NORTH CYPRUS CITIES
Nicosia (Turkish: Lefkosa, Greek: Lefkosia) is the capital of Cyprus.Nicosia
is the center of administrative district, and currently the only
divided capital in the world, with the northern Turkish and southern
Greek portions divided by a “Green line”; a demilitarized
zone maintained by the United Nations.
The name of the city dates back to approximately 2,250 years when
it was known as Ledra or Ledrae. This name was changed soon to Lefkotheon
but was also The name changed referred to as Ledron. once again
in the Byzantine era to Lefkon which means “popular grove”.
The city served as a seat of the kings of Cyprus from 1192, it remained
the capital of Cyprus since the 17th century, except for a brief
period starting from 1489 when it was taken over by Venetians. Cyprus
was taken over by Turks in 1571 and Nicosia became Capital again.
The city went through major development during the Venetian’s
rule as they built huge, thick ramparts around the city. . Nicosia
(Lefkosia) was fortified with imposing stone walls and massive gates.The
walls are three and half miles long and have eleven towers and three
The famous Famagusta Gate still stands today, proudly protecting
the still-ancient town within from the modern city outside. During
the Ottoman era the city saw prosperity which is still visible by
Gothic architecture of Selimiye Mosque, the Bedestan, the Arab Ahmat
Mosque, and the Great Han Inn to name a few.
The modern divided capital is the result of Turkish invasion, which
resulted because of rebellion against the government of Cyprus.
The present day capital of the island has a population of around
150,000 and it is divided into Turkish and Greek sectors by a boundary
known as the `green line' which runs in an east-west direction.
The central Eleftheria Square links old Nicosia with the elegant
modern city that has grown up outside the walls, where hotels, offices
restaurants and gardens blend happily with the fine old houses and
colonial buildings of this cosmopolitan city. There are many things
to do in Nicosia The Cyprus museum is very popular with visistors.
There is a priceless and fascinating collection of Cypriot antiquities
and art treasures from the Neolithic Age to the early Byzantine
Period. Come down and visit the Cyprus Handicraft Center workshops,
where traditional arts are practiced today much the same way they
were in ages past. Relax and enjoy a superb Cypriot meal, accented
by one of the island’s famous wines. Later, the night life
beckons near Famagusta Gate, giving face to the Cypriots’
legendary spirit of celebration.
Greek Kirínia, Turkish Girne city, is situated along the
northern coast of Turkish Cyprus. It is a busy little town with
a harbour appreciated for its natural beauty. Founded by the Achaeans,
ancient Greek colonists, and fortified by the Byzantines, Franks,
and Venetians, the city was the administrative headquarters of the
Kyrenia district of the Republic of Cyprus until the Turkish intervention
in 1974. In its heyday it was lined with warehouses, stored with
fruits of the countryside whilst they awaited export. The buildings
are now mostly all restaurants, all of which have tables and chairs
lining the water. The castle at the east end of the harbour is a
very spectacular site and within its walls there is a 12 century
chapel showing reused late Roman capitals.
Just 10 minutes above Kyrenia is Bellapais Abbey. Set in this fabulous
location, a visit to this 14th century Lusignan abbey is a must.
Escape beach Club and Club Acapulco are the top two beaches in
Kyrenia. They both offer plenty of entertainment. They both have
a bar, restaurant and night club. These two beaches are perfect
for younger travelers.
Turtle beach is situated on the new coast road East of Kyrenia
driving towards Esentepe. The beach is protected during the summer
months between the hours of 9pm and 5am. This is because rare Turtles
come to lay their eggs on the beach area under the watchful eye
of conservationists. The beach by day is excellent and used a lot
by the locals. At this location is a small building called the 'Turtle
Project." You can go there to learn about Turtles, see videos
and book in to sleep on the beach at night and watch the Turtles
coming to shore to lay their eggs. They lay their eggs around June
and August is the hatching time.
You have an excellent opportunity to find pleasant places for walking
in Northern Cyprus. The Besparmak Mountains are ideal walking areas.
