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  • Locations | North Cyprus Whatsonintrnc

    Guides > Locations Alsancak Çatalköy Hidden Getaways Lapta Tatlisu Bahçeli Esentepe Iskele Lefke West Coast Bellapais Famagusta Karşıyaka Nicosia Zeytinlik Boğaz (Karpaz) Güze lyurt Kyrenia Ozanköy Guides > Locations > Alsancak Alsancak is a large village situated on the hillside, yet still reasonably close to the coast. Many ex-pats love this traditional village due to the green surroundings and well-developed infrastructure. It's 15 minutes from Kyrenia but has great facilities including English school and supermarkets, as well as hotels and restaurants. There are several beautiful beaches to visit. The most popular beach is the Escape Beach Club, which offers lots of entertainment, water sports, music, restaurant and bar. There are other beaches near to the Merit Crystal Cove Hotel and the twin hotels, Merit Premium & Casino Hotel and the Merit Royal. The Alsancak Folk Dance festival takes place in July. ​ Distances from Alsancak : Kyrenia - 16 mins Ercan - 55 mins Larnaca - 90 mins Top Guides > Locations > Bahçeli Heading further along the Esentepe Coast road you'll find the Bahçeli Coast area. This area gets its name from Bahçeli village which doesn't have a lot of property options svailable but the coastline below the village boasts popular new developments right on the coast. Restaurants in this area include the very popular Coconut Bar as well as great local options including the Sea Breeze overlooking the coast. Average distances from Bahçeli : Kyrenia - 30 mins Ercan Airport - 40 mins Larnaca Airport - 85 mins Top Guides > Locations > Bellapais Tourists come from all over the world to experience the historic Bellapais , made more famous by Lawrence Durrell in his book “Bitter Lemons of Cyprus .” This charming and atmospheric hillside village is just 10 minutes from Kyrenia but a world away in time. Bellapais Abbey is the centre of attraction and was built by monks who fled the Saracen conquest of Jerusalem over 900 years ago. The spring that watered their vegetable garden still flows down the valley. Throughout spring and summer, the Abbey is the venue for the Bellapais Music Festival , filling the warm air with music. Outside, you can still sip coffee and while away the hours at the café under Durrell’s ‘Tree of Idleness" a giant mulberry that has been there almost as long as the Abbey. The most famous restaurants are the Bellapais Gardens Hotel Restaurant, perched on the steep hillside giving one of the best views in Northern Cyprus, and the charming Kybele Restaurant , a popular venue for wedding receptions, which is set almost in the grounds of the Abbey itself with stunning views down the hill to the Mediterranean. Bellapais offers some of the most interesting traditional craft and jewellery shops and lovely local cafes . Further down the hill is the English School of Kyrenia, making this village a very attractive place for families wishing to buy property. ​ Distances from Bellapais: Kyrenia - 10 mins. Ercan Airport - 40 mins. Larnaca Airport – 1 hour 40 mins. Karakum public beach - 3 mins. Cratos Hotel beach - 3 mins. English School of Kyrenia – 3 mins. Top Guides > Locations > Boğaz (Karpaz) The East coast is dominated by the ancient walled and modern cities of Famagusta and many of the original villages near to the city have been absorbed into the metropolis. 35 minutes north of Famagusta, if you're seeking the village atmosphere, you should visit the village of charming harbour village of Boğaz , which in Turkish literally means “throat", or "pass”. This east coast Boğaz village should not be confused with the “Girne Boğaz” village which is between Lefkosa (Nicosia) and Girne (Kyrenia). As a visitor or local resident in one of the many new developments near to this Bogaz harbour village, you can enjoy a lovely lunch or evening meal, looking out over the Mediterranean and watching the fishing boats coming into the small marina. There's a large supermarket nearby although most of the shops and other restaurants are found in the area of Iskele. ​ Distances from Boğaz : Famagusta - 35 mins. Ercan Airport - 50 mins. Larnaca Airport - 70 mins. Top Guides > Locations> Çatalköy “Çatalköy” literally means “forked village ” and is so named as the roads split in two directions in the village. The heart of the village is very traditional with local coffee shops, mosque and mini markets. Lower Çatalköy stretches right down to the sea, with great local supermarkets on the main road. Wxtremely sought-after area for both locals and ex-pats seeking a residence and offers an ideal location being near all facilities yet still having a village centre. Homes here include restored old houses, luxury villas with pools andmodern apartments. Çatalköy has two of the country’s biggest 5-star hotels, the Cratos and the Malpas . Çatalköy also offers two beautiful beach clubs – the Shayna Beach club (a small sandy bay, which is very popular with the locals) and the Cornaro beach club which is part of the Malpas Hotel. There's a huge number of restaurants in Çatalköy, offering wonderful seafront locations, fabulous fresh local cuisine and occasional live music in the summer. ​ Distances from Çatalköy : Kyrenia – 10 mins. Beach clubs – 3 mins. Ercan Airport - 40 mins. Larnaca Airport - 90 mins. Top Guides > Locations> Esentepe “Esentepe” means “windy hill ”. Perched on the top of a hill, this charming old village, 25 minutes east of Kyrenia, has some of the best views on the North East Coast of Cyprus that stretch all the way along the coast to Kyrenia and beyond. The village is up a sweeping road up the hill from the coast road. The village square has at its heart an old Church which has been converted to the local mosque, and an increasing number of shops aserving locals and ex-pats alike. There's lots of local and traditional eateries, several shops and supermarkets, the local council offices and a small medical centre with ambulance station. This is a great place to visit and enjoy the fabulous views whilst enjoying a drink, coffee or a meal with a great view! ​ The name Esentepe was originally used only for the hilltop village but now refers to a coastal area stretching for about 5 miles from Korineum Golf Course to the east all the way to Esentepe Beach to the west with much in between. Although these Esentepe coastal facilities aren't on a windy hill, they all took the name when they were built. Korineum Golf Club includes Korineum Beach Club, Restaurants and Spa which are all open to non-residents. Just past this on the coast are some of the best known new “villages” that offer their own facilities and are the locations of choice for many ex-pats who can enjoy the beach while still being able to drive up the hill to the original Esentepe village for banking and medical facilities. The best-known beaches in the Esentepe area are Esentepe public sandy beach and the private Korineum Beach Club, open to the public for a daily fee. New villages such as Turtle Bay village and Carrington offer their residents private beaches. Popular local restaurants include Remzi’s, Tumba, Stone Castle, Korineum Golf club, Taro Brasserie and the famous Cengiz's. There's a petrol station close to the village turn off. ​ Average distances from Esentepe : Kyrenia - 25 mins. Ercan Airport - 45 mins. Larnaca Airport - 90 mins. Top Guides > Locations > Famagusta Famagusta , known locally as Gazimağusa or simply Mağusa, was the most important port city in Cyprus. The naturally deep harbour attracted ships, merchants and traders from all over the Mediterranean and made the city flourish with wealth. This wealth inspired merchants to build lots of churches and led to the city bing known as “the district of churches”. At one time Famagusta was said