History

During the period of the Roman Empire, Lapethos had more than 10,000 inhabitants. It formed one of the four districts of Cyprus. From ancient times, Lapithos became a centre for the processing of copper and more importantly an earthenware centre.

During the proto-Christian period (25 BC - 250 AD) Lapethos experienced a great commercial drive because of the plethora of its produce, but also because of its port and its shipyard. During this period Lapethos was given the name Lambousa, "shining", maybe because of its shining wealth or because of its shining beauty and cleanliness or because of its lighthouse, which shed shining light to the surrounding region.

During the first years of Christianity the apostles Paul, Barnabas and Mark passed by Lapethos coming from Tarsus. According to Apostle Barnabas, Lapethos had city walls. He cites that during his second tour with Apostle Mark, they stayed outside the walls because they were not given access to the city. In late antiquity, Lapethos enjoyed great prosperity in commerce as well as in riches, art and development. Bishop of Lapithos Theodotos (c. 314-324) died a martyr in Kyrenia while Bishop Didymos was represented at the 4th Ecumenical Synod (451) by Saint Eulaleus or Eulampius, whose chapel can still be found near the Acheiropoietos Monastery.

Map showing the ancient city-kingdoms of Cyprus

Lapethos was heavily damaged during the Arab incursions. The population often had to flee and take refuge in the interior.

Upon the liberation of Cyprus from the Arabs after the victorious expedition of Nicephorus Phocas, the Byzantine Emperor - 965 - Lapithos’s refugees returned to their town to rebuild it in a new location, not by the sea, but at the foot of mountain Pentadactylos.

During the Lusignan period. Lapithos boasted a greater population than Limassol, Famagusta or Paphos. It was known under the name Le field de la Pison, believed to be a false etymology for Lapithos. It is known that a few years before the Ottoman Turkish conquest of Cyprus (1571), 3000 troops were stationed at Lapithos under the command of Zanetto Dandolo, who was killed during the defense of Nicosia.
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