You can go to St. Hilarion Castle and park your car there. Head
west to take in the amazing views of Kyrenia.
Enclosed to the north by the sea and to the south by the greenery
of the Besparmak (Five finger) Mountain range, it offers the most
magnificent scenery on the island. It's charming and tiny harbour,
full of yachts and fishing boats, is framed by the colossal hulk
of its Crusader castle. With the backdrop of the jagged mountains
behind and the calm sparkling sea in front, the harbour has an intoxicatingly
Overlooking the entrance to the harbour is Kyrenia Castle. Dating
from the time of the Byzantines, its massive defenses surround a
complex mixture of building styles from centuries before and it
is likely that there was a Roman fort here originally. Subsequently
enlarged and strengthened by the Lusignans and then the Venetians,
the castle is now home to many historical artifacts and is the current
resting-place of the world's oldest shipwreck.
Kyrenia is an easy place to be any time of the day. There are lots
of charming shops to explore in the harbour and in the cobbled narrow
alleys surrounding it.There are markets and numerous local cafés
to visit also.
As the sun sets, Kyrenia harbour again becomes the focus of activity
as the locals take their evening stroll and the cafés and
bistros that face the sea prepare for their nightly trade. Crisp
white linen and small vases of local flowers are lovingly arranged
on tabletops to welcome the evening's guests to wine and dine in
the cooling breeze.
Greek Ammochostos, Turkish Gazi Magusa is a major port in the Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus. It lies on the island's east coast
in a bay between Capes Greco and Eloea and is about 37 miles (55
km) east of Nicosia. The port possesses the deepest harbour in Cyprus.
Famagusta is a Frankish corruption of its Greek name, which means
"buried in the sand," descriptive of the silted mouth
of the Pedieos.
Famagusta city lies south of the ancient city of Salamis (now Salamis
ruins) and just north of the ancient ghost town of Varosha (Maras).
Today Varosha is no more than an empty ghost town. It lies in a
UN zone between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus.
Famagusta is one of the finest examples of mediaeval architecture
in the eastern Mediterranean. The oldest traces of settlements lie
in an area near the modern town of Famagusta, then named "Enkomi",
going back to 13th Century B.C., the Bronze Age. At the start of
the Iron Age the town was built near the sea and was known by the
name "Salamis". The name "Ammochostos" is first
recorded during the Byzantine period. In 1571 Famagusta was conquered
by the Ottoman's.
Some historians declare that Famagusta was founded by King Ptolemy
Philadelphus of Egypt in 285 B.C. By the year 300 A.D. the town
was one of the principal markets of the Eastern Mediterranean, the
rendezvous of rich merchants and the headquarters of many Christian
religious orders as revealed by numerous churches of various denominations.
These are still to be seen in the town today.
This was the time of the Crusades and when the rich Lusignan family
ruled Cyprus. Therefore, the period I 200 to I 489 in Cyprus history
is called the Lusignan dynasty. Famagusta was protected by ramparts
which encircle the town and the citadel castle guarding the harbour,
the best in Cyprus. This citadel or Othello's tower is the first
main focus of attention for visitors.
The period I 300 to I 400 is known as the golden age of Famagusta
and was regarded as such by visiting merchants who brought back
tales of fabulous wealth. After I 400, rival groups of Genoese and
Venetian merchants settled there. The Genoese caused much conflict
until finally the Venetians took command of all Cyprus. In 1489
they transferred the capital from Nicosia to Famagusta. The Venetians
were in command for 82 years and it was from Famagusta that the
whole island was governed.
The invention of gun-powder and the use of cannons called for the
Venetians to remodel the entire defense for the use of artillery,
the new type of warfare. The medieval square towers were replaced
with round ones and cannon portholes were inserted all along the
The Turkish armada arrived outside the town in 1570 and put it under
siege for a year. In 1571 not only Famagusta, but all of Cyprus
was under Turkish rule and remained so until 1878. The end of colonial
rule in 1960 led to the intensification of intercommunal contention
between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots which concluded in 1974
with Turkish Cypriot rule in North Cyprus.
