Successor to two city-kingdoms and host to a Royal Wedding in the Middle Ages, contemporary Lemesos stretches along the south coast. Proud of the spontaneous hospitality of its people, its archaeological sites, its mediaeval castles and its merry Carnival and Wine festivals, Lemesos is the island's most important tourist and wine industry center.
Limassol occupies the southern part of the island with an area of 1.388,4 sq km. It is the second most populous town of Cyprus and the island's main port. It is the focus of the wine industry and a booming holiday resort.
It is situated between two of the most important ancient city-kingdoms Amathous and Kourion. Limassol has a large variety of scenery and a large number of cultural attributes. The history of Limassol was undeniably recognized with the arrival of King Richard the Lionheart in Cyprus.
Hotels, restaurants and night spots abound along the beach whilst close by lie the pine-clad southern slopes of Troodos with the picturesque wine producing villages, the idyllic mountain resorts and the picturesque Pitsylia area.
At present Limassol is a resort consisting of a ten mile seashore, an active shopping center and innumerable restaurants, taverns, bars, clubs and cafes.
With free wine, special tasting, Cypriot food and traditional music and dancing, the Limassol wine festival offers a great night out for tourists and Cypriots alike. In fact, the Wine Festival is today's equivalent of the ancient celebrations dedicated to the God of Wine, Dionysus, and to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty.
Limassol Wine Festival was first organized in 1961, one year after the island gained its independence, to offer Cypriots and visitors the opportunity to taste Cypriot wine and enjoy themselves. Since then it has been established as an annual event of festive joy, not just for the town of Limassol but for the whole of Cyprus.
History records that such festivals as this were a tradition of the ancient celebrations in honor of Dionysus. Then the inhabitants of Attica sat at common banquets, offered free by the state, tasted the new wines and took part in dances, songs, poetry reading and drama. During the festivities a number of slaves were set free, while those still in slavery were allowed a spell of entertainment and independence.