Famous for its mild climate and warm people, Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. It is one of the most beautiful islands connecting 3 continents. The total area of the island is 9250 square kilometers. Northern Cyprus has four metropolitan cities; The capital Nicosia (Nicosia) serves as the center of the administration and business center. Other cities are Famagusta (Mağusa) possesing the main sea port and Kyrenia (Girne) known as the main tourist center bearing an ancient port.
Güzelyurt is the center of the citrus industry. Northern Cyprus has unspoilt natural beauties, friendly people, pristine unspoilt nature, kilometers of coastline bathed by the sun almost all year round; It is a paradise island in the Mediterranean with its golden beaches and 9000 years of glorious history. Crusader castles with Gothic churches, temple ruins and examples of British colonial architecture appear as a fantastic mix of history dominating the Beşparmak Mountains. The island has a rich historical and architectural heritage left by different civilizations over the centuries. Due to its climate, nature, location and history, it hosts many tourists throughout the year. Its proximity to rich Middle Eastern countries and its advantageous location at the intersection of East and West provide an ideal opportunity for investments in the TRNC.
Although the exact settlement date of the city is unknown, BC. It is estimated that it was founded by the Achaeans in the X century. Since the first settlements were on the coast, Egypt, Hittite, Phoenician, Persian, Alexander the Great, Roman, Byzantine, British, Lusignan, Genoese, Venetian, Ottoman and finally the British dominate in chronological orde. Kyrenia is the most populated tourism center of Northern Cyprus. There is a very lively life with shopping centers, touristic facilities, nightlife and entertainment venues, restaurants, casinos making Kyrenia a tourism paradise. Kyrenia Castle is the most magnificent work of the city. At the foot of the castle are narrow Mediterranean streets, Girne Antique Harbor with its rows of yachts, bars and restaurants along the sea front.
The port is favoured for its fish restaurants, bars and open-air cafes that offer many delicious dishes as well as authentic dishes of Turkish Cypriot cuisine. Among the places to see in Kyrenia are Ağa Cafer Paşa Mosque, which is a beautiful Ottoman Mosque and the adjecent Ottoman Tombs next to the main city car park, the Peace and Freedom Monument on the Landing Beach, the Karaoğlanoğlu Cemetery, the Peace and Freedom Museum, the Marine Martyrs' Monument, west of the St. Hilarion Castle during the Peace Operation. The tank, which was injured and stuck on the edge of the cliff, Bosphorus Martyrdom, Fine Arts Museum, Beylerbeyi (Bellapais Monastery), St. Hilarion Castle, There are Ömer Tomb, Sunken Ship Museum, Buffavento Castle, Folk Art Museum, Icon Museum, Vrysi and Lambusa ruins. Just as Nicosia has Ercan Airport, which is one of the ways to reach the island, Kyrenia has the Tourism Port, where the most important sea voyage of Cyprus is made.
Hz. Omer Tomb and Masjid
Another important religious visiting place in Cyprus is Hz. Omer Tomb, located by the sea in Çatalköy, 4-5 km east of Kyrenia. There are the graves of Ömer, the Commander of the Muaviye Army and six of his friends, martyred in 647 AC.
It is a cute village located on the Northern slopes of the Beşparmak Mountains, 4-5 km east of Kyrenia. The most notifiable place in Beylerbeyi is the quiet and peaceful Bellapais Abbey. The abbey welcomes visitors as a museum. There is a church and cypress trees in the middle of the courtyard, with a dining hall where classical music concerts are held at weekends. The whole abbey is illuminated at night, with a beautiful view from below. There is the Kibele Restaurant in its outer garden. People often come to this beautiful place for a breath of fresh air, for dining or coffee.
St. Hilarion Castle
The castle was built in the 10th century. There are 9 bastions on the 500 meters long walls. The castle of St.Hilarion has been turned into a historic museum reflecting the use of its age. St. Hilarion Castle illuminated at night, looks like a sparkling Pearl Necklace on the mountain
Kyrenia Castle is one of the rare castles that has survived from the Middle Ages to the present day. The castle was built in a rectangular shape. After the Ottomans conquered the castle in 1570, they built a stone bridge that is used today and harmonizes with the castle, instead of the suspension bridge that provides the entrance to the castle. The tomb of the Ottoman Admiral Sadik Pasha is at the entrance. There are many interesting historical artifacts from various periods exhibited in the bastions of the castle. Vrysi, Kırnı, Mediterranean Tombs, which are among the settlements of the first ages, and Venice. It bears Lusignan Towers, Dungeons, St. George, the Cistern and the recovered sunken trade ship. Concerts are often held at the inner lit up courtyard of Kyrenia Castle.