to have a church for every day of the year, each one paid for by someone hoping to buy their place in heaven. Every turn in this city reveals churches with a story to tell. Today, the area boasts some of the most impressive medieval ruins anywhere in the world. The contrasting Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque, fascinating for its gothic cathedral exterior as it was once a church, has since been converted into a mosque. A 3km walk along the Venetian walls which encircle the city, offers a wonderful insight to its history. One of the ancient City Kingdoms of Cyprus, Salamis is home to fantastic Roman ruins, containing statues, standing columns, theatre and baths. Fortresses that inspired William Shakespeare, defence models drawn by Michelangelo, Venetian Palaces inhabited by royals, hidden treasures yet to be discovered, excavated tombs with miraculous revelations, and much more. Famagusta is famous for its opulent history and a hot spot for travellers. Top Guides > Locations > Güzelyurt Travel from the capital Nicosia or alternatively head west from Kyrenia and follow the coastal route, and you 'll travel through unspoilt countryside before reaching Güzelyurt in the centre of the citrus growing area. Its name means “Beautiful Place” and its’ surrounding villages are definitely stunning. Close to the Troodos Mountains, this town is the most fertile agricultural area in Northern Cyprus growing many of its’ fruit and vegables and leads to it being called locally the “Fruit Basket ”. Also known by the Greek name of Morphou , Güzelyurt has been inhabited since the Bronze Age and was a major centre for copper mining during its history. Under British rule, it was also connected by rail to Nicosia and Famagusta. Although Güzelyurt is not as culturally or architecturally rich as other towns in Northern Cyprus, it does have deep historical roots. Visit the Archaeology and Nature Museum and the Church of St Mamas , the patron saint of tax avoiders, to see why. Built in the late 18th century, St Mamas contains Gothic and Byzantine styles as well as an exquisite glass chandelier. Its' museum holds Cypriot artefacts including ornate gold jewellery. You might want to plan your trip around the market day on a Saturday, where local produce is sold. Top Guides > Locations > Hidden Getaways Top Guides > Locations > Iskele One of the largest towns in the North, İskele is fast building a name for itself as an up-and-coming area, with wonderful golden beaches and fish restaurants. Formerly called Trikomo , legend has it as the very town the Goddess Aphrodite brought the first fruit to in Cyprus. There are two churches of historical importance in the village, Panayia Theotokos which is also a museum, built in the 12th century, and the tiny cruciform church of Ayios Iakovos (St James) erected in the 15th century. Iskele is an important tourist centre. The people are hospitable, very interested in culture and art related activities. In the municipal park of Iskele, locals and tourists stay up until the break of dawn singing live music, and enjoying sweet times past. It’s famous for its annual festival, held during the first two weeks in July, and the Mehmetcik (Galateia) grape festival, normally held during the first week in August. Both these festivals are major regional cultural events, attracting visitors across the island. Travel further North and the sandier shores and clear blue waters of Bafra are second to none. Previously an old village, Bafra has metamorphosised into a major tourism hotspot with the development of high-class hotels and casinos. On the main road from Famagusta to the Karpaz Peninsula, it’s worth a stop, if only to take in the fresh sea breeze. Top Guides > Locations > Karşıyaka The Besparmak (5 fingers) mountain range towers over Karşiyaka with the mountains here being much closer to the sea. The traditional village of Karşiyaka is on the hillside with lovely views and traditional cafes and local mini markets. There are panoramic views from both the village and the surrounding areas. Most of the newer properties are built outside of the village both on the hillside, just a short drive down to the beach, or on the coast. Karişyaka properties tend to be more easily available and priced more realistically than properties in Alsancak or Lapta. The Karşiyaka area is surrounded by nature, picnic areas and pretty little beaches. There are plenty of local traditional restaurants and European-style bars. The wide Karşiyaka bay invites you for swimming, sunbathing and walking along the seashore. ​ Distances from Karşiyaka : Kyrenia - 30 mins. Ercan Airport - 60 mins. Larnaca Airport - 1 hour 45 mins. Top Guides > Locations > Kyrenia Kyrenia , or Girne as it's known locally, has had it all for 6,000 years. Early settlers were surely attracted by the location in which this beautiful port still sits. The warm clear waters of the Mediterranean lap gently along miles of gorgeous sandy beaches, backed by the slopes of the surrounding Five Finger Mountains. Set in the midst of this stunning location is the city of Kyrenia , bursting with trendy villages and historical sites. Throughout its history, Kyrenia has attracted great civilisations to enjoy and add their stamp to its culture. Greek, Roman, French, Ottoman and British architecture and customs remain, packed in the town’s cobbled streets, small harbour and magnificent castle. This sits spectacularly opposite the harbour wall. Once guarding the bustling port, it now provides a backdrop to stunning quayside cafes, bars and restaurants. The citadel is packed with artefacts from its past to be appreciated by everyone. Kyrenia gives you an experience you'll treasure. It's an amazing city filled with luxury accommodation and a host of leisure spots and events. Top Guides > Locations > Lapta Lapta village (on the hill) is favoured by those who really want a traditional village experience, with a maze of windy hillside lanes and roads and lovely local facilities and restaurants. Here ex-pats can purchase both converted village houses and newer properties which have been built closer to the sea. The area around Lapta is full of citrus trees – the lemon is the symbol of Lapta. The spring Orchid Festival takes places here. Lapta coast boasts a brand new seaside walkway, a fully-paved area for leisure and exercise right on the Mediterranean coast. The “Lapta strip” right on the coast is one of the most developed holiday areas on the North Coast of Cyprus with a multitude of bars and restaurants making this a popular area with holidaymakers. There are numerous venues for shopping and relaxation. The Sunset Beach Club is very popular with its traditional summer BBQ nights. Distances from Lapta : Kyrenia - 20 mins. Ercan Airport - 60 mins. Larnaca Airport - 100 mins. Top Guides > Locations > Lefke A small town bordered by picturesque coastline, the Troodos Mountains, lakes and reservoirs. Water from mountain springs flows down to fertile plains with rich soil and gentle climate. No surprise the area's known as ‘The Fruit Basket of Cyprus ’. Fruit, nuts and citrus groves flourish. In summer, check out the Orange Festival in nearby Güzelyurt, the Walnut Festival in July and the date festival in the autumn. In Roman times, Lefke was a thriving copper and gold mining town. Evidence of this remains, along with 3 mosques from the Ottoman period and houses that reflect the town’s colonial history. Nearby are the ancient city of Soli and the Palace of Vouni. Soli is famous for its Roman remains, particularly the Basilica, with its mosaic floor, and an amphitheatre which has been restored and now presents plays and concerts. The Palace at Vouni enjoys a spectacular cliff-top location and the ruins will remind you of bygone splendour. Beyond Lefke is the lovely border town of