About Northern Cyprus

Northern Cyprus – an island which throughout its history, has been sought after for strategic, political, commercial and religious reasons and which has never lost its attraction…

This is North Cyprus, with its Neolithic settlement sites, where civilisation was born, its ancient city kingdoms reflecting the glory of the Roman period, a place of refuge for Crusaders, the prized possession of the French Lusignan lords, the most important eastern harbour of the Venetian traders, with the strongest Ottoman castle of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The island of Cyprus is one of the most magical places in the world and North Cyprus is part of this landscape, full of mystery and Mediterranean fragrance. A journey to this most Mediterranean paradise will reward you with glimpses of historical sites which have witnessed a 10,000 year history, an impressive cultural heritage and different glorious treasures of the material world at every season of the year.

Geography

Panoramic view of the Güzelyurt District, and Morphou Bay as seen from the Troodos mountains. Northern Cyprus has an area of 3,355 square kilometres (1,295 sq mi), which amounts to around a third of the island. 75 kilometres (47 mi) to the north of Northern Cyprus lies Turkey with Syria lying 97 kilometres (60.3 mi) to the east. It lies between latitudes 34° and 36° N, and longitudes 32° and 35° E.

The coastline of Northern Cyprus features two bays: the Morphou Bay and the Famagusta Bay, and there are four capes: Cape Apostolos Andreas, Cape Kormakitis, Cape Zeytin and Cape Kasa, with Cape Apostolos Andreas being the endpoint of the Karpaz Peninsula. The narrow Kyrenia mountain range lies along the northern coastline, and the highest point in Northern Cyprus, Mount Selvili, lies in this mountain range with an altitude of 1,024 metres (3,360 ft).[74] The Mesaoria plain, extending from the Güzelyurt districtto the eastern coastline is another defining landscape. The Mesaoria plains consist of plain fields and small hills, and is crossed by several seasonal streams. The eastern part of the plain is used for dry agriculture, such as the cultivation of wheat and barley, and are therefore predominantly green in the winter and spring, while it turns yellow and brown in the summer.

56.7% of the land in Northern Cyprus is agriculturally viable.

North Cyprus is the place where:

  • The fortified port which inspired the British playwright William Shakespeare when he wrote his tragedy “Othello”.
  • Site of the Castle of St Hilarion, model for the castle in Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”.
  • Leonardo Da Vinci contributed to the plans for the defence of Gazimaðusa, and included the “River Motif” from Lefkara lacework in the design of the tablecloth in his peerless work “The Last Supper”.
  • Lawrence Durrell wrote “Bitter Lemons”, an intercontinental crossroads of faith, the island which the Knights Templar of “Da Vinci Code” fame purchased from Richard the Lionheart for 100,000 Byzantine gold pieces and managed to rule for the space of one year.
  • Island of immortal mythic love, birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of Beauty and Love, where the artist King Pygmalion created a statue of a perfect woman and fell in love with her.
  • A bright and peaceful setting for a 10,000 year history and cultural heritage, where the sun will warm you for more than 300 days a year, an island ready to welcome you with its stunning natural beauty and untouched beaches.

You will find much to do and see while you are in North Cyprus. If you are interested in the natural world, you can experience ecotourism, discover the orchids of Cyprus, Cyprus’s endemic species, its boundless sandy beaches, its places of outstanding natural beauty which are home to rare protected turtles and a wealth of plant species and you can also try village life which continues unchanged after centuries.

History of Cyprus

The island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean is 64 km from the coast of Turkey, 96 km from Syria, and 400 km from Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia. Because of its location, strategically poised at the crossroads of commercial and religious traffic between three continents, Cyprus has hosted a number of civilisations over the centuries.
In North Cyprus, which has an area of 3355 km2, you can find the traces of a historic and cultural heritage going back 10,000 years. The first signs of human occupation on the island date from 8,000 BC. You can see the mark left by civilisations over the centuries from the Neolithic period up to the present day, including the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, and the Ptolemaic dynasty, the Persians, the Hellenes, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Lusignans, the Venetians, the Ottoman Empire and the British.

