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Guides > Culture >  Barber Shops

Always ask the price before committing yourself to a seat in the barbers’ chair as they have been known to vary charges even though they have a standard price list. There are various options open to you, but most men seem to go for a traditional shave and this is what you can expect:

Your face is washed with warm water to soften up the bristles.  The barber will then whip up foam in a cup using traditional ‘traş’ soap and apply a first layer to your chin, neck  and sideburns. While that's soaking in you'll often be treated to a neck and temple massage.

The second coat of shaving soap is applied to the same areas as before, and the barber will work his magic with his razor or ‘ustura’– a typical straight razor that flicks open like a pen-knife.

If you're unfortunate enough to suffer the odd nick, the barber will produce what is known as a ‘blood stone’ or ‘kantaşı’ in Turkish.  This

Barbers in North Cyprus

involves a quick rub to the nick which will stop the bleeding immediately.

Now for your cheekbones.  This is the real treat and there are two ways of removing unwanted cheekbone hair.  First option is dipping cotton wool into some pure alcohol, then lighting it and brushing it quickly over the cheekbones.  Don’t worry, it's not painful or dangerous, but there is a faint whiff of burnt hair after. Second option is to use a length of cotton, which is twisted and drawn across the cheekbone, plucking out the hairs. You might know this technique as "threading". To finish the look, you can have nasal and ear hairs trimmed as well. The barber will use a modern little shaver to do the nostrils, but the ears will be done with the cotton wool and alcohol method. Finally, just so everyone knows you’ve just been to the barbers, traditional lemon essence cologne is patted around the shaven areas, and to top it all off a good slap of moisturising face cream and you may even get a shoulder massage as well.  Baby, smacked and bottom are all words to describe your finished appearance and you 'll certainly feel refreshed and invigorated!

Guides > Culture >  Charities

ATA - Anglo Turkish Association

One of the largest NGO's in TRNC. Non-profit making, it aims to promote understanding and mutual respect between expats and locals. Membership is open to all English speakers who live for at least part of the year in TRNC. It has important cultural, educational and charitable aims, and also organises social gatherings, lectures, seminars, concerts, exhibitions and excursions which are also open to non-members.

BRS - British Residents’ Society

Established 1975, provides support and advice for British passport holders.  Has direct access to the British High Commission and to Government Departments of the TRNC and enjoys their support.

CESV - Civil Emergency Service Volunteers

Local and expat volunteers who assist emergency services and work in conjunction with Civil Defence.

Charities in North Cyprus

KAR - Kyrenia Animal Rescue

Animal Rescue Centre high in the Besparmak Mountains provides refuge for hundreds of dogs and cats. Employees run the centre; care for the animals and provide advice to the public while volunteers collect animals; conduct veterinary visits; groom; staff a charity shop; fund-raise and do eduation visits.

NCCCT – North Cyprus Cancer Charity Trust

Formed late 1980s. Provides medical equipment to help cancer patients in state hospitals.

RBL - Royal British Legion, Kyrenia Branch

Formed 1st October 2011 and currently has over 300 members.

SOS Children’s Villages in North Cyprus

Built in Lefkosa in 1993. Today, as well as the Village, they have an SOS Youth Facility, an SOS Nursery and an SOS Social Centre. Family Strengthening Programme enables children who are at risk of losing the care of their family to grow within a caring family environment. Children live with a family in a warm and safe house, are encouraged to become active community members, and provided with education and life training they need to become independent adults.

SPOT - Society for Protection of Turtles

Founded late 1980s, provided accommodation on land at Alagadi, which is still used by the Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP).


TFR - The Foreign Residents in the TRNC

Formed in 1998. Participate in the maintenance of the international cemeteries.

TULIPS - Help Those With Cancer Association

Cancer is one of the hardest battles to be faced and Tulips is there to help, irrespective of nationality.

Guides > Culture >  Cittaslow

Cittaslow is part of a global cultural trend known as the slow movement. An organisation founded in Italy, Cittaslow’s goals include improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down its overall pace, especially in their use of spaces and the flow of life and traffic through them.


Living in a Cittaslow town means having a cleaner environment, eating wholesome food, participating in a rich social life that respects the values of tradition, and openings to persons of other cultures. 


Northern Cyprus is a member of this organisation, and the official Cittaslow towns of Lefke, Tatlisu, Geçitkale, Yeniboğaziçi near Famagusta and Mehmetcik in the Karpaz region, all represent this culture, hosting events throughout the year characterising the Cittaslow way of life.


The Cittaslow manifesto states: “We are looking for towns where men are still curious of the old times, towns rich of theatres, squares, cafes, workshops, restaurants and spiritual places, towns with untouched landscapes and charming craftsman where people are still able to recognise the slow course of the Seasons and their genuine products respecting tastes, health and spontaneous customs.” For the avid traveller, these towns are well worth a visit and attending one of the many events a pleasurable experience.