Yesilirmak with its Strawberry festival at the end of April and early May. Nearer to Guzelyurt is the village of Gaziveren . Top Guides > Locations> Nicosia Nicosia, or Lefkoşa as it's known locally, is the largest city and capital of Northern Cyprus. It brims character, and is an intriguing look into the past. The city’s best known feature is probably the 14ft tall Venetian Wall that was built to encircle the city, complete with 11 bastions and 3 city gates. Built in the 16th century, and still in excellent condition, the walls surround the Old Town. Not much has changed there for many years and a stroll through it will see you appreciate the calm and relaxed atmosphere as you admire architectural treasures. The Buyuk Han, the ‘Great Inn ’ was built by the Ottomans in 1572 and is today a beautiful courtyard with shops and cafés. From the Selimiye Mosque with its gothic cathedral exterior to a 400-year-old Great Hammam Turkish bath house, there's so many historical sights to appreciate. With much to discover and experience here, you'll sure to love this city’s timeless charm. Top Guides > Locations > Ozanköy Ozanköy village is a popular choice for both a holiday home and for property owners living in Northern Cyprus full time. ​ Only 5 minutes’ drive from Kyrenia, it combines great views with the quaint atmosphere of a traditional village and excellent restaurants. ​ The world-famous Bellapais Abbey can be seen from almost every spot in Ozanköy, where you can really feel the atmosphere of the past as you explore its narrow streets and traditional stone-built buildings. ​ Distances from Ozanköy : Kyrenia - 5 mins. Ercan Airport - 35 min. Larnaca Airport - 90 mins. Karakum public beach - 5 mins. Cratos Hotel beach - 5 mins. English School of Kyrenia – 5 mins. Top Guides > Locations > Tatlisu The area of Tatlisu stands at the gateway to the beautiful Karpaz peninsula with Kantara Castle towering over it in the distance. Again, like Bahceli village, the heart of the old hillside village of Tatlisu is a local Cypriot area only, but is worth visiting for the huge old Church (now a mosque) and the great views. Below the village of Tatlisu is the Tatlisu Coast area, extremely popular with ex-pats and local residents being nearer the sea, that has its own village facilities. Residential and holiday villages including Sweetwater Bay, Seaterra Marina and Caesar Bay. This area may be further from Kyrenia but has its own main road to Ercan and Larnaca Airports, which reduces airport driving time. Popular restaurants overlook the Mediterranean and there are supermarket and local café facilities as well as a petrol station. Beaches used by residents of Tatlisu tend to be either the onsite swimming facilities or for fabulous sandy beaches , a 10-minute drive east to the Tatlisu Belediye Beach, or a little further to Kaplica with its gorgeous long sandy beach and restaurant. ​ Average distances from Tatlisu : Kyrenia - 35 mins. Ercan Airport - 35 mins. Larnaca Airport - 80 mins. Top Guides > Locations > West Coast Top Guides > Locations > Zeytinlik Zeytinlik is a small, cosy village that's practically part of the town of Kyrenia, although technically just outside. ‘Zeytinlik ’ means “full of olives” and the area hosts a colourful Olive Festival each year to promote its most famous asset. Most of the properties in this village offer beautiful panoramic views, overlooking Kyrenia. ​ The village is very centrally located and offers short distances to schools, restaurants and beaches. From Zeytinlik the closest beach is approximately 5 minutes’ drive to the Karaoglanoglu municipality beach, next to the Merit Park Hotel & Casino. Top

  • Whats On In TRNC | North Cyprus

    TRNC - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

  • Health | Whats On In TRNC

    Guides > Health Dentistry & Pharmacy IVF Surgery Health Insurance Medical Tourism Tulips Cancer Charity Health System Spas Yoga Healthy Lifestyle State Hospitals Guides > Health > Dentistry & Pharmacy Top Guides > Health > Insurance There's NO equivalent to a National Health Service in the TRNC. All Medical and Dental treatments are at the cost of the patient and charges vary from one practitioner to another. Doctors and Dentists issue prescriptions, but these are payable at cost by the patient. If you're receiving a regular prescription take care to check the availability and cost of any medicines you may require. There's plenty of good doctors, dentists and hospitals, both state and private, in the TRNC, along with other health professionals. The standard of care is generally good to excellent, but it is different. In case of emergency there’s a good ambulance service, thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers and professionals. The number to ring for an ambulance is 112 . Be aware there’s no post code generated satellite navigation system, nor freely available street maps, so you may need a friend to meet with the ambulance and guide it to you, if you're not near to a well-known location. Many minor injuries are treated quickly and without cost in the emergency room of the state hospitals.​ It’s local practice that the first port of call during an illness is the local pharmacist , who provides free advice , or will recommend a visit to a doctor. There’s not a wide spread 'General Practitioner ' system, although Kamiloglu Hospital (also known as Kyrenia Medical Center) in Girne is introducing the service and a GPS ambulance system for registered patients. If you have a known particular ailment, you can go directly to a consultant for that condition. You’ll be expected to look after your own X Rays, MRI Scans etc. Most hospitals have a range of specialists. If admitted to hospital it’s usual for a carer to be present to help the patient get to the toilet etc and to provide additional needs. In State owned hospitals, it’s also usual for the carer to obtain required drugs from a nearby pharmacy. There are numerous dental surgeries, many of which have ultra-modern equipment. Health insurance Covers the cost of medical and surgical expenses . Depending on coverage, you pay then claim it back, or the insurance company pays direct, providing it’s a covered condition. Medical costs in many countries can be very expensive and there are many horror stories of ex-pats who’ve suffered serious illness, been unable to pay healthcare bills and had to sell their home, car or cash in life savings to make payments. There are also people who've had to give up their retirement or nice life to return to their home country because they can’t afford to live here with on-going medical bills. There's quite a number of health insurance plans available in Northern Cyprus from both local and overseas providers. Some of the local products may only cover up to a certain age so check them thoroughly. Cover provided and premiums payable will depend on age, type and extent of cover required and any pre-existing conditions , which is very important to declare at application stage. You should spend time and effort selecting a health insurer, understanding the benefits it offers, ensuring your agency knows the products well and can answer questions about the product and claims issues when they arise. Top Guides > Health > Health System Top Guides > Health > Healthy Lifestyle Top Guides > Health > IVF Top Guides > Health > Medical Tourism North Cyprus Medical Tourism offers state of the art medical, dental and IVF facilities, low costs and an ideal climate for post-operative recuperation . A growing number of visitors are looking to combine a visit or holiday with the opportunity to get private medical or fertility / IVF treatments, cosmetic or general surgery and dental treatments at a fraction of the usual cost in their home country. Many of these visitors currently come from the