The Sunken Ship Museum
The hull of an 80-year-old trade boat, which was caught in a storm while sailing in the Mediterranean during 300 B.C. The keel of the boat is the oldest among sunken ships. Various amphoras, grain mills, tools, almonds, olives and some seeds that have been preserved until today continue to be the focus of attention of those who visit the castle and the museum.
Buffavento Castle is one of the castles created to defend and warn the island against Arab raiders. The castle, which was built by the Byzantines at a height of 954 meters on the Beşparmak Mountain, was named “Buffavento” meaning “Unbending to the Wind” due to the strong wind. Clouds appearing on the north side of the castle in cloudy weather create very interesting images. The clouds dance with the castle here. In order to experience this event, which is an extraordinary natural wonder, it is necessary to be patient and choose cloudy days while going up to the side of the castle. After visiting the castle, if you drive down towards the village of Tashkent with your car, hundred meters below on the left of the road is a natural formation 'Ski Bridge' greeting you. People make a wish while passing by this magnificent Ski Bridge.
The Achangelos Church, which dates from the 8th century and is an inseparable part of the image with its white bell tower, which is frequently seen in the photographs of the Ancient Harbor of Kyrenia, is used as the Icon Museum today. Martyrdoms and Monuments Atatürk Monument, Peace and Freedom Monument, the house where 50th Infantry Regiment Commander Colonel H.İbrahim Karaoğlanoğlu and Pilot Major Fehmi Ercan (the officer named Ercan Airport) were martyred, and military memorabilia, weapons and military vehicles in its garden are displayed outdoors. Monuments such as the Peace and Freedom Museum, the Karaoğlanoğlu Cemetery, the Bosphorus Martyrdom, the Marine Martyrs' Monument, the Bosphorus Martyrs' Monument, the Tashkent Martyrs' Monument, and the Limassol Martyrs' Monument add a special value to Kyrenia.
The Blue Mansion
Located in the forest in Çamlıbel between Girne and Güzelyurt, the Mavi Köşk is one of the places visited as a museum today with its interesting architectural structure and usage areas.
The Herbarium Center belonging to the Forestry Department in the picnic area in Alevkaya is one of the most frequent destinations for nature lovers and researchers with its 1100 plant species, butterfly and insect collections in Northern Cyprus. The 'Human Faced Rock', located at the top of Alevkaya, is a very interesting natural wonder.
The literal meaning of this monastery, which is located in a small valley of Beşparmak Mountain, east of Kyrenia, is “The answering Jesus”. The church of the monastery has 8 columns in Byzantine architecture style. The interior walls covered with paintings and the depiction of Jesus on the dome are worth seeing. This monastery, reached via a beautiful road, serves as a museum today. In addition, it is one of the Nature Walking Paths of Northern Cyprus, and Orchids and endemic plants in and around its garden attract attention, especially in spring.
Lambusa Ancient City
Lambusa (Lapitos), the center of one of the Kingdoms of Cyprus, dates back to BC. It was founded in 1200 by the Achaeans who returned from the Trojan War. The city, which literally means “Bright”, was established on the seaside to the West of the Mare Monte Hotel in Alsancak. During the Lusignan period, the city was abandoned and a new settlement, Lapta, was established. The tombs, queen pool and city walls in Lambusa can be visited as an open-air museum.
Vrysi Ancient City
It is located inside the Acapulco Holiday Village, one of the most beautiful touristic facilities of the island, after turning from the Çatalköy road to the Tatlısu road. Vrysi, one of the first settlements built on an area overlooking the sandy beach, is very touristic.