Cittaslow North Cyprus

Guides > Culture >  Evil Eyes

No matter where you go in Northern Cyprus, you’ll come across an evil eye gem. These blue beads are known locally as Nazar Boncukare and are hung in homes, cars, shops, restaurants, used as an accessory in jewellery, and even embedded into walls and arches.


The humble beads play an important function for Turkish Cypriots as they ward off and protect the owner from “evil eyes”, bad luck or sickness. This tradition dates from pre-Christian times, when people believed that a look of hate from one person to another could bring upon illness, bad luck or even death. Hatred, jealousy or even extreme affection can also be the cause of any potential adverse experiences. 


The blue evil eye beads are made from glass, and should also contain iron, copper, water and salt, a more resistant ingredient against evil.


Don’t underestimate the protective powers of these gems. You’ll find one in almost every jeweller or gift shop, and imake great souvenirs.

Evil Eyes  in North Cyprus

Guides > Culture >  Festivals

North Cyprus has a large festival scene, with more organised every year.  Village festivals may play on the particular speciality the village lends its name to, or it may be international music and culture festivals at some of the great historical venues. Festival season runs from March to October


Village fairs have grown in popularity over the last few years enabling the public to see traditions and culture of Turkish Cypriot life, as well as giving locals a chance to show off their skills and wares including cookery displays, arts and crafts demonstrations, competitions and the ever popular folk dance displays.  Buy local products made in their traditional fashion or have a go at making them at the Büyükkonuk Eco-festival


Festivals are generally organised by the local municipality, with sponsors for some of the larger exhibitions and displays. North Cyprus

Festivals in North Cyprus

is also becoming well known for its international musical events, with big names attending  events including classical tenors, Turkish pop singers, plus old favourites like Boney M and Bonnie Tyler. The International Bellapais Music Festival held in  the stunning Bellapais Monastery, has featured international classical groups, orchestras and individuals to amaze the crowds.  Equally, theInternational Famagusta Art & Culture Festival is growing in stature with theatre and music events mostly being held at the Salamis Antique theatre.  Besides music and village festivals there's also the cinematic and arts festivals of North Cyprus, featuring something for everyone to enjoy.  Some of the festivals available in Northern Cyprus:

Tepebasi Tulip (Tulipa Cypria), Lapta Festival
Eco Day Festival of Büykkonuk (Komikebir) Village
May & October
Bellapais Silk Cocoon Festival
Bellapais International Music Festival
May to June
Famagusta Art and Culture Festival
May to June
Lapta Tourism Festival
Güzelyurt Orange Festival
June to July
Iskele Traditional Festival
June to July
Lefke Walnut Festival
June to July
Girne Art and Culture Festival
Mehmetcik Grape Festival
Geçitkale Hellim Festival
Aug to Sep
Cyprus Theatre Festival
Tatlisu Carob Festival
International Kyrenia, Zeytinlik, Templos Olive Festival

Guides > Culture >  Folklore

Many countries around the world have a traditional dance that has been passed down through the generations and Northern Cyprus is  no different. Folklore occupies a very important place with the locals as they've benefited from an assortment of civilisations that have all influenced the cultural heritage and folklore represents its unity and identity.


One popular folk dance is the Karsilama, where men and women perform together. It's a long series of dances presented by pairs of friends dancing face to face with a smiling mimic. Dancing in perfect timing, the men and women typically present different, but complimentary, moves. The Sirto is recognised as the oldest folk dance, where dancers hold each other’s wrists forming a circle. There are twelve basic steps involved, where one dancer leads the rest of the participants, varying the tempo. In some parts of Sirto, pairs of dancers hold a handkerchief from its two sides, as can also sometimes be seen in Karsilama. Individual dancers may show talents like spinning, jumping, kneeling or hitting their feet or legs or the ground with their hands.

Folklore in North Cyprus


The colourful costumes worn by folk dancers in Northern Cyprus reflect the origins of the dances. The women wear colourful headdresses and jewellery, and dress in eye-catching dresses, usually knee length. The men wear white shirts with black knee-length trousers, and a wide red cloth belt. Combined with their blue waistcoats and red fez hats, their dashing folk dancing costume is completed by a pocket watch or handkerchief.


A live folk dance nowadays is likely to be performed to a tape but traditional folk dances are usually accompanied by musicians, playing traditional instruments such as the zurna, a reed instrument with a distinctive and evocative Middle Eastern sound. Two types of drums can also be played, the smaller darbuka played with both hands, and the larger davul which is beaten with a stick. A violin is also usually played, and other instruments can be added, such as an accordion, or mandolin. Other than the folk music which accompanies dancing, entertainment and shows, other genre of “Türkü’s” are equally important, the most famous being “Dillirga”, “Kebapçıların Şişi” (“the skewers of the kebab makers”) and “Portakal Atışalım” (“let’s throw each other oranges”).