UK, Switzerland and other European countries , where operation waiting lists are long, private medical and dental treatment prices (including dental implants) are high, and where some treatments are simply not available. New hospitals such as the Near East University Hospital in Lefkosa and IVF medical establishments such as the Kolan British IVF Centre, Lefkosa IVF Centre, Dunya IVF and Miracle IVF Centre, offer world-class treatments on a par with other established health tourism destinations. The British Kolan Hospital is the biggest private hospital in North Cyprus with a good range of specialists and intensive care centre. They offer Reproductive Endocrinology and IVF, hold ISO 9001 certification, won best Hospital of the Year several years running, and have their own brand-new IVF laboratory . The availability of a wide range of specialist departments under one roof is important, as it ensures that any IVF patient experiencing complications has access to the right specialists and intensive care if needed. ​ TRNC and Switzerland 2015 saw North Cyprus Ministry of Health sign an initial agreement with two leading Swiss Medical Associations following which a joint North Cyprus-Swiss Medical Tourism Committee was formed. This led to an increase in Swiss health tourism visitors as well as enabling the exchange of technology and medical doctors and other personnel between the two countries. This is a win-win situation for patients and medical services in both North Cyprus and Switzerland ensuring TRNC’s medical facilities gain the benefit of technology and equipment used elsewhere in the general European area, while taking pressure off health services in Switzerland. Best of all, Swiss patients get the benefit of lower cost or even state-funded procedures carried out more quickly and often more effectively. Recuperation North Cyprus is a perfect location for recuperation from any sort of operation or dental procedure, whether or not you’re recuperating in a clinic, hospital bed, or hotel room. The amount saved by undergoing private medical or dental work in North Cyprus, compared with the cost for the same treatment elsewhere, easily covers the cost of the flights and often the accommodation as well. Many, particularly elderly patients, find the warm climate has an extremely positive effect on a range of conditions including arthritis and asthma, as well as being a great climate for their recovery. ​ Choose a leading hospital or private clinic As with all countries, anyone wishing to organise their own medical or dental procedure should be careful to check the credentials and references of the medical institution they’re about to visit. All North Cyprus Doctors speak English . Hospitals which are part of the major universities such as the Near East University Hospital have an excellent reputation. Be sure to get a quote in writing at the outset. Standard investigations such as MRI and CT scans can also be obtained at a fraction of the cost in other countries. There's a number of excellent private scanning companies in Lefkosa as well as very good private and specialist medical clinics and laboratories in both Lefkosa and Girne. Low-cost private healthcare in North Cyprus for residents too It’s not only tourists who benefit from state-of-the-art medical facilities in North Cyprus. Many of those who come initially for a holiday, or a vacation combined with a medical, cosmetic or dental procedure, realise what a benefit it would be to their life to live most of the year in the TRNC, and move to live there. While there’s no free national health service in North Cyprus, the costs are so low and the standard so high that, with or without pre-existing health insurance, you don’t need high income to afford good health care. In European countries, a patient wishing to see a specialist can wait weeks for an appointment. In Northern Cyprus you can literally visit a hospital or private clinic, and ask to see a specialist on that same day for a comprehensive appointment. Tests are carried out rapidly, usually on the same day , and results come fast, via high tech laboratories. Prescriptions and drug/medicine costs are extremely low in Northern Cyprus compared with other countries. For those with minor ailments who don’t need a hospital, pharmacies in North Cyprus act almost as clinics, with all pharmacists fluent in English and able to dispense a wide variety of drugs and medicines. If you have an accident in North Cyprus, or need hospital transportation, there’s an equally excellent service. The 112 TRNC Ambulance Service serves both state and private hospitals and was created by a former British NHS Manager and paramedic and all 112 ambulances are staffed by trained paramedics. There are rapid response times to medical emergencies and ambulance stations all around North Cyprus. All in all, the future for medical tourism in Northern Cyprus is looking extremely healthy, if you'll pardon the pun. Top Guides > Health > Spas With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, why not unwind at a professional spa and wellness centre in Northern Cyprus? Nothing is more important than your health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Northern Cyprus has packages for spa and wellbeing breaks to suit every budget . Spa holidays cater for everyone, whether you’re looking for a traditional spa with massages, saunas and Jacuzzi’s, to a more active fitness and wellbeing program. All hotels featured have been picked to bring you quality that won't cost the earth. Fabulous spa and wellness centres can be found at: Korineum Golf & Beach Resort Acapulco Spa Resort Grand Pasha Hotel Gillham Vineyard Salamis Bay Conti Merit Park Hotel Top Guides > Health > State Hospitals Top Guides > Health > Surgery Top Guides > Health > Tulips Cancer Charity A cancer diagnosis can turn your world upside down but Tulips can help. How can TULIPS help? Life changes immediately after hearing the words; "you have cancer". Initially it's the only thing on your mind and you can think of little else. This'll be one of the hardest battles you'll encounter and the TULIPS cancer support team will assist every step of the way through cancer treatment. They' help everyone with cancer, irrespective of nationality. ​ Help Just For You Everyone reacts differently when diagnosed with cancer. This new diagnosis can stir up a range of emotions. You may feel shock, numbness and anger. It can be hard to believe. You'll have questions like ‘why me? TULIPS support all kinds of cancer and provide practical and emotional support to the patient and their families during cancer treatment and after the treatment period . TULIPS support team are on hand to help and understand what patients are going through. Support & Information Firstly you'll have many questions about what's available in TRNC? How to organise your treatment? Can I get a second opinion? How will I organise all my tests? What costs are involved? To name but a few. TULIPS can help answer all of these , so that any decision you make about when and where you'll have your treatment, will be an informed decision based on the facts given to you. ​ Financial Worries? This is always a concern. Unless you're a citizen of TRNC you'll have to pay for all your treatment which could end up quite costly. Speak to TULIPS support workers who will help guide you through the approximate costs you'll incur. ​ Hope Shines Through Having cancer doesn’t mean you have to lose hope. Hope is the belief that a positive outcome lies ahead. This belief can be difficult to hold onto in the face of cancer, however by holding onto this sense of hope you can help yourself face cancer with strength and confidence. Hope can help ease overwhelming doubts and fears. Attitude affects everything. Make hope a way of life. ​ Fund Raising As a