This village, built on the mountain slope to the west of Kyrenia, is also known as Karmi. It is a place worth seeing with its houses, gardens and unique scenery. Vounos is a cemetery belonging to the Early Bronze Age from the historical ages. After the finds unearthed from the graves, much information transpired about the life style of the period it belonged to.
Three tombs, a tomb and two fountains have survived from the Ottoman period in Lower Kyrenia. The tomb is a typical Ottoman tomb made of cut stone with a square plan.
Agha Cafer Pasha Mosque
This mosque on the second Ağa Cafer Paşa Street in Girne, right next to the castle and parallel to the port, was built in 1589 by the Governor of Cyprus Ağa Cafer Paşa. The north wall of the mosque is covered with a wooden cage. This cage gives the mosque a different look.
Kyrenia Tourism Harbor
It is an important sea-port in TRNC. It was opened to international shiping on 16 November 1987. Every day, ferryboats travel between Cyprus and Southern coasts of Turkey, transporting passengers and cargo. One part is used as the yatch marina.
Nicosia, the capital of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is also the most populous city and the most important center of the island. All government offices of Northern Cyprus are located in Nicosia. While the outside of the walls is a lively city center in Nicosia, the inside of the Nicosia Walls is full of historical buildings and artifacts. Nicosia; Starting from ancient times, throughout history; It is a city where feudal lords, dukes, kings, lords, nobles, barons, knights, governor pashas, and Beylerbeyi rule. The city is built on a flat area and bears the traces of many civilizations, cultures and religions in its historical texture. Nicosia, with its history dating back to the Bronze Age; It has served as the “capital” for almost all the states that ruled Cyprus since the Byzantine period. In the city; Especially the historical structures of the Lusignan Kingdom (192-1489), Venetians (1489-1570), Ottoman administration (1571-1878) and British colonial administration (1878-1960) draw attention. When Nicosia, which was a Christian city until the 16th century, was conquered by the Ottomans, Islamic architecture began to be visible in the city. During the Lusignan Kingdom, which lasted for nearly 300 years, Nicosia was governed based on the Medieval-Feudal City concept and remained the administrative capital of the island. During this period, the Lusignans surrounded the city with walls. The historical buildings in Nicosia have survived to the present day by being preserved. Used as the chief church in the Lusignan period, St. Sophia Cathedral was converted into a mosque by the Ottomans and named 'Selimiye Mosque (Hagia Sophia). Derviş Pasha Mansion, Arabahmet Mosque, Haydarpaşa Mosque and Ayluka Armenian Church, which is now in use for cultural purposes, are also noteworthy structures inside the “Walled City”.
Historical Places to Visit in Nicosia
Arasta, in a fascinating historical texture, offers a wide range of presentations from food to beverage, from sweet to salty, from clothing to ornaments and jewellery; It is a traditional oriental bazaar where tradesmen and artisans gather.
Bandabuliya (the old market building)
Bandabuliya, the coverd market place built in the middle of Nicosia, is the first vegetable market established in Nicosia. The bazaar, as it stands today, was completely open at the beginning and was established at the end of Arasta region during 1932, bringing a new dynamism and richness to the area. Bandabulia is a historical place where food, beverages, spices, vegetables and fruits unique to Cyprus are sold.
Nicosia City Walls and Kyrenia Gate
In order to defend the city of Nicosia, they started to build new walls by the Venetians in 1567 to replace the old Lusignan walls around the city. There are 11 bastions, each of which can be considered as a castle, and 3 gates named Honey Gate, Famagusta Gate and Kyrenia Gate on these walls, which have a circumference of 3 miles in the form of a circle. Kyrenia Gate was renovated by the Ottomans in 1821. Kyrenia Gate currently hosts the Nicosia Tourism Information Office.
Also known as St. Nicolas Church of the Byzantine period, dating back to 14th century. It was enlarged with some Gothic additions made by the French Lusignans, and further changes were made during the following Venetian period. It was later given to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis. It has a hybrid texture with different architectural styles. During the Ottoman rule, some changes were made and it was used as a covered bazaar and grain warehouse. During this period (1573), the name of the building was changed to Bedesten. Bedesten has recently been restored by UNDP-PFF with the financial support of the European Union and has been reintroduced to the society to be used in cultural and creational activities.