Events & Festivals

Dancing is a way of life in Northern Cyprus and can be seen in bridal showers, weddings, festivals and harvest time and is a way to show emotions of joy and gratitude. Turkish Cypriot folk dances are not only significant because they're enjoyed by locals, but also because they receive acclaim in other parts of the world, with folk-dance groups routinely representing Northern Cyprus at international festivals. The annual “Folk Dance International Festival” is also held in Iskele, usually around the end of June, attracting groups from around the world. Lasting a week, the festival brings together the beauty of diverse cultures. It’s quite a sight to see younger generation of Cypriot folk dancers getting to grips with the sickle dance, when the sickles they're holding are almost as tall as them. Traditional dances are a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in an ancient tradition and local culture.

Guides > Culture >  Meyhanes

Like Italy’s osterias, Spain’s bodegas and France’s bistros, North Cyprus eating and entertainment houses, known as Meyhanes, are a place to come together over meze and raki and is a tradition dating back thousands of years.


They are the epitome of Northern Cyprus eating and drinking culture, and date to Byzantine time with a slow evolution. A type of drinking den in the Ottoman empire, the name comes from the Persian "mey" meaning ‘wine’ and "khāneh" meaning ‘house’. These joints used to be described as small dark spaces, often underground, with few or no windows, wooden stools and low tables by a bar, and casks filled with wine lining the walls.


Under Ottoman rule, meyhanes were owned by non-Muslims, who were generally allowed to produce and sell their own wine outside of Muslim districts. Although rakı entered the meyhane scene in the 16th century, it played second fiddle to wine until the 19th century.

Meyhane in North Cyprus

The meyhane today is where people sit together around tables draped in red or white linen, eat a colossal amount of meze’s, meat or seafood, and sip raki. More than just a place to eat and drink, it's a place where conversation takes centre stage, where hearts are poured out as the rakı flows, and where quenching the thirst of the soul matters more than satisfying the hunger of the stomach. Meyhane culture differs to other counterparts in the Mediterranean. You won't find a menu, and a feast of local delicacies will be brought to the table one after the other, until you say stop. Starting with a spread of cold Meze’s, several plates of different types, no less than fifteen, are the start of the almost banquet serving. Specialities unique to Northern Cyprus include green olives known as Chakistes, pickled Quail eggs, Samarella which consists usually of goat’s meat that's salted and cured for preservation, and Tahin, a sesame paste made from toasted and ground sesame seeds mixed with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, a staple of any Cypriot meze. If you're drinking rakı, you can ask for Beyaz Peynir (white ewe’s milk cheese matured in brine) to always be accompanied by slices of fresh melon.

Warm meze’s follow, usually with grilled Hellim in pitta bread, Çiğer which is diced liver either grilled or fried, Magarina Bulli, tubular pasta cooked and served with chicken, sprinkled with grated Hellim and dried mint. A meat platter arrives soon after, from Köfte (meatballs) to Lamb and Chicken Şiş (skewered), Chops, to the infamous Seftali Kebab, a type of crépinette, with a lamb filling mixed with finely chopped onion and parsley, seasoned with salt and pepper. If you have room for dessert, you 'll be served mixed seasonal fruit, a type of Macun which is a traditional fruit preserve and inherent part of Cypriot culture, and most meyhanes will also offer a serving of the infamous Kırbaç, which literally translates as “the Whip” – a blend of Nor, a fresh mild whey cheese produced in Cyprus, and cream or milk, drizzled with local honey and topped with walnuts.


Before leaving, you'll be offered a Kahve (Turkish coffee) to help digest the feast. You'll be amazed by the great value for money you receive in meyhanes and you probably won't be able to finish everything served to you. The more traditional concentrations are inland, in Nicosia or neighbouring Gönyeli, but you'll find more than one Meyhane in almost every town, and it's likely any local can direct you to one. Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appétit!

Guides > Culture >  Music

North Cyprus is home to a really wide variety of music and musicians and you can find great venues to listen to music, get involved or dance to what you hear. 


The island has wonderful home-grown talent in classical music and rock and music classes and private tuition are available to learn new skills.


Many restaurants, hotels and casinos have their own house bands, providing jazz, pop and Turkish music that pull in local crowds as well as guests.


Classical music is one of North Cyprus’ most heavily promoted genres, with classical music festivals throughout the year where you can experience orchestras, chamber choirs, tenor singers, quartets and trios, often at historic venues.  Smaller venues hold traditional music evenings during the summer months.  Classical music also incorporates the tradition of ‘Fasıl’ music which has its roots in the Ottoman era. This is a blend of instrumental and vocal music dating back to the 14th century.

Jazz is popular and can often be heard in bigger 5 star hotels.  

Music in North Cyprus

Club or disco music is played in clubs all summer long, and you can often just follow the sound to find out where it’s coming from.  DJs from all over the world come to North Cyprus to entertain packed audiences at the various beach clubs and continue well into the morning.