In the course of its history, the island of Cyprus has been known as Alashia, Kittim, Yadnana and Hettim, but its current name derives from copper (also known as cuprum or cyprium) of which the island boasts rich deposits.

AREA: 3,355 km2
POPULATION: 294,906 (2011)
NATIONALITY: Turkish Cypriots
LANGUAGES: Turkish is an official language & English is spoken almost everywhere
CAPITAL: Nicosia
GOVERNMENT: Republic
CURRENCY: Turkish Lira (TL); Currencies (USD & EURO & POUND) are useable

Religion

The majority of Turkish Cypriots (99%) are Sunni Muslims, whilst a small number are Ahmadiyya Muslims. Northern Cyprus is a secular state. Alcohol is frequently consumed within the community and most Turkish Cypriot women do not cover their heads; however headscarves are still worn on occasion by public figures as a symbol of the inhabitants’ Turkish culture, or simply as a conservative form of dress. However, some religious traditions still play a role within the community. Turkish Cypriot males are generally circumcised in accordance with religious beliefs.

Education

There are eight international universities in Northern Cyprus. More than 40,000 students are coming all around the world for studying. Universities such as Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) and Near East University (NEU) are full individual members of the European University Association.

Climate

The climate of North Cyprus is a healthy one, typically Mediterranean. The summers are long and hot, while the winters are short with little rainfall. Cold winds, frost and snow are virtually unknown in North Cyprus. Precipitation normally takes the form of rain, but occasionally snow falls on the Girne mountain range, vanishing as quickly as it came. The coldest month is January which averages 10°C, while the hottest is July with an average temperature of 40°C. The annual mean temperature is 15°C.

Sea & Sun & Sand

The glorious natural beauty of North Cyprus awaits you on its beaches, among clear seas and golden sands. You can take a short break from your rushed and tiring life to discover the most serene bays. While the burnished gold sun smiles down on North Cyprus, you can set your cares aside and cool down in the waters of the Mediterranean. You can detox your body and store up vitamin D. While the burnished gold sun smiles down on North Cyprus, you can set your cares aside and cool down in the waters of the Mediterranean. You can detox your body and store up vitamin D. Ecotourism activities in the first light of morning will open doors for you into new worlds. You can then enjoy an uninterrupted siesta to the accompaniment of the cicadas, so that you will be well rested in preparation for the long delightful evening.

You can enjoy the authentic cuisine of North Cyprus accompanied by a delicious glass of lemonade in the gentle evening breeze. The most golden of suns will glisten in your hair and the bluest of seas will embrace your body on the sands of the beach.

Biodiversity

A relatively unspoilt part of the Mediterranean Basin biodiversity hotspot, Northern Cyprus has considerable ecological diversity, containing a variety of terrestrial habitats. Its flora includes around 1900 plant species, of which 19 are endemic to Northern Cyprus. Even in the urban areas, there is a lot of diversity: a study conducted on the banks of the Pedieos river around Nicosia found more than 750 different plant species. Among these species are 30 of the orchid species that are endemic to Cyprus. An endangered species that is the subject of folk tales and myths is the sea daffodil, found on the sandy beaches and endangered due to the disruption of their habitats.

The medoþ tulip (Tulipa cypria) is a notable species that is endemic to Northern Cyprus; it is only found in the villages of Tepebaþý/Dioriosand Avtepe/Ayios Simeon, and is celebrated with an annual festival.

In the national park in the Karpaz Peninsula around Cape Apostolos Andreas, there is a population of around 1000 wild Cyprus donkeys. These donkeys, under the protection of the Turkish Cypriot government, are free to wander in herds over an area of 300 square kilometers. The donkeys have earned a strong image for the peninsula, which is also home to a rich fauna and relatively big forests. The beaches of Northern Cyprus also include sites where hundreds of loggerhead turtles and green turtles lay eggs, which hatch at the end of the summer, followed by observers.