Samanbahçe Houses, the first example of social housing in Cyprus, were built as a mass housing project for those with insufficient financial situation, with the rapid increase in the population in the city in the 19th century. Samanbahçe Houses consist of houses built in a single type and adjacent order. Samanbahçe Houses with 72 residences, which were restored by UNDP-PFF between 2003 and 2004 with the financial support of the European Union, are among the places that best reflect the Cypriot culture.
Büyük Hamam (The Great Bath)
Although its construction date and architect are unknown, the Great Bath, thought to have been built by the Ottomans between 1571 and 1590, is the only original Turkish Bath operating in the TRNC. The bath, which was built on the ruins of the Latin church; It is a classical Ottoman Period structure made of cut stone. It bears traces of the historical church to a large extent with its entrance door and dressing area. This bath is one of the few ancient works that had continued its function from the Ottoman period until present.
Selimiye Mosque (St. Sophia Cathedral)
Selimiye Mosque (St. Sophia Cathedral), a beautiful example of medieval French architecture and one of the most important gothic monuments on the Island; It was built in 1208 by the Latin Archbishop Eustorge de Montaigu. It is known that the coronation ceremonies of the Lusignan kings were held in this building. It was plundered by the Genoese in 1373 and by the Mamluks in 1426 and was damaged in several earthquakes. With the conquest of Cyprus by the Ottoman Empire in 1571, it was converted into the largest mosque in Cyprus. It was named after the Ottoman Sultan Selim II, who conquered Cyprus in 1954.
The Great Han (Büyük Han)
It is one of the largest inns in Cyprus and was built in 1572 by Muzaffer Pasha, the first Ottoman Governor of Cyprus. The Büyük Han, consisting of 68 rectangular rooms and a small mosque in the middle, is a structure in the middle of a business centre similar to Ottoman period bazaars in Anatolia. Under the British rule, it was first used as a prison and later as a shelter for the poor. Today, there are shops selling handicrafts and artifacts unique to Cyprus. Inside the courtyard of the inn, occasionally small-scale shows and cultural activities are held. There is a restaurant serving authentic Turkish coffee and exquisite examples of the local cuisine.
Haydarpaşa Mosque (St. Catherine's Church)
One of the most elegant Gothic buildings in Cyprus, the Lusignan structure St. Catherine's Church was built in the 14th century. It was converted to a mosque during the Ottoman rule of the island.
Arabahmet Paşa Mosque
It was built in the neighborhood during 1845 in the name of Arabahmet Pasha, who participated in the conquest and became the Governor of Cyprus. It is one of the best preserved Classical Ottoman works in Nicosia. The mosque floor was paved with 25 tombstones from Late Middle Ages when it was first built, was later removed and transferred to the Nicosia Stone Works Museum during repairs. There is a fountain and the tombs of the Ottomans in the garden of the mosque.
It is located in the most central part of Nicosia. While it was an old Latin church, it was converted into a mosque. It was rebuilt by Ali Pasha in 1902. The mosque, which has an Arabic influence, has a very valuable wooden ceiling. While the fountain was demolished in 1962, a covered marble sarcophagus with Greek inscriptions was uncovered. It is understood that this historical artifact belongs to the Byzantine period from the letter style and a huge cross on its body. It was used as the Registry Office until a short time ago.
Mevlevi Tekke (Lodge) Museum
Mevlevi Tekke, located just ahead of the Kyrenia Gate in Nicosia; It is another important structure in Cyprus built during the Ottoman period. It is claimed that the lodge was built on the land given by a courtier named Emine Sultan at the beginning of the 17th century and that the tomb without inscriptions next to its outer wall belongs to Emine Sultan. In the first period of its construction, the lodge included sections such as the semahane (room where the Dervishes practised religious ceremonies), tomb, dervish rooms, kitchen and guest rooms. The lodge, which lost its function after 1954, is now used as a museum. Mevlevi clothing, musical instruments and ethnographic materials are on display.