Rock music has a healthy following and live rock music is in many pubs and bars.  There's a number of good local musicians and bands around and they normally play at the live music venues.  The bigger rock bands that visit from Türkiye will mostly get to play at the larger beach club venues. During big Public Holidays such as Şeker Bayram and Kurban Bayram, there’s an explosion of Turkish music with stars arriving en masse to entertain the many visiting Turkish mainlanders and the locals with their glitz and glamour and unique style of entertainment.

Guides > Culture >  Myths & Legends

Pygmalion & GalateaThe ancient city of Karpasia was a harbour town 4km west of today’s Dipkarpaz village. It was established during pagan times as a city-state before Christianity. Today, it’s possible to see the fortification walls and columns of the palace in the sea. It was the legendary King Pygmalion who founded this city, one of the oldest in Cyprus, which also gave its name to the Karpaz Peninsula. Pygmalion lived alone in his palace. Having an artistic character, he decorated his palace with his own carved marble sculptures. He wasn’t satisfied with the women around him and was waiting for his ideal woman – his Queen. One day, he began to carve a beautiful woman, sculpted from snow-white marble and day by day fell in love with it. He stroked its cheeks and hair and gave it pearls, seashells jewellery and flowers. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, took pity on Pygmalion and wanted to end his sorrow. One day when the King returned to his palace and hugged the sculpture, he realised it had come to life, had colour in its cheeks and was looking at him lovingly. Pygmalion gave the fair skinned woman the name “Galatea” which means “as white as milk”.  

Myths & Legends in North Cyprus

The King had found his Queen. He married her and they had a son named Paphos, who grew up to become a strong handsome man. Pygmalion called his son to him and said: “Dear Son, I have established my kingdom at thevery easternmost point of the island. Go to the west and found your own kingdom.” It’s believed that the city of Paphos or Baf, was founded by and named after Paphos, the son of King Pygmalion.

Aphrodite & Adonis

Kinyras, the King of Cyprus, had a daughter who was a legendary beauty called Smyrna. One day her father claimed his daughter was more beautiful than the goddess Aphrodite. When Aphrodite heard this, she took revenge by making the King and his daughter fall in love with each other. They both fell under the effect of the spell, and she became pregnant by her father. Ashamed and afraid, she sought refuge in a forest while the King looked everywhere for her with the intention of murdering her. Symrna begged to the gods and Zeus took pity on her, turning Smyrna into a myrtle tree to save her. After nine months, the princess, who was pregnant when she transformed into a tree, gave birth to her son Adonis by ripping apart the trunk of the tree. The goddess Aphrodite found this beautiful baby on the trunk of the tree and took care of the child, taking him to live with her. As he grew up, Adonis became very handsome leading to Aphrodite and the goddess of the underworld, Persephone, coming into conflict over him. Zeus and Olimpos ended the battle between these two goddesses by deciding that Adonis should live for 6 months of the year with Aphrodite and 6 months of the year with Persephone. As he prepared to meet Aphrodite, Adonis was engaging in his favourite activity, hunting, when he encountered a wild boar. A fight took place between them and Adonis was badly wounded. Bleeding and in pain he attempted to reach Aphrodite, but lost all his strength, collapsing to the ground and taking his final breath. As it turned out, the life of Adonis was very brief …. like a flower. Aphrodite couldn’t accept his death and cried for days. From that time, nature stepped in to make this love immortal. The red and white anemones, a flower with a very short life span, blossom in Cyprus, in the place where Adonis, died. The red anemones symbolise the blood spilling from the wounds of Adonis and the white ones the tears of Aphrodite and the yellow one represent this tragic end.

The Olive Tree

In the past, the wealth of people was measured by the number of olive trees they owned. Weddings were only scheduled after the harvest of the olives in Templo, today’s Zeytinlik village. The olive tree is a sacred tree which had economic, cultural and spiritual value. The sanctity of the olive tree is believed to be based on a legend about Jesus Christ. It was said that Jesus hid on top of an olive tree while he was trying to escape from his enemies and after the enemies went by, he said this prayer: “live 100 years more than the person who cultivated you, give plentiful fruit and oil and make your owners rich.” The olive tree asked “what will happen if they cut and burn me?”. He replied: “the smoke which comes from your wood and leaves will protect you from devilry and envy”. Today for the people of Cyprus, as for the Zeytinlik villagers, the olive leaf has a sacred meaning offering protection from evil.

St Mamas

St Mamas was a priest who was born in Cyprus and gave his name to the church in Guzelyurt. He was was living in a cave in the region when a mandate decreed everyone was to pay taxes. Mamas refused to pay saying that since he was living in a cave he didn’t enjoy any of the government’s facilities. He was arrested and on his journey to Lefkosa, a lion jumped into the road while chasing a lamb. As Mamas raised his hand, suddenly the lion paused. Mamas picked up the lamb, mounted the lion, and rode on its back until he reached the throne room of the Duke who proposed the tax rule. The Duke was so shocked that he agreed to waive Mamas payment.