non-profit non-governmental organisation, raising money never ends. Fundraising is the core part of the charity who rely on your generosity. Without your support TULIPS simply can't survive or help as many cancer patients as they do. Monthly commitments are high so they can't sit back once they've completed an event, they have to continuously look forward due to the amount of people to help. TULIPS is helping some 1,800 patients at any one time and receive approx 700 new patients per year. Fundraising is not just a means of raising money but also a way to raise awareness of the charity and its goals. They're constantly looking for new donors and always on the lookout for new events or ideas to raise funds. If you've an idea for an event or wish to run one in aid of Tulips, then please contact them . Top Guides > Health > Yoga Yoga & Pilates Retreat @ Karpaz This heavenly escape is the perfect place to find comfort and peace and distract you from life’s stresses. Immerse yourself in the beauty of North Cyprus with a 5 -night stay on a full board basis with free access to hamam, saunas, beach, pool, fitness area, and more. Highlights Hatha Yoga Style Vegetarian friendly 2 professionally led classes per day Free access to hammam, saunas, beach, pool, fitness area Discount on treatments at the hammam and spa 4 hours fun boat tour Coffee break twice a day 5 nights full board accommodation Round trip airport transfers Caters for Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced Spa treatments available at extra cost Swedish massage Deep tissue massage Targeted massage Turkish spa body ritual Reflexology Hammam exfoliation Classic hammam Sultan treatment ​ Facilities Gym Health Club Sauna Spa Indoor & Outdoor Swimming pool Air-conditioned rooms & public areas Dining area, Bar, Poolside Bar, Restaurant, BBQ Lobby, Concierge, Tour assistance, Luggage Room Meeting room Luggage room / storage Multilingual staff in English, Russian, Turkish Special menu request Yoga deck & studio Free parking Free Wi-Fi Laundry, Iron & ironing board Medical assistance Airport transfer included from Ercan & Larnaca ​ The hotel’s 52 rooms and suites, named cabins (as in a yacht), are airy and cool, with crisp white sheets and touches of nautical flair such as Teak deck floors, sailing visuals, and white wood-washed ceilings. Marina, sea, and garden views invite you to enjoy the Mediterranean nature or to step onto your balcony for a nightcap beneath the stars. Program Mornings start with coffee or tea and a light snack of dates and nuts before Mat Pilates. Breakfast will then be served at Hemingway's Resto Bar before a boat tour (weather dependant) and lunch onboard or at the Beach Club. After lunch, coffee or tea is followed by the mixed-flow yoga class. Dinner on the marina front at Hemingway's Resto Bar is followed by a bonfire or Beach Hang Out and live music A 4-hour boat tour is included on day 4 of the retreat, which includes lunch onboard (the day may change depending on the weather). Location An unspoiled corner of the Mediterranean. With a rich and intriguing history, North Cyprus is a land of contrasts. Vibrant business centres and tranquil villages; traditional values and cosmopolitan lifestyle; sun-kissed beaches, fertile valleys, and snowy mountains all await discovery. In a region that remains largely untouched by the usual Mediterranean over-development, friendly locals and a community spirit provide visitors with a unique experience and memorable welcome. Fringed by long golden beaches, the region features ancient castles and abbeys, vibrant culture, and enticing cuisine. The natural landscape includes mountainous peaks as well as an abundance of flora and fauna and notable wildlife, including the region’s rare turtles and wild donkeys on the island’s Karpaz peninsula. Visit Famagusta, Nicosia, and Kyrenia for an abundance of shops and restaurants, or enjoy sites such as St Hilarion Castle, Bellapais Abbey, and the famous Apostolos Andreas Monastery. Food Hemingway’s Resto-Bar is perfectly located on the promenade. Savour traditional Cypriot cuisine, international delicacies, seasonal treats, and your favourite drinks while overlooking the marina or while enjoying the sea air outside on the terrace. By embracing the philosophy to respect, nurture and enhance the surroundings, this is a truly immersive experience within this natural marine and countryside setting. The vegetables and herbs garden provides fresh produce straight to your plate alongside their own homemade bread and fresh, locally-sourced dairy, fish, and meat. ​ Included: Tea, Coffee, Water, Breakfast, Lunch Dinner, Snacks, Drinks. Vegetarian dishes served. Special dietary requirements can be catered for. Optional extras 46ft (14m) sailing yacht charter for full and half-day sailing trips catering for up to six people RYA powerboat level 2 course Hire a luxury beach club cabana Health & Hygiene Cleaning Cleaning materials are effective against coronavirus. Linens, towels and laundry washed in line with l guidelines. Accommodation disinfected between stays. Accommodation protocols follow all local authority guidelines. Equipment for activities is disinfected before and/or after use. Physical distancing Cashless payment available. Physical distancing maintained. Instructors maintain distance from clients at all times possible. Activities take place outside where possible. Safety features Staff follow all protocols directed by local government. Hand sanitizer available in guest rooms and key areas. Process in place to check the health of guests. First aid kit available. Isolation room available. Protective masks are available for all staff. Protective masks available for clients. All staff are fully vaccinated. ​ Top

  • Vacations | Whats On In TRNC

    Guides >- Vacations Flights Tours & Excursions Hotels Transfers Car Hire Guides > Vacations > Flights > Airlines that fly to North Cyprus Turkish Airlines Corendon Pegasus Tailwind Andalou Jet Freebird Top Guides > Vacations > Hotels in North Cyprus Name Location Phone Acapulco Holiday Village Catalkoy +90 392 650 4555 Ada Hotel Alsancak +90 392 821 8236 Alda Hotel Lapta +90 392 821 8780 Alkan Holiday Village Esentepe +90 392 823 6280 Almond Holiday Village Alsancak +90 392 821 2887 Altinkaya Holiday Complex Girne +90 392 815 5001 Ambelia Village Bellapais +90 392 815 3655 Anadolu Hotel Girne +90 392 815 1174 Atlantis Hotel Girne +90 392 815 2505 Avenue Hotel Girne +90 392 815 4049 Babayigit Hotel Zeytinlik +90 392 822 3939 Bare Hill Holiday Village Alsancak +90 392 821 2609 Bella View Hotel Bellapais +90 533 852 1155 Bellapais Gardens Hotel Bellapais +90 392 815 6066 Bellapais Monastery Village Hotel Bellapais +90 392 815 9171 Bristol Hotel Girne +90 392 815 6570 Bristol Hotel Girne +90 392 815 2240 Citrus Tree Gardens Alsancak +90 392 821 2872 Colony Hotel Girne +90 392 815 1518 Cratos Premium Hotel Catalkoy +90 392 444 4242 Crystal Bay View Apartments Bahceli +90 533 836 6650 Denix Konak Butil Otek Girne +90 392 815 0541 Denizkizi Hotel Alsancak +90 392 821 2676 Dome Hotel Girne +90 392 815 2453 Dorana Hotel Girne +90 392 815 3521 Elexus Hotel Girne +90 392 650 1000 Fez Boutique Hotel & Restaurant Catalkoy +90 533 867 1781 Five Ginger Holiday Village Ozankoy +90 392 815 4096 Flippers Holiday Village Lapta +90 392 821 2729 Glaro Garden Hotel Dip Karpaz Girne +90 392 372 2410 Golden Bay Hotel Alsancak +90 392 821 8540 Golden Palms Gazimagusa +90 392 366 2277 Grand Centre Boutique Hotel Girne +90 392 816 0183 Grand Pasha Hotel Girne +90 392 650 6600 Green Holiday Village Girne +90 392 821 3300 Harbour Scene Hotel Girne +90 392 815 6855 High Life Holiday Village Karakum +90 392 815 3383 Hilarion Holiday Village Karmi +90 392 822 2563 Jasmine Court Hotel Girne +90 392 815 1450 Kaan Hotel Girne +90 392 815 4515 