Stone Works Museum
The Stone Works Museum, built in the 15th century, is a Venetian-style building. From the Middle Ages to the present, examples of stone artifacts (coats of arms, marble artifacts, sarcophagi and columns) belonging to many historical processes are exhibited. The magnificent stone-worked window opposite the entrance door was brought from the Lusignan palace, which used to be in Sarayönü square and was demolished during the British period. The most outstanding artifacts include the sarcophagus belonging to the Dampierre family and the tombstone of Adam of Antioch, who was the Marshal of Cyprus during the 13th century. Also, a marble of The Lion of Mark is among the works found in the courtyard.
Near East University Classic and Sports Car Museum
Founded in 2007, the museum exhibits over 60 vehicles. The oldest vehicle in the museum is the 1899 model Crest Mobile. This vehicle has the feature of being the only one in exşstence in the world. NEU Automobile Museum is the first and only automobile museum of TRNC.
Cyprus Private Ethnography Museum
The museum is the first private ethnographic museum in the TRNC. A window into the past of Cyprus opens at the Cyprus Special Ethnography Museum, which is about the last 150 years and tells about the 'productive' identity of the people living in Cyprus by exhibiting the crafts and art works they use in their daily lives.
In addition to these works, other historical structures worth visiting in Nicosia are as follows;
Armenian Church, Venetian Column, İplik Pazarı Mosque, Asmaaltı Square, Turunçlu Fethiye Mosque, Yeni Mosque, Laleli Mosque, Yiğitler Bastion, Sultan II. Mahmut Library, Gamblers' Inn, Ayluka Armenian Church, Derviş Pasha Mansion, Lusignan House, Dr. Fazil Kucuk Museum.
It is the most popular street of Nicosia for Eating and Drinking. It stretches along Mehmet Akif and Osman Pasha streets. The city's notable restaurants, bars and cafes are located here. You should go to Dereboyu in Nicosia to enjoy stuffed chicken, halloumi pastry, bidda-badadez (potato pie), kebabs, Cyprus meatballs, molehiya and kolokas and Raki tables.
Famagusta (Mağusa) founded by Philadelphus, one of the kings of Ptolemus in the 3rd century BC, and named after his sister Arsinoe, is a fascinating city with its historical richness and golden beaches.
Historical Places to Visit in Famagusta
It is believed that the founder of the city, which was founded in the Bronze Age, was Tekfros, the son of Telamon, the King of the Greek island of Salamis. The finds in the ancient city are dated to the 11th century BC. The unearthed remains belong to the Roman period. There are Harbors and Wall, Gumnasium, Theatre, Roman Bath, Roman Villa, Byzantine Water Cistern (Nikodimos Holy Spring), Water Meter, Granite Forum St. Epiphanius Basilica, Water Tank, Agora (Market Place), Olympia Zeus Temple, Campanopetra Basilica.
It was built in the 14th century by the Lusignans to protect the port. This tower, surrounded by a deep moat, was one of the two main entrances to the city surrounded by walls, together with the Land and Sea gates it protected. The fortress consists of towers and corridors ending with artillery batteries. On the marble relief just above the castle entrance, St. Mark's winged lion and below are the name of captain Nicolo Foscarini, who gave the castle this state. It is said that Leonardo da Vinci, who visited Cyprus in 1481, advised the Venetians about the defense system of the city. The castle takes its name from the tragedy written by Shakespeare. Some of the scenes in which Othello, the protagonist of the play, take place in a port city in Cyprus. It is known that the name of the castle today was started to be used during the British Colonial Period.
LALA MUSTAFA PASHA MOSQUE (ST. NICHOLAS CATHEDRAL)
Built during the Lusignan period, between 1298 and 1312, it is one of the most beautiful Gothic structures in the entire Mediterranean. Lusignan kings were initially crowned as the kings of Jerusalem in the in the St. Sophia Cathedral of Nicosia and later at Nicholas Cathedral of Famagusta. The architecture of the cathedral's most beautiful and best preserved west facade is influenced by the Reims Cathedral in France. The 16th century Venetian gallery of the cathedral, which has a unique Gothic inlaid window, is located in the courtyard and is used as a fountain today. A Venetian coat of arms can be seen above the round windows at the entrance. The relief decorated with some animal figures is thought to have come from a temple in Salamis. The apse of the cathedral, as in most Cypriot churches, is in the Eastern style and has three chambers. The windows above are well preserved and there are two chapels on the west facade and on the side.