Five Finger Mountains

A beautiful girl lived in a village in the mountains which form a backdrop of today’s Girne. Two young men loved this girl - one was good-hearted the other wasn’t. They decided to have a duel on the edge of a marsh in Merserya. The malevolent one wounded the good man by putting him in the marsh. The good-hearted youth gradually started to sink in the marshy area while he was trying to push himself up out of the mud. He raised his sword with a final effort, and as the sword slipped from his grasp, he was buried with five fingers open to the sky. In time the marshy area dried out and the good-hearted youth’s hand turned into mountains resembling his five fingers.

The Nursing Rock on Top of The Fortifications of Gamimagusa

There is a location on the fortifications of Gazimagusa where a white liquid flows like milk. The people of Gazimagusa think it has a specific and extraordinary power. Women who have just given birth, who have difficulty in breast feeding, come to this place to make a wish. It’s also visited by women who want to have children, who come to touch the rock.

Petrified Lions of The Gate of The Harbour

The sculptures on the right side of the sea gate of the Othello Castle belong to a lion and its cub. According to legend, the lion had tried to eat its cub and they were turned into stone. One of the sculptures is lost. According to another legend, the lion opens its mouth at an unknown time of an unknown day once a year and the person who puts their hand into the mouth of the lion will find an unbelievable treasure.

The Legend of Canbalut Pasha

The Venetians had placed a rotating wheel with knives around it, at the gate of the city to cut invading soldiers in half. Canbulat Bey was fed up of the siege as it was taking so long and rode his horse towards the wheel, was decapitated but replaced his head and continued to fight. After the conquest of the war, he lay down in peace and died a martyr.

The Legend of St Barnabas

St Barnabas was born Jewish in Salamis and met Jesus Christ during one of his journeys to Palestine. He came to Cyprus 46 years after the death of Jesus and was killed by local Jewish people when he attempted to spread Christianity. His corpse was hidden in a marshy area from which they planned to throw it into the sea but his supporters rescued his corpse and buried his corpse in a cave to the west of Salamis, putting a copy of the Bible, written by St Matthew, with him. The place of the grave wasn’t known and was kept secret. 432 years after his death, Bishop Anthemios saw the grave in his dream, identified its location and asked for it to be opened. When the grave was opened the Bible was found and the grave was easily identified as that of St Barnabas. In AD 477 the monastery was built on the site of that grave and today is one of the most important places for Greek Orthodox Cypriots.

The Castle of St Hilarion

St Hilarion castle was built in the 6th century AD and took its name from a hermit of the same name. According to legend, a group of young men visited the castle on what was known as “Wish Day”, the only day of the year when wishes were accepted and the one day in every 40 years when the door of the 101st room was opened. The young men, finding this door opened, swarmed into that room, saw it full of treasure and started to grab everything they saw. One tried to take the crown, sceptre and sword. In their greed they didn’t realise their time was up and the doors slammed shut. They slept for 40 years in the room and when the day came, the doors opened again and they returned back to their villages. They’d stayed the same age but their children had grown old and many of their peers were dead already.

The Legend of Apostolos Andreas

The Monastery of Apostolos Andreas is a sacred place for both Turkish and Greek people. Its’ sanctity comes from the water which flows through the rocks where a monastery and church were built, believed to be a place visited by St Andreas. (St Andrew). The legend of Apostolos Andreas is that the romans had learned about his attempts to spread Christianity round the Mediterranean and Black Sea and decided to send him to Rome. En route, the captain of the ship transporting him was worried because they were out of water. Apostolos Andreas said “I can find water for you” and asked for permission to land. When he stepped ashore they discovered the spring flowing through the rocks. The Captain set him free and the Andreas decided to settle there. Following the spread of Christianity the news of the miracle of Andreas spread. People began to believe the healing power of the water and the monastery became a shrine. According to Muslims, this sacred water is “the miracle of Hz. Suleyman”. They believe anyone who drinks the water will be healed; a blind person will see; and a paralysed person will walk. Those who drink from the sacred water, take away bottles of water for those who can’t visit. Turkish people make wishes by lighting a candle at Christmas. The Christians also shape their candles according to their wishes and bring bottles of olive oil.


The Queen of Yuzbirevler

During the Lusignan Dynasty, the name of the castle of St Hilarion was changed to “Dieu D’Amour” - “Castle of the Goddess of Love”. The castle was also known as the “Castle of Regina” – “Castle of the Queen”. The Queen was famous not only for her beauty but also her evil nature. According to legend, the queen was sitting on top of a high rock controlling the building works during the construction of the castle. She didn’t give permission for the builders to rest as they carried sand, water, and pebbles from the sea to the mountain. Finally the construction was completed and the queen moved into the palace. Having no further use for the builders, she called them to the palace and threw them out of the window. She also threw soldiers from the window when they'd finished their guard duties. It was said she didn’t want anyone alive who took a role during the construction of the palace. Today, the Gothic style decorated window, facing to the northwest is known as the “Queen’s Window”.

