North Cyprus – View from the Inside

"Rich in history, North Cyprus is steeped in visual delight"

April 2015 • Thea Wall-Coomber, Product Manager

North Cyprus – View from the Inside

Rich in history, North Cyprus is steeped in visual delight from tree-dotted mountains to flower-filled plateaux, the glistening Mediterranean Sea is always nearby and the friendly locals can occasionally be seen selling asparagus on the roadside.

The ancient Roman ruins of Salamis were one of the highlights of my visit; it was fascinating to see the Roman city remains where there is yet so much to be excavated and would be an archaeologists dream. The complex consists of an amphitheatre, a gymnasium, basilica, temples and the associated rooms expected with Roman baths. The area is surrounded in acacia, eucalyptus, olive and almond trees with blossom adding to the magical feel of the area. 

Near to the site of Salamis is the Church and Monastery of St. Barnabus located in a picturesque flat expanse. The buildings have been well restored and inside include an impressive fresco and paintings which are incredibly preserved and depict stories of how St. Barnabus’ body was shown to the archbishop in a dream. 

St. Mamas Orthodox Church was a real unexpected gem situated next door to the Güzelyurt museum, an interesting mix of Gothic and Byzantine styles with astounding detail especially on the impressive pulpit. A story told and represented through the many intricate paintings throughout the church is of a local man who refused to pay his taxes riding on a lion. 

I then continued to Lefka, which was previously a copper mining town, once employing 7000 workers however, the mine was closed in 1974 due to the war and lack of opportunities for exporting copper abroad. Lefka is a lovely scenic town with views of the Troodos mountains, rivers flowing down in the valley, date palms, orange and walnut trees, with a good proportion of buildings in this town from the traditional British colonial time. 

The food throughout my trip was fantastic, with traditional mezzes of local favourites. 

I stayed at both the Onar Village and the Ferman Residence and was pleasantly delighted with both for different reasons. The Onar commands beautiful views of Kyrenia town up in the calm of the foothills, this contrasted with the Ferman which is located in the centre of Kyrenia within walking distance to the harbour, shops and restaurants. 

The current political situation of the island is intriguing as the north is unrecognised as a country by other nations although this does not pose any issue for visitors. It is possible to enter via Turkey or by crossing the border from the Greek Cypriot side which has been possible since 2003. 

Whilst driving around, statues and figures of Ataturk are scattered around the north, a gentle reminder of Turkish identity. The past and present historical and political aspects of the island are bound to fascinate all, combined with truly beautiful landscapes and heritage.” 

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