VENICE PALACE (PROVEDITORE PALACE)
The building, which was built as the Royal Palace by the Lusignans in the 13th century, is located to the west of Namık Kemal Square behind the Famagusta sea-port. Until the reign of Peter II, which started in 1369, the Kings of Cyprus lived in this palace. It was partially destroyed as a result of an earthquake. The western part with an 'L' shaped structure dating from the beginning of the 16th century and the entrance with three arches carried by four columns brought from Salamis had survived. At the top of the central arch is the coat of arms of Captain Giovanni Renier, who became the ruler of Cyprus in 1552.
NAMIK KEMAL DUNGEON AND MUSEUM
It is a two-storey building with a rectangular plan, located in the courtyard of the Venetian Palace, to the west of Namık Kemal Square. The door of the small single cell opens to the courtyard of the Venetian Palace. It was where the famous poet and an Ottoman “rebel” was kept as a prisoner. Namık Kemal was exiled to Cyprus on April 5, 1873, after the play 'Vatan or Silistra' was played in Istanbul Gedik Pasha theater on April 9, 1873. He spent 3 years and 2 months in this location.
ST. FRANCIS CHURCH
This was a part of the monastery founded by monks of the Franciscan order, who came to Cyprus in 1226 and were known to own large lands. It is located next to the Del Proveditore Palace. The building was built by the King of Cyprus II. It was made with the help of Henry. It consists of a three-part nave and a beautiful choir at the end of it. The most important part of the church, which is now in ruins, is the south chapel, which once housed the altar and some tombstones dating back to 1314-1447.
SİNANPAŞA MOSQUE (CHURCH OF ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL)
Although it is stated in an inscription on its wall that this building was built by a Syrian merchant, Simone Nostrano, in 1360, it is thought that there is a wrong information about the writing, since it is known that a Nestorian Christian named Simon had the church built. Despite the bombardment in 1571, it survived. The northern entrance, which has a unique stonework, is thought to have been brought from somewhere else. The interior of the building is quite simple, and the ceiling is placed on columns with flat caps. The Ottomans started to use the building as a mosque during their rule on the island. During the British colonial period it was used as storage for potatoes, cereals, etc. Hence, it became to be known as the “Wheat Mosque”.
CANBULAT TOMB AND MUSEUM (ARSENAL BASE)
When the decision to conquer Cyprus, Canbulat Bey of Kilis, was decided to be included in the planned forces. For his successful role in the conquest of Nicosia by the Ottomans, he was re-assigned to head the Ottoman army that besieged Famagusta in 1570, together with İskender Pasha and Deniz Pasha. He is believed to have died in the campaign, in the area whose original name is Arsenal bastion. His tomb is located under the bastion. The building, which had worn out over time, was rebuilt in 1968 and its front part was turned into a museum exhibiting Ethnographic and archaeological artifacts.
There are 33 graves of the martyrs in the Turkish cemetery in Famagusta. The tombstones here belong to the Turkish soldiers who were killed by the British during the First World War after Suez Canal and Çanakkale campaigns, after being brought to the Karakol prison camp in Famagusta. The oldest of the tombstones is dated 24.11.1916 and the newest one is dated 8 or 18 February 1920.
Güzelyurt is a city in the north-west of Northern Cyprus, said to have been founded for the Goddess Aphrodite by the Spartans who migrated from Greece during the ancient period. Located between the cities of Kyrenia, Lefke and Nicosia, close to the Morphou bay on the coast, Güzelyurt is the most productive place on the island in terms of citrus production. It meets the majority of the island's citrus exports with its mild weather. In this context, there is an Orange Festival is organized every year. Güzelyurt is a city where many fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, melon, and pomegranate are grown besides citrus, and different vegetables. In addition to these, Güzelyurt also hosts important works in terms of island history such as the Ancient City of Soli, Vuni Palace, Tumba Tu Skuru, and St. Mamas Church. In addition to its historical and natural beauties, Güzelyurt is on the way to having an important place in the academic activities of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus with the Middle East Technical University Campus located in the Kalkanlı. Transportation to Güzelyurt is made by land from Ercan Airport via Nicosia. Güzelyurt is 40 km from Nicosia and 47 km from Kyrenia.