The Castle of Buffavento

Buffavento is an Italian name meaning “disobeying the wind” and also has a story relating to a Queen. According to legend, a Byzantine princess got leprosy and retired to the castle to isolate herself. The princess had a dog who also had leprosy. The dog would leave the castle every day and disappear behind the southern peak returning to the castle some time later. The princess noticed one day that the dog was healthy again, so she followed it the next day and saw it bathe in a natural spring. She bathed in it as well and was cured. She had the Church of St John Chrysostomos built over the place where she discovered the healing spring.

The Legend of Fire Rock

A villager always complained about God and blamed him for any negative thing, including the bad harvest. Shepherds meeting around the rock of fire, after releasing their animals into the Five FInger Mountains, heard him complaining and said to the farmer that he should go back to the rock of fire and make his complaints directly to God there. The farmer climbed to the top of the mountain, raised his hands and started shouting at God like a mad man. He was hit by lighting and turned to stone. If you visit the rock of fire which shines very brightly during sunset, you’ll see that it does look like a human silhouette.

The Legend of the Phoenix

A big stone in the Ciklos region looks like a huge half-divided egg which is known as the Soil Stone or Egg Stone. According to legend, the Ciklos region is the nest of the phoenix and after the death of his mate, he protected his last egg. He sat on the egg day after day during incubation, but eventually left the egg to get food because he was hungry. The egg hatched, crows ate the newly hatched phoenix and the race became extinct. It's said that crows circle on top of the rock because they haven’t forgotten the taste of the phoenix.

The Legend of Hz. Omer’s Tomb

One day a shepherd, known as Mad Hasan of Catalkoy, spotted a pirate ship at sea and began to pray. Suddenly, seven Arabic cavaliers appeared, rode across the surface of the sea to reach the ship with sparks coming out of their horseshoes, sank it, then quickly disappeared, thus protecting Catalkoy from attack. No one believed Mad Hasan until they saw the marks left by the horseshoes on the rocks and understood they were cavaliers of Hz. Omer. As a result of this legend which is based on the horseshoe prints on the rocks, the Ottomans have constructed seven graves and a shrine which have a symbolic meaning. Since then, this place has become a sacred place for the Muslims who live in Cyprus and they visit this shrine especially during religious festivals when they pray and make offerings.

Guides > Culture >  Radio Stations

BBC World Service North Cyprus
Radio Ant1 North Cyprus
Radio Astra North Cyprus
Radio Bayrak North Cyprus
Radio Dance FM North Cyprus
Radio Kiss North Cyprus
Radio MixFM North Cyprus
Radio NRG North Cyprus
Radio Sfera North Cyprus
Radio Super North Cyprus
Radio Supersport North Cyprus
Radio TBB North Cyprus
Radio Zenith North Cyprus
Radio Capital North Cyprus
Radio Rap North Cyprus

Guides > Culture >  Stamps

Turkish Cypriot stamps are highly sought after by philatelists around the world due to their designs, limited series print, thematic subjects and historical past.

Pre-Philatelic Periods

The first letter known in Cyprus was a commercial letter written in Italian, dated 17th June 1353, and sent from Famagusta to Istanbul. The date corresponds to Lusignan rule although it was the Venetians who set up postal organisation on the island. In those days written letters were folded like an envelope and stamped with a wax seal. In addition, captains of the vessels transporting letters were placing their own signs and signatures on the letters they were carrying.

Philatelic Period

Austrian Postal Services

Austrian Lloyd was a maritime company set up as a postal agency in 1837. Initially stamps weren’t used on letters which were sealed. In following years, stamp and seal were used together.

Stamps in North Cyprus

Ottoman Postal Services

Ottomans set up a post office in Lefkosa in 1871 but it was closed when the British took over in 1878.

British Postal Services

The British set up a post office in Larnaca on 27rh July 1878. British stamps were used for about 2 years as there weren’t any Cypriot stamps. Later the word CYPRUS was overprinted on British stamps and this continued for a year. The first series of Cypriot stamps were printed on 1st July 1881. The last series of stamps printed by the British for Cyprus were put on sale on 1st August 1955 and were used until 15th August 1960 when the Republic of Cyprus was established.

Republic of Cyprus

On 16th August 1960 a Republic based on partnership by Turks and Greeks was established in Cyprus. When Turks opposed unification with Greece, armed clashes resulted and Turks were dismissed from the organs of the Republic. Greek Cypriots started applying postal service embargoes on Turks, thus preventing freedom of communication.