The new town of Famagusta (also known as Maras or Varosha) lies
just to the south of the walled old-city of Famagusta.
As a seaport, Famagusta is a center for the export of citrus fruits
and other agricultural products and livestock; other major economic
activities include cotton spinning, the distillation of brandy,
Guzelyurt (Greek: Morphou, Turkish: Omorfo - before 1974) is a
market town in the north-west of Cyprus. Guzelyurt was founded by
Spartans who brought with them the worship of Aphrodite. In the
Middle Ages, the city was referred to as Morphou and also Theomorphou.
The Guzelyurt area grew more than half of Cyprus citrus fruits.
Guzelyurt, which means `beautiful country' in Turkish, is aptly
named. Guzelyurt is a market town located in the west of North Cyprus.
One of its attractive features is that it is the home of one of
the many churches in the country dedicated to St. Mamas, popularly
known as the patron saint of tax avoiders. The name was bestowed
on him because he was a hermit living in very poor circumstances
and when the authorities tried to tax him, he avoided them. Soldiers
were sent out and captured him but on the way back to town, he saw
a lion attacking a lamb, escaped the soldiers, saved the lamb, jumped
on the lion's back and in that way came to town. His bravery earned
him exemption from tax, hence his name - the patron saint of tax
The town of Güzelyurt is regional capital of the Güzelyurt
district and is known as the fruit-bowl of Northern Cyprus. It is
one of the richest agricultural areas in Cyprus, famous particularly
for the Citrus (Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit) and strawberries from
the area which thrive in its fertile red soil. A large proportion
of the citrus fruits are exported, and the remaining are made into
fruit juice and canned for export and local consumption. The town,
located in the west, is surrounded by extensive citrus groves, which
makes this area the greenest on the island. The reason for this
is the abundance of water running down from the Troodos Mountains,
which lie, to the south.
Guzelyurt is not a typical tourist destination, but is interesting
to those who want see parts of Northern Cyprus not in the least
affected by tourism. You can enjoy your holiday in the peace and
quiet of its natural surroundings. Güzelyurt houses a history
and archaeology museum. The museum houses a collection ranging from
the prehistoric age of Cyprus to the Byzantine period
Primitive tools uncovered from different prehistoric settlements
around Cyprus, and samples of pottery from the Bronze Age are exhibited
at the museum. Furthermore there is a covered market and some rather
beautiful Orthodox churches. Also within the Güzelyurt district
is the picturesque town of Lefke (the site of Cyprus’ now
defunct copper mines), the Roman ruins at Soli, and the hilltop
palace of Vouni.
The region of Iskele is situated in the north east part of the
island. It is one of the most beautiful parts of Northern Cyprus.
There are not big towns here, and the nature has remained unspoilt.
The most popular destination of Iskele region is the Karpass peninsula.
In spite of the fact that it is a remote place, Karpass attracts
a lot of people by its enormous "Golden Beach".
Dipkarpaz (Greek: Rizokarpaso) is a town on the Karpass Peninsula
in Famagusta district, north-eastern Cyprus. It is partly located
in the ancient city of Karpasia, founded by king Pygmalion. Dipkarpaz
is the biggest town on the peninsula. Soil near the town is very
fertile. Local crops include carob, cotton, tobacco, and grain.
A tobacco-factory operates in the town.In 1974, the peninsula was
cut off by Turkish troops, and this prevented the town's Greek-Cypriot
inhabitants from fleeing to the unoccupied South. As a result, Dipkarpaz
is the home of the biggest Greek-speaking population in the North.
The town has two churches: St. Synesios and the church of the Holy
Trinity. They are examples of the typical Cypriot mixed style, combining
features of the late Gothic introduced by the Lusignans with the
late Byzantine style of the Orthodox tradition. When the island's
Orthodox bishops were banished by the Lusignans in 1222, the Bishop
of Famagusta was sent to Dipkarpaz and continued his work in St.
Synesios, the main Orthodox Church in the region.