mosaic, has been pending for a year and a half before the department of lands and surveys,” it said.
Etap’s chairman, Dinos Lefkaritis stressed it was imperative to utilise the promotion of the archaeological wealth of the country to benefit tourism and the local economy.