Turkish Cypriot Postal Services

Turkish Cypriot postal services were established on 6th January 1964, a short while after armed clashes between the two Cypriot communities. The first Turkish Cypriot stamp was printed on 8th April 1970, named “Social Aid”, was used as both a revenue and postage stamp and bore the name “Assembly of the Turkish Community”.  The Turkish Red Cross Association helped Turkish Cypriots in their communication with foreign countries especially with Turkey. Letters collected in Nicosia Post Office were handed over to the Red Crescent, then transferred to Ankara where they were stamped and distributed to Turkish addresses.  


There was an agreement to normalise postal services in 1966. Greek Cypriots permitted Turkish Cypriots to have one post office in the towns of Nicosia, Famagusta and Lefka and agents in Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos with the condition that only the name “The Republic of Cyprus” be used and this was the case until 1970. Letters sent between Turkish quarters of the island carried the Social Aid stamps and letters sent overseas carried stamps of The Republic of Cyprus.


After 1974 these arrangements were abandoned. Turkish Cypriot Stamps issued on 29th October 1973 commemorated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. They were issued with the name of “Turkish Cypriot Administration” and is the first series accepted as the real Turkish Cypriot postage stamp. After the 1974 intervention by Turkey, the first post office branch was opened in Kyrenia and started to communicate with foreign countries by post. Stamps, beside their usage for postal services, are also used to present a country to the world. Turkish stamps have as themes, natural beauty, flora and fauna, famous people, important events and anniversaries. They’ve been printed annually since 1975.

Special Edition Stamps

The postal service often releases Special Edition Stamps such as in the spring, or before particular bayram holidays etc. The Postal Department also has a Philatelist Section which collectors can contact to receive limited editions and special first day covers. Private purchases can also be made.

Guides > Culture >  The Noble Peasant

Why is the desire to build monuments so strong and lasting? What is it that sparks the desire or need to build monuments? For thousands of years, humans have had the desire to be remembered. This is done as a reminder of the life and accomplishments of an individual, society, or nation. The desire to leave art and artefacts for posterity is a natural human response. To allow the lessons and experiences of one’s own life to mean something to future generations is an innate human desire. Building monuments creates an everlasting object symbolising the life and accomplishments of an individual or a society, bringing meaning and understanding to future generations.

The imposing and majestic proportions of a monumental sculpture give a sense of strength and evoke admiration and wonder. Great outdoor monumental sculptures create a lasting visual appeal, are prestigious, and often attract large numbers of tourists. The powerful effects of a monumental statue, in one particular case, has had important consequences.

The Noble Peasant in North Cyprus

A visit to Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro elicited a powerful reaction in Erbil Arkin, founder of ARUCAD University of Creative Arts and Design. i.e., a large community of vegetation and wildlife adapted to a specific climate - that will showcase different aspects of Cyprus’s natural habitat.


The current area is well stocked with young pine trees and maquis shrub. Of the trees that will be introduced to the area, many will be saplings sourced from the Forestry Department that will allow the hillside to grow and develop organically over time.In part, it was the way that Corcovado Mountain dominated the city of Rio, much in the way the Five Finger Mountain Range does to Kyrenia. For Mr. Arkin, however, the idea that was germinating was for a statue in Cyprus that all Cypriots would identify with as being inherent to their culture and traditions. His desire was for a monument to The Noble Peasant that would celebrate and exalt the inner nobility of ordinary folk.

In a country that has witnessed divisions and conflict in its past, a unifying factor was that almost all Cypriots were, only a few generations ago, sons and daughters of the soil - farmers, animal husbanders, peasants.  The Noble Peasant, 40 metres in height and standing sentinel over the coastline, has the potential to bring world renown to North Cyprus as a symbol of pride in the capabilities and resourcefulness of its people. As a work of engineering and artistic excellence, it will long outlast our lifetimes and will be a gift to future generations. It is currently under construction and can be seen slowly emerging on the hillside that overlooks Girne. It will surely be the most iconic building in Northern Cyprus when finished.

The Park

The Noble Peasant Park covers a large area of over 23 hectares and has been conceived and designed in conjunction with the Noble Peasant Statue Project. The park is situated on a prominent hill to the south of the coastal town of Kyrenia and is surrounded by the spectacular backdrop of the Five Finger Mountains. While the immediate plaza area around the statue is envisaged as having slightly formal, tended gardens, much in the way of the urban parks of Europe, the much larger, wider hill area is intended to be designed to be a semi-“wilded” environment and laid out in biomes - i.e., a large community of vegetation and wildlife adapted to a specific climate - that will showcase different aspects of Cyprus’s natural habitat. The current area is well stocked with young pine trees and maquis shrub. Of the trees that will be introduced to the area, many will be saplings sourced from the Forestry Department that will allow the hillside to grow and develop organically over time.

Guides > Culture >  Theatre

Turkish Cypriot theatre and shadow puppetry have been very popular in North Cyprus for centuries as they were the only sources of entertainment for people prior to TV. Even when cinemas opened in towns and cities, it was still difficult for village folk to reach urban centers, so shadow plays continued to play a prominent role in cultural life.