Kaplica Hotel Karpaz +90 533 852 1361 Kaya Palazzo Hotels & Resort Karaoglanoglu +90 392 444 5292 Kyrenia Palace Hotel Girne +90 392 815 6008 LA Holiday Centre Lapta +90 392 821 8981 Lapethos Resort Hotel Lapta +90 392 821 8961 Le Chateau Lambousa Hotel Lapta +90 392 815 3535 Life Hotel Girne +90 392 815 6521 Light House Hotel Girne +90 392 815 9665 Liman Hotel Girne +90 392 815 2001 Lord's Palace Hotel Girne +90 533 650 3500 Lord's Residence Boutique Hotel Girne +90 392 820 0404 MC Palace Hotel Catalkoy +90 533 856 9552 Malpas Hotel Catalkoy +90 392 650 3000 Marmaris Hotel Lapta +90 392 821 8575 Merit Crystal Cove Hotel Alsancak +90 392 650 2000 Merit Park Hotel Kervansary +90 392 650 2500 Merit Royal Hotel Alsancak +90 392 650 4000 Meryem's Hotel Catalkoy +90 392 824 5073 Mountain View Hotel Karaoglanoglu +90 392 822 3453 Nostalgia Hotel Girne +90 392 815 3079 Olive Paradise Holiday Village Lapta +90 392 821 3390 Olive Tree Catalkoy +90 392 824 4200 Olivia Palm Boutique Hotel Girne +90 539 104 0999 Onar Holiday Village Girne +90 392 815 5850 Oscars Resort Girne +90 392 815 4801 Palm Beach Hotel Gazimagusa +90 392 366 2000 Pia Bella Hotel Girne +90 392 815 5321 Pine Bay Holiday Village Karaoglanoglu +90 392 822 3035 Riverside Holiday Complex Alsancak +90 392 821 8906 Riviera Hotel Karaoglanoglu +90 392 822 2877 Rocks Hotel & Casino Girne +90 392 650 0400 Royal Marina Hotel Girne +90 392 650 3388 Sammy's Hotel Girne +90 392 815 6279 Sempati Hotel Alsancak +90 392 821 2770 Ship Hotel Girne +90 392 815 6701 Silver Waves Hotel Karaoglanoglu +90 392 822 3208 Simena Hotel Karsiyaka +90 392 825 2476 Sofia Boutique Hotel Girne +90 392 815 2132 Tervetuloa Hotel Alsancak +90 533 863 2394 The Courtyard Karakum +90 392 815 3343 The Hideaway Karmi +90 392 822 2620 Top Set Hotel Karaoglanoglu +90 392 822 2204 Watermill Hotel Girne +90 392 815 1741 White Pearl Hotel Girne +90 533 870 9141 Book a Hotel Top Guides > Vacations > North Cyprus Transfer Services Go North Cyprus Ercan Airport Taxis Transfer N. Cyprus Sun Transers Cyprus Paradise Get Transfer North Cy Transfer Welcome Taxi A1 Cyprus Holidays in N. Cyprus Pickup North Cyprus Top Guides > Vacations > Flights > Car Hire in North Cyprus IHiring a car is undoubtedly the best way to see all that Northern Cyprus has to offer. It allows you to set your own timetable and go exactly where you want and when you want. Travel the scenic coastal routes from the farthest point west, all the way to the tip of the Karpaz Peninsula in the east. A journey that isn’t possible on public transport. Drive the mountain routes, take in the spectacular scenery or have a picnic under scented pines. See all the ancient sites and ramble through crusader castles with no rush to move on. Driving in Northern Cyprus is much like driving in the UK; the same side of the road, signs that are for the most part international and well-placed speed limit notices and direction signs. Pre-book in high season as demand, especially for vehicles with air-conditioning, is high. ​ ​North Cyprus car hire specifications and regulations: Rght-hand drive unless a left-hand drive car is specifically requested Manual and automatic available, state preference Cars may be calibrated in MPH or KPH Speed limits on all roads are posted in KPH Full current driving licence is required Hirers must be over 21 years of age​ Hire a Car Terms and Conditions of renting a car in Northern Cyprus: Prices do not normally include collision damage waiver (CDW) Additional drivers are not normally included Minimum booking is usually 3 days for pickup and drop off at apartments Minimum booking is usually 7 days for pickup and drop off at the Car hire is billed in 24 hour periods If you arrive at night, book your car from 10 am the following morning Cars are generally picked up and dropped off at around 10 am Driving in North Cyprus is similar to driving in the UK in as much as speed limits are approximately the same on conversion - 100KPH on the motorway; 50KPH in town; 65KPH limit on the approach to junctions; and the use of speed cameras is countrywide. Speeding fines are heavy. Drunken driving is not tolerated and anyone failing a breath test may well spend the night in the local police station. Seat belts are compulsory for drivers and front-seat passengers. Car Hire Companies in North Cyprus Name Location Phone A-One Rent a Car Girne +90 542 852 3006 Abant Rent a Car Girne +90 392 815 4524 Acmenya Car Rentals Alsancak +90 392 821 2736 Ada Rent a Car Girne +90 533 849 6303 Akman's Rent a Car Girne +90 533 822 4165 Arizona Rent a Car Girne +90 392 815 1355 Atakara Rent a Car Alsancak +90 392 821 8184 Atlantic Rent a Car Girne +90 392 815 3053 Autumn Rent a Car Kervansaray +90 533 866 6383 Baag Rent a Car Catalkoy +90 533 854 3040 Baspinar Rent a Car Girne +90 542 888 4888 Bellapais Rent a Car Girne +90 392 444 0131 Belvu Car Rentals Alsancak +90 392 821 8306 Bikers Club Girne +90 392 815 9245 Bird Rent a Car Karaoglanoglu +90 392 822 2379 Brisk Rent a Car Esentepe +90 533 834 2188 British Rent a Car Girne +90 533 851 7348 Carrington Cars Girne +90 533 840 0070 Cyprent Rent a Car Girne +90 533 840 0070 Cyprus Pines Rent a Car Esentepe +90 533 866 5237 Cyprus Pines Rent a Car Girne +90 392 815 0291 Dark & Blue Car Rental Girne +90 542 854 7708 Driver Rent a Car Girne +90 392 815 8851 EVA Rent a Car Girne +90 392 444 7171 Easy Quick Car Rental Girne +90 542 855 1176 GM Cyprus Rent a Car Girne +90 533 859 2159 Grandeur Rent a Car Ozankoy +90 533 873 6289 Green Valley Car Hire Alsancak +90 392 821 3107 Gsmart Rent a Car Girne +90 392 815 7850 Gunray Rent a Car Girne +90 533 868 8317 Inter Car Rental Girne +90 533 840 0410 Jeep Safari Girne +90 533 881 8993 Kyrenia Castle Rent a Car Girne +90 392 815 8970 Kyrenia Motorbike & Scooter Rental Girne +90 533 845 6019 Le Chateau Lambouse Hotel Rent a Car Lapta +90 392 821 3535 Mustafa Transfer Alsancak +90 533 877 6378 Olive Paradise Rent a Car Girne +90 392 815 4937 Oscar Car Rentals Girne +90 392 815 2272 Ozy's (Ibo's) Car & Bicycle Hire Girne +90 533 865 6305 Pacific Rent a Car Girne +90 542 852 1920 Pine Bay Club Rent a Car Alsancak +90 392 822 3032 Riverside Rent a Car Girne +90 392 821 2211 Sam's Place Rent a Car Alsancak +90 542 857 4720 Sevener Rent a Car Girne +90 392 821 2606 Soydan Car Rentals Karakum +90 392 444 1011 Sun Rent a Car Girne +90 392 815 4979 Top Guides > Vacations > Tours & Excursions Kültur Türlari Sidetour Tour with me Go North Cyprus Private Tours Tour Plus T Zone Cyprus Cyprus Paradide Puzzle Travel Tours by Locals wizygbe Tours Top

  • Churches | Whats On In TRNC

    Guides > Churches Apostolos Andreas Bellapais Abbey Sourp Magar Monastery St Francis Church St Mary Church Ayia Zone Ganchvor Monastery St Andrews Church St George of the Greeks St Nikolas Church Ayios Philon Panagia Chrysopolitissa St Anne Church St George of the Latins St Simeon Church Ayias Trias Basilica Panayia Pergamininiotissa St Barnabas Monastery St Mamas Monastery The Twin Churches Guides > Churches > Apostolos Andreas Monastery The easternmost monastery on the island, for hundreds of years it's served as an important resting place for followers of the Orthodox faith on pilgrimage to the Holy Land . As an important multi-faith place of pilgrimage, visitors from all over the world to this monastery offer their devotion or pray for healing. It's almost at the end of the Karpaz peninsula, and is a place of reverence by both Turkish and Greek Cypriots. It's thought there's been a monastery here since Byzantine times, and is possibly the location of the surrender of Isaac Commenos to Richard the Lionheart in 1191. St Andrew, a follower of John the Baptist, was the first man who was called to become a priest, and as such received the title of “O Protoklidos”, which means “the first one to have been