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North Cyprus Guide

Main Cities in North Cyprus

Nicosia, alternatively known as Lefkosa is the capital city of North Cyprus. Kyrenia, also known as Girne is the probably the most well known of the towns in North Cyprus is located on the Northern Shores of the island. Famagusta is located to the east of the island and hosts the islands working Port. Both Lefke and Morphou are agriculture cities, where most of the Citrus fruits and vegetables are grown for local consumption and export.

Places of interest to visit: North Cyprus has an abundance of historical and interesting places to visit.

Nicosia / Lefkosa

Sarayönü Square: Once upon a time, Saratönü (Atatürk Square) was a political centre in Cyprus for centuries. There is a Venetian Column in the centre of the square crowned by the lion of St. Mark. The British re-erected it during World War 1 while they were fighting the Ottoman Empire.

Selimiye Mosque (St. Sophia Cathedral): This mosque was a cathedral that is an ancient church built by St. Sophia in the period 1209 A.D to 1228. This church was damaged in the earthquakes in 1491, 1547 and 1735, but it still remains standing today, although it is now used as a mosque and all Bayram Festivals and prayers to Islam are celebrated within this mosque.

Arabahmet District: The Arabahmaet Quarter is one of the parts of the original city walls of North Cyprus which is still preserved today and its charming beauty and history is left for all to see.

Arabahmet Mosque: This mosque is really worthy of a visit because of the excellent architecture.

Dervish Pasha Mansion: The Mansion of Ahmet Dervish Pasha is a traditional mansion, located in the street of Belig Pasha Street. The mansion houses the island’s richest collection of Ottoman artefacts. The Dervish Pasha Mansion is one of the treasures of the island and is an ethnographical museum. Ahmet Dervish Pasha, whose name the mansion is named after, was a leading figure of the Cypriot community. The mansion displays Ottoman domestic architecture with its whitewashed walls, plain yellow stone arches, terracotta-tiled roof and blue-stained woodwork. The mansion takes the shape of an L.

Haydar Pasha Mosque: Haydar Pasha Mosque was built as St. Catherine’s Church in, but later it was converted to a Mosque in the Ottoman period.

Kyrenia Gate: Kyrenia Gate is one of the three entrances to the city built by the Venetians. Kyrenia Gate has had some changes made to it over the centuries.

Mevlevi Tekke (Museum of Whirling Dervishes): This museum is close to the Kyrenia Gate and is located in the main street towards Atatürk Square. Muslim ceremonial dances were performed in this building. This regular function was continued for over a hundred years, but the place on which the dancing was originally performed has now been preserved.

Betestan: The Betestan is a Greek church built in the Byzantine period and it has a mediaeval styles. It was constructed in the 12th century. The Betestan has also undergone changes and it still shows signs of the effects of earthquakes centuries ago. The Betstan was used as a depot and market where textile products were sold.

Sultan Ahmet II Library: Sultan Ahmet II Library was built by Sultan Ahmet II in the early years of 19th century and its architecture reflects Islam.

Lapidary Museum: Lapidary Museum was built a few yards from the Selimiye Mosque and the most important thing about this building is that it was constructed using demolition stones of other ancient buildings.

Great Inn (Büyük Han): The Great Inn is a 16th century building and it is located in Asmaalti Street. The British used this inn as a Nicosia Central Prison in their old colonial days.

Glambers’ Inn: Glambers’ Inn is located only a few hundreds metres north of the Great Inn and it dates back to about 1570AD. It now houses shops and coffee bars.

Famagusta

• The walls of the old cities still remain standing
• Othello Tower and Citadel
• Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque
• Namik Kemal Dungeon and Museum
• Enkomi Ruins
• Venetian Palace
• Canbulat Shrine
• The Akkule Mosque
• St. Barnabas Monastery and Museum

Salamis Roman Ruins, date back to 100BC, these ruins represent Northern Cyprus most impressive historical site. The best preserved remains are the gymnasium, baths, and the spectacular amphitheatre, which is one of the largest in the whole of the Mediterranean.

Kyrenia / Girne

Kyrenia Castle and the Shipwrecked Museum founded by the Byzantines in the 10th Century, this huge castle with its thick walls and massive bastions, dominates the harbour of Kyrenia. It also houses a museum with the remains of one of the world’s oldest shipwrecks.

Kyrenia Harbour, with its beautiful wall protecting the whole of the harbour.

St. Hilarion Castle is a spectacular fairytale castle and has been well preserved, it is a wild dramatic maze of fortifications, it was built around 1100AD and was conquered by Richard the Lionheart in 1191AD. Besides its enchanting historical background, the wonderful views from St Hilarion Castle are second to none and should not be missed.

Bellapais Abbey, here you can sit under Durrell’s Tree of Idleness and watch the world go by. The Abbey was founded by the Augustine Monks around 1250AD and represents some of the finest Medieval Gothic Architecture in the Eastern Mediterranean. The sleepy village of Bellapais was home to Lawrence Durrell and has been immortalized in his classic novel ‘Bitter

Kantara Castle – Kantara stands at the gateway of the Karpaz Peninsula. Although only 1900ft above sea level in the mountains, it affords marvellous views of both the Northern and Southern coastlines.

Mosiac Pilgrims Sandals – It is said if you put your feet on the Pilgrims sandals you will return to North Cyprus in your lifetime

Buffavento Castle – Buffavento is the highest of the three crusader castles found in North Cyprus. It is situated 2500ft above sea level in the mountains, a system of flares linked the castle by night to St Hilarion and Kantara.

• Folk Art Museum
• Kyrenia Archangelos Icon Museum
• Cafer Pasher Mosque
• Omer Dervish Lodge
• Lambousa Kings Tombs
• Peace and Freedom Museum

Morphou

• Güzelyurt Museum
• St. Mamas Monastery

Lefke

• Soli Roman Theatre
• Vauni Palace: It was built by the Persian Kings, Doxandros
• Blue House (Mavi Kösk)

Karpaz is located to the far east of the Island and is more commonly known as the pan handle. Some of the most beautiful beaches are located on this stretch of coast and it is most definitely worthy of a visit even though it can take up to 2 hours to drive there from Kyrenia.

North Cyprus is proud of the crystal clear beaches that you can not find anywhere else in the Mediterranean, its varied coastline means that there is a beach for every level of swimmer. There are luxurious beaches which are visable and some which are invisible hidden behind dunes. On the east coast between Famagusta and Bogaz there is a beach which stretches for about 15 miles known as Golden Beach. By contrast on the North coast on either side of Kyrenia there are sandy beaches with bars and sports facilities to suit all tastes and budgets. Further more isolated creeks decorate the landscape for almost 20 miles. It is possible for water lovers to enjoy swimming for about 8 months of the year and also enjoy diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and waterskiing.

Some of the other beaches worthy of a visit are:
Escape at Alsancak
Mare Monte at Alsancak
Acapulco at Catalkoy
Deniz Kizi at Alsancak

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