Discover the splendor of North Cyprus
As a splendor country, North Cyprus is typically overlooked in favor of its southern counterpart, but you are missing out on stunning scenery and a rich and varied history. Wild donkeys wander the mountainous terrain, while vibrant coastal towns provide waterfront cuisine and rich landscapes are dotted with old castles and cities. That, among other things, indicates that it is time to travel to North Cyprus.
Eat lunch on the historic Kyrenia harbor
Ercan International Airport is around 40 minutes away from Kyrenia, a popular beach resort. The lovely harbourside village, which nestled amid fragrant orchards, castle-strewn slopes, and verdant forests, was the scene for Lawrence Durrell’s famous novel “Bitter Lemons of Cyprus.”
Kyrenia harbor still looks the same as it did centuries ago when traders stopped there on their way to Europe. You can experience life as it was during the busy heyday of the waterfront while sipping morning coffee or feasting on Turkish Cypriot mezze. Girne Kalesi, or Kyrenia Castle, guards the shoreline. It has a rich history to discover, with ties to the Byzantines, Ottomans, Crusaders, and Venetians.
From the castle walls, you can enjoy amazing views, explore dungeons and storerooms, see a 12th-century church, and learn about the city’s marine history at the Shipwreck Museum. After you have seen all of the historical sights, head to Kyrenia’s back streets for some shopping therapy. You can spend on jewelry, hand-crafted kilim carpets, and artwork in charming shops.
Kyrenia eateries serving Turkish Cypriot cuisine and freshly caught fish spring into life in the evenings. As the sun sets and the harbor lights shine, the clatter of plates, clamor of talk, and melodious music reverberate down the shoreline.
Turtles nesting on the beach
North Cyprus is a favorite nesting spot for Loggerhead and Green Turtles. Loggerhead turtles are one of the world’s oldest species, weighing up to 400 kilograms or more when fully mature. Green Turtles can live up to 80 years and have a life expectancy of up to 67 years, thus their preservation is critical.
Female turtles normally return to the beach where they were hatched to lay their eggs, despite the fact that they can travel thousands of kilometers over water. Several conservation areas are monitored across North Cyprus during the laying and hatching seasons.
If you want to understand more about these wonderful aquatic animals, go to Kyrenia or the Karpaz Peninsula and see them make their first steps from the sand to the water.
Bellapais abbey provides the best views.
Bellapais is located at a height of 220 meters above sea level, with views of verdant orchards, the Mediterranean Sea, and North Cyprus settlements. During Arab attacks in the 7th and 8th centuries, the abbey served as a safe haven for residents fleeing peril. The Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre, who left Israel after the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, were the first to fully reside here.
The abbey’s main structure, cloisters, church, and refectory were erected considerably later, in the 13th and 14th centuries, and coats of arms, original columns, and religious sculptures can still be seen as you travel among the remains. Bellapais Abbey has played a variety of roles over the years. When the British conquered North Cyprus, they utilized the abbey’s refectory as a hospital for their troops.
Today, you may visit an intriguing museum to learn more about Bellapais’ history, as well as attend an evening performance in the abbey grounds during the summer months.
On the Karpaz peninsula, see wild donkeys
Wild donkeys wander aimlessly through the forest along the eastern coasts of the Karpaz Peninsula in North Cyprus. Thousands of wild donkeys traditionally utilized on peasant fields were abandoned and left to wander the countryside after the Turkish invasion of North Cyprus. Authorities planned to herd them together once the region had returned to normalcy, but the donkeys had other ideas and continue to wander Karpaz to this day. Although they enjoy the occasional carrot from tourists, they can become irritable when people intrude on their area, so they are best seen and photographed from afar until they approach you.
Visit Salamis’ ancient archaeological ruins
Salamis, a historic city on the east coast of North Cyprus, is located north of Famagusta. Salamis was the capital of Cyprus in 1100 BC, and it has been occupied by Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, and Romans over the centuries. There is still a lot more to be discovered on this one-square-mile site surrounded by lush eucalyptus and pine trees.
Relics and gold coins going back to 374 BC have been uncovered, indicating the city’s archaeological significance. As the sun sets, explore the rough paths amid marble columns, mosaics, and sculptures, picturing what life was like in ancient Salamis and appreciating how lucky you are to be able to experience a little part of it centuries later.
In Nicosia, explore the history of North Cyprus
Although Salamis was the historical capital, Nicosia is now the capital of North Cyprus. It is an enthralling city, a tangle of intertwined cultures with a boundary that runs across the major commercial artery, Ledra Street. The capital is divided into two parts: a Greek side (South Cyprus) and a Turkish side (North Cyprus), each with its own set of historic features.
Explore Buyuk Han, an Ottoman inn and courtyard with stores and cafés where camels would rest, and Bandabuliya market, which is brimming with a rainbow of vegetables and spices. There’s also the magnificent Selimiye Mosque, the island’s oldest surviving Gothic church.
When the Ottomans arrived in 1571, it was originally erected as the Cathedral of Saint Sophia, but when the Ottomans arrived, it was altered to its current structure with the addition of minarets. It is a unique hybrid structure that may be viewed during non-prayer hours.
Head to the rooftop of the modest Saray Hotel for the greatest views of Nicosia. It offers 360-degree panoramic views of the city.
Delicious Turkish Cypriot cuisine sample
A blend of southern European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern elements, Turkish Cypriot cuisine is one of the most delicious on the continent. Mezze, or local tapas-style foods, are particularly popular. This dish comprises a variety of hot and cold platters with meat, seafood, vegetables, and salad that may be divided around the table. Halloumi cheese, plump olives, couscous, packed vine leaves, and feta salads are common ingredients.
Vegetarians have lots of options, while carnivores may choose from regional favorites like Kleftico lamb, which is slow-cooked till soft in a clay oven, or delectable skewered shish kebabs.
Lokma is a delectable doughnut wrapped in honey for dessert, and there are classic Turkish delicacies to savour with an exquisite cup of coffee for those with a sweet tooth.
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