called”. One of the stories about him is that on his way to Jerusalem, the boat in which he was sailing ran out of water, As the captain, who was blind in one eye, was wondering how he would find water, St Andrew told him that he would find water in the place where the monastery now stands. Those who went ashore found water there, as they had been told. The water was brought back to the ship, and as the captain drank the water, sight returned to his eye. He wanted to reward Stndrew by giving him valuable goods but St Andrew would not accept them. Instead, the captain and his crew converted to Christianity. Afterwards, the captain bought a very valuble icon of StAndrew and put it by the well. Thereafter, the site became a place of pilgrimage known as "the Lourdes of Cyprus " and in the 15th century, a small chapel was built close to the shore, where you can still collect the healing water. The church of the main monastery dates to the 18th century, with main buildings 100 years younger. ​ Although St Andrew is known primarily as a saint who is able to cure health problems related to the eyes, those who have other incurable illnesses or worries believe that they can be cured by praying to him too. Those who have their wishes granted, depending on the nature of their problem, leave a small figure of an eye, ear, hand or child made out of wax or metal next to the religious icons. Amongst the offerings made to StAndrew are money, silver, gold and other jewellery. Those who cannot come to the monastery can make an offering to him by taking a bottle of olive oil and throwing it into the sea at the closest point. It's believed that by taking control of the winds, St Andrew will ensure that sooner or later the bottles will be taken to the priests at the monastery. Mass pilgrimage only dates to the early 20th century. Apparently, in 1895, the son of Maria Georgiou was kidnapped. Seventeen years later, St Andrew appeared to her in a dream, telling her to pray for her son's return at the monastery. Living in Anatolia, she embarked on the crossing on a crowded boat. Telling her story during the journey, one of the passengers, a young Dervish priest, became more and more interested. Asking if her son had any distinguishing marks, and on hearing of a pair of birthmarks, he stripped off his clothes to reveal the same marks, and mother and son were reunited. ​ On your arrival, you'll see a courtyard, surrounded by cloisters where the pilgrims once stayed. Looking towards the sea, you 'll see the bell tower of the church where you'll find some icons and normally some nuns or a retired priest acting as caretakers. The small chaperl which has been built next to it in the Gothic style is the monastery's oldest building, thought to have been built in the 15th century. The church to the far west of the chapel was built in 1867 by the priest of DIpkarpaz, Babayuannu Ilkonomou. The monastery rooms which are set arounf the church and chapel qwew built attsome poit after1912. Further down the slope, you'll reach the oldest part of the monastery and the holy well. On two days of the year, the monastery is really busy; August 15th, Assumption Day (when Mary was "assumed" into heaven to be reunited with her soul), and November 30th, which is St Andrew's day. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Greece, Cyprus and Russia. Although the monastery fell into disrepair in recent years, funding for refurbishment was provided by Church of Cyprus, EVKAF Administration and the United States Agency for International Developmen t (USAID). The first phase concerned the restoration of the main church, and the building of a new north arcade. On November 30th, St Andrew's day, the completed first phase was handed back to the Church of Cyprus, and a service was held. Phase two will see the chapel and the fountain close to the shore renovated. Phase three will see the restoration of the buildings to the north of the church, and the final phase will involve the completion of external works below the main road, and landscaping. Top Guides > Churches > Ayia Zone Church Ayia Zone is typical of Orthodox churches built in later medieval times, with Gothic architecture incorporated into otherwise Byzantine forms. In the south east of Famagusta, close to St Nikolas church , it's one of 3 remaining Byzantine churches in the area, the other being St Simeon . A simple cross-shaped church it may well stand on earlier foundations. It's likely this church was abandoned or used for other purposes during the Ottoman reign, as it's maintained itself very well throughout hundreds of years. Ayia Zone is dedicated to the sacred belt of the Virgin Mary . According to tradition, the Holy Belt was made by the Virgin Mary herself out of camel hair,. was about 90cm long, with strings at the end to tie it up. Three days after she died, during her ascension, she gave the belt to the Apostle Thomas. Thomas and the other Apostles opened her grave, but didn't find her body so the belt is seen as proof of her ascension into heaven. At some point, it must have had a piece of this cloth, a sacred relic of the clothing of Mary. It's currently used as a rehearsal room for a local theatre group and contains fragmentary frescoes of the Archangel Michael . Top Guides > Churches > Ayia Philon Church Dating to the 10thcentury, this church was dedicated to the saint who converted people of Karpaz to Christianity in the 4thcentury. It was built on top of ruins from Hellenistic and Roman periods and is pretty much all that remains of the Phoenician port of Karpasia. Founded by King Pygmalion of Cyprus , it was a flourishing trading port between Salamis and Anatolia. It was abandoned in 802 after Arab raiders sacked it and inhabitants moved inland, founding Dipkarpaz. Traces of the old harbour wall can still be seen offshore, but the majority of the village is now under sand dunes west of the church. The church is named after St Philo , who converted locals to Christianity, and had been ordained by St Epiphanios in the 4th Century. (St Epiphanios' Basilica is at Salamis). It's a typically domed Byzantine church, with a 3-part apse and a courtyard surrounded by columns. There's a cistern and baptising room, as well as numerous mosaics from the earlier structure. Top Guides > Churches > Ayias Trias Basilica To the North of the small village of Sipahi , this basilica has been dated to the end of the 5thcentury. Destroyed by Arab raiders in the 7th century, it was discovered by accident in 1957 and is famous for its well-preserved mosaics, but they've been left to the elements and their colours are fading. It must have been a grand building in its day, with the richness of the floors suggesting wealth of the surrounding areas in Byzantine times. Decorated with geometric, leaf and cross motifs, there's also an inscription in front of the main apse which credits a deacon called Heraclos as having “paid for the building of this part of the structure”. There are 3 unusual areas of mosaic. Two show pairs of sandals, one facing in and one facing outward as well as a representation of pomegranates. The site boasts remains of what must have been an impressive solea , a barrier running down the middle of the church, marking out spaces for clergy and other members of the congregation. A cross-shaped baptismal pool can be seen in the baptistery. There's also a number of wheat mills, thought to have been used to grind wheat for bread used in religious ceremonies. In May 2018, plans were announced for preservation works. Top Guides > Churches > Bellapais Abbey Bellapais Abbey, also known as Bellapais Monastery, was founded by the French ruler Aimery , to house Augustinian monks expelled from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre when Jerusalem fell to Saladin in 1187. Known as the “Abbaye de la