Theatre has served as entertainment and an instructive medium and adopted an identity of their own both in subject matter and style. In particular, the Shadow Game (Karagöz) has long been a popular play in North Cyprus and has become an institution for Turkish Cypriots.

Local theatre evolved from traditional Turkish theatre then adopted Western theatre styles and techniques at the beginning of the 20th Century. Founded in 1963, the first Turkish Cypriot theatre was called ‘First Stage’ and later became known as the Turkish Cypriot State

Theatre in North Cyprus

Theatre in 1966. It has staged various plays both in TRNC and abroad. Today, local and foreign theatre groups also operate alongside the Turkish Cypriot State Theatre. Many local and foreign theatre groups add variety and liveliness to the cultural life of North Cyprus during theatre festivals.

There is the International Cyprus Theatre Festival for example, often held at one of the large university complexes, but which also stages one off shows in town squares or castles, offering up to a month’s worth of stage plays, puppet and dance theatre. Theatre companies from Türkiye, such as the famous Büyükşehir Belediyesi Şehir Tiyatrosu from Istanbul, come to perform as well as groups from Ankara, Russia and local Turkish Cypriot theatre companies.

There are several theatre companies based in North Cyprus, one of the main being Sidetreets in Lefkoşa. Popular private companies include Lefkoşa Belediye Tiyatrosu and Maras Emek Theatre, as well as a comedy theatre group called Kıbrıs Türk Komedi Tiyatrosu which is based in Famagusta. Some shows are silent, so there's no problem with language barriers, but even if the mother tongue isn't Turkish, lots of people attend plays just to see the exceptional standards of acting, and some of the stories are so old and well known it doesn’t take a genius to work out the storylines. Lefkoşa, Kyrenia and Famagusta are all host to an array of theatre activities. For foreign residents KADS, (Kyrenia Amateur Dramatics Society), puts on productions of well known English plays during the year at various locations in Kyrenia, and has even broadcast their productions on radio.

Guides > Culture >  Traditional Handicrafts

The handicrafts of each country represent the heritage and culture of that country, and Northern Cyprus is no different. Many traditional handicrafts are still made today and carry on the legacy of years of knowledge, culture and expertise. For example:

Embroidered Lace

Undoubtedly the most famous handicraft of Northern Cyprus is the embroidery lace, known as the Lefkaritika net. The art dates back to the 15th century and was inspired by the Venetians Local women got ideas from the delicate embroidery on Venetian clothes and put them on their own net. Traditionally, a Cypriot girl had to have an extended collection of Lefkara Lace ready for exhibition on her wedding day, and in this way, skills have passed from mother to daughter.

For centuries, women from villages and small towns have sat side by side, embroidering on linen fabrics. Cyprus Lefkara Lace is made of

Traditional Handicrafts in North Cyprus

linen with thread, and varies in shapes and cutting techniques used to decorate the final hand craft. It's quite distinctive and notable characteristics are the hemstitch, satin stitch fillings, and needlepoint edgings. These form linens such as tablecloths and napkins which are only made in white, brown and ecru colours. The other distinctive feature of fine lace in Northern Cyprus is that there's no difference between the front and back of any piece. Only lace made in this traditional way is considered to be authentic. The design for Lefkara Lace is first drawn onto paper, and then a transparent second sheet placed over this to protect the lace. Needles are placed along the design outline, and a thread tied to the front-most needle. The thread is then run around the outside of all the needles and tied to the last needle. Once three layers of such threads have been built up, they are stitched together like a buttonhole. Gradually, the lace starts to form, rising out from the paper base. The result is an incredibly delicate, intricate and true labour of love. The skilled art is recognised on the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage List, defined as ‘practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills’ from around the world that are protected for their invaluable cultural heritage. The linens became an important trade under Venetian rule, so famous that even Leonardo da Vinci personally visited Cyprus to find embroidery for decorating the altar of the Duomo Cathedral in Milan. When visiting small villages, you may come across ladies sitting on their front porch busily hand-embroidering, working the lace as they have done for centuries. Lace work of Lefkara is a hot buy for visitors perhaps even as a gift to pass down through generations in truly Cypriot fashion. Available in souvenir or handicraft shops, the most renowned are at the Buyuk Han in Lefkosa.

Wicker Weaving

You can't ignore the wicker baskets! The bright and cheerful designs of these mat weavers in shops and restaurant walls all over the country, attract your attention. Mat weaving in Northern Cyprus is a unique art, as each weaver has his or her own weaving pattern. Plant knitting is where tree trunks, leaves, and twigs are used in mat weaving, by cutting them into thin strips to make baskets, bread trays, brooms, or jewelry boxes.


Straw Chairs

In many handicraft shops in North Cyprus you'll find chairs made of straw. Each of these miniature chairs has a very complex texture, being very light, yet durable, and are still very popular among Turkish Cypriot families.

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