Limassol (Lemesos) is the second biggest town of Cyprus and the biggest Municipality. After the Turkish invasion, and the occupation of the northern part of the island, which took place in 1974, it has become one of the greatest Mediterranean harbours for the transshipment of goods. Therefore, Limassol has ever since developed rapidly and is actually one of the most important maritime, commercial, tourism and service centres in the area.
Limassol is also known for its long tradition in cultural issues. It gives the possibility to visitors to attend a great number of activities and visit many museums and archaeological sites, which are of great interest and which combine, in a unique way, Ancient, Frank, Byzantine and other, modern historic influences.
Internal migration since the 1960s and influx of displaced persons after the 1974 events significantly increased the population of Limassol and its suburbs. More recently, various world events have sent numerous groups of people in Limassol searching for relocation opportunities. The accession of Cyprus to the European Union in 2004 has brought about even more changes in the demographic character of Limassol.
Limassol has had a multilingual and multicultural character since ancient times. This, however, is now more evident than ever before and it is reflected in all aspects of life.
For historical reasons, the most commonly spoken languages in Cyprus in general are Greek by Greek-Cypriots since ancient times, and Turkish by Turkish-Cypriots since the Ottoman Era (1571-1878). Other languages and cultures also left their mark on Cyprus: French was used during medieval times (1192-1489), and Italian during the Venetian Rule (1489-1571). Assyrians, Persians, Arabs and others also spent some time in Cyprus during different times for various reasons and left their linguistic and cultural mark on the island. English is widely spoken as Cyprus was a British Colony from 1878 until 1960, when it gained its independence. Also, German, Russian, Italian and French are very common in the island's tourist industry, in economy and in other spheres of life. All these languages and cultures have enriched the linguistic and cultural mosaic of Cyprus through the centuries.
Due to the geographic location of Limassol, people from all over the world call Limassol their home. In recent years, other languages like Russian, Arabic, Indian, or Vietnamese are also heard in the street and a mixture of cultures is evident in everyday or cultural and intercultural events.
Although the majority of Limassolians are Greek-speaking, multilingual Limassol is now a reality more than ever! This has brought about new conditions, situations and needs which must be addressed so as to create a place where diverse communities coexist peacefully and harmoniously.