NICOSIA, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The Limassol wine festival was off to a merry start as thousands of local people and foreign tourists flocked to the annual event on opening night on Thursday.
Organizers said visitors came from all over Cyprus by special Wine Express busses providing free passage to and from the festival site on Limassol's picturesque sea front.
A record arrival of tourists this summer brought even more visitors to the festival than before, organizers said.
They said they expect over up to 100,000 visitors by the end of the festival on Sept. 10.
The event has been organized for a 56th time by the Town Hall of Limassol, the undisputed city of wine, which located on the south coast of Cyprus, in association with the major wine makers and has the official support of the Cypriot Tourist Organization (CTO).
Commerce and Tourism Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said at the opening ceremony that the Wine Festival is being promoted by CTO as a major attraction of tourists.
Visitors only need to buy and entry ticket at 5 euros, with a wine glass and optionally a wine pot, and then make the rounds to the stands of wine makers to get charged.
They also have the opportunity to buy quality wines at a 20 percent discount.
For locals, the wine festival is an opportunity for a night with the family for dining at low prices, enjoying music and songs and also dancing and theater performances.
Wine making in Cyprus goes back to the start of history and is depicted in a famous Roman mosaic depicting the first men who tasted it.
Limassol became the seat of the four major wine firms more than a century ago. They established their wineries next to the city's port as the product used to be one of the main exports of the eastern Mediterranean island.
Limassol carries the official title "City of Vine and Wine" accorded by the International Office of the Vine and Wine in 1987.
Small scale wine festivals are also been organized by some of the local wineries, but the Limassol event is expected to continue as a strong annual showing for many years to come.