Paix”, (Abbey of Peace), most of what remains dates from 1267–84, with the cloisters and refectory added in 1324–59. In its early years the monastery adopted strict beliefs, but as time went by it became known as a place where monks ate and drank to excess, took wives (sometimes two or three), had children, and would then only accept their own sons into the monastery as novices. Very French you might say. Though it built up considerable wealth, its treasure was plundered by the Genoese in 1373. After the Ottoman Conquest in 1571 the abbey became derelict, and was raided for its dressed building stone, although the church escaped as it was used by the local Greek Orthodox community. ​ Vandalization of the monastery continued under the British, who even used the refectory as a rifle range. Very British you might say. It's not uncommon for Monasteries and abbeys to be built in spectacular locations and this is no exception. The ruins overlook the sea from a small square filled with trees, lawns, flowerbeds and park benches. When you go in, you’ll see the Kybele Restaurant , which occupies the abbey’s kitchen court, and a set of steps to the abbey’s medieval tower which is far too good a photo-op to miss.Tall Gothic arches standing shoulder to shoulder invite you into the cloisters. This is one of the iconic images of North Cyprus and a must visit place on your holidays. The flat roofed church is the most complete part of the monastery. North of the church are the cloisters, the most atmospheric part of the abbey. Poplar trees were planted in the quadrangle in 1940, and are now home to a flock of sparrows whose constant chirping just adds to the unique atmosphere of the place. To the north of the cloisters, accessed via a superb doorway with dog-tooth edges and three Lusignan coats of arms, is the refectory. 30m long, 10m wide and 12m high, it’s covered by a single-span stone vaulted roof, an architectural triumph considering it stands at the edge of a cliff. It's illuminated by natural light that streams through its windows, throwing shadows across the columns. At one end was the Abbot’s high table in front of long tables of the monks. There’s also a pulpit where scriptures would be read to silently eating monks. Outside the refectory is a fountain where monks would wash their hands and if you look carefully you can make out the Roman sarcophagus into which it’s been incorporated. Concerts and musical events take place in the abbey from May to October , mostly in the refectory. It’s also used for weddings during summer months, and it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful and romantic setting. ​ Lawrence Durrell lived in Bellapais from 1953–56. His house is up from the abbey square, past the Tatlisu market on Aci Limon Sokak (Bitter Lemon Street) and has a ceramic plaque above the door. Across the road is the public water fountain (marked “ER 1953”), which played a prominent part in the tortuous and hilarious process of buying the house, which takes up a whole chapter in his book. Another chapter of the book is devoted to the “Tree of Idleness ” that stands opposite the abbey. Durrell was warned never to sit under it because “its shadow incapacitates one for serious work”, a belief that arose from the idle hours spent by many villagers under the tree. Legend has it that those who sit under the tree will become so lethargic and relaxed they’ll be unwilling to work, and Durrell was struck by how true this legend seemed. It‘s now the centrepiece of a pretty good restaurant. The Village Halfway between St Hilarion and Buffavento , 210m above sea level, is the flower-covered village of Bellapais. Full of narrow lanes and steep hills with views of Kyrenia, Bellapais is best known for its medieval abbey, one of the most beautiful in the eastern Mediterranean. The village itself is a step back in time, with quiet lanes and whitewashed houses. The name Bellapais comes from the French ‘belle paix’, meaning ‘beautiful peace ’. It's popular because of the abbey, but was also made more famous by English author Lawrence Durrell who lived here in the 1950s ,and included descriptions of the village and its inhabitants in his classic holiday reading book “Bitter Lemons ”. To find Bellapais, head east from Kyrenia, turn right at the Bellapais-signposted “peace” roundabout (with its two figures holding olive branches), then take the first main turning left. At the top of the hill, turn left at the roundabout, and continue on to the village where there’s parking. There’s no shortage of restaurants and bars in the village, with many in the square overlooking the abbey. While the abbey is definitely a must see, there’s also ancient crusader paths that criss-cross the mountains where you can follow in the footsteps of Richard the Lionheart. Accommodation There’s a good choice of accommodation if you’d like to stay in the village. A stone’s thrown from the Abbey is The Abbey Inn , a small boutique hotel with only ten rooms, small pool and a restaurant. Close by is another small but quality hotel called The Residence . Then there's Bellapais Monastery Village , and further down the road, about half-way to Kyrenia, is Altinkaya Holiday Village . A short walk from the abbey takes you to Bellapais Garden Top Guides > Churches > Ganchvor Monastery Ganchvor Sourp Asdvadzadzin is the Armenian Apostolic church located within the walled city of Famagusta. The Armenians escaped Mameluke attacks against Ayas of Cilicia and arrived from the southern coast of Turkey, before the French Lusignans arrived. Like other non-Latin or non-Orthodox Christians, they settled in the Syrian quarter of the city, especially populated with Carmelites . The Armenian church was built in 1346 by Armenian refugees from Cilicia in a typical fortress-like Armenian style with Cypriot masonry. and was part of an important monastic and cultural centre, where Saint Nerses Lampronatsi is said to have studied in the 12th century, suggesting it was an important theological institute. A scriptorium devoted to the writing, copying and illuminating of manuscripts operated here, manuscripts of which survive at the Armenian Saint James’ Monastery in Jerusalem. After the Ottoman siege, the church became unused from 1571. Records show that until 1862, it featured a small bell-tower. It was preserved by the Department of Antiquities in 1907 and in 1936 it was leased to the Armenian community of Famagusta for a period of 99 years. After repairs between 1937 and 1944, the first liturgy was held on 14 January 1945 by Archimandrite Krikor Bahlavouni, but it was partially burnt by militia in 1957. After being repaired, it was used as a church until 1962. It was taken over by Turkish Cypriots and then in August 1974 by the Turkish military. Even after the partial lifting of movement restrictions by Northern Cyprus in 2003, it was still inaccessible, as it was located within a "military area". It’s now accessible. It's small, with only one aisle and a cylindrical apse. The roof is in the shape of a cruciform, and the apse is covered with a semi-dome. There is some evidence that a second chapel was added to the north east, but this hasn’t survived. Outside the church, crosses have been inscribed on the wall by pilgrims as a declaration of faith. Beyond the southern door, you can also see traces of a medieval sun dial . It adjoins the Carmelite church, which was established at a similar period, as part of a monastic complex dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Top Guides > Churches > Panagia Chrysopolitissa Kyrenia's Oldest Church. Dating to the 1500’s it was built as a Latin church and set in narrow back streets behind Kyrenia Harbour, almost opposite the rear entrance to the Folk Art Museum . The interesting architectural feature is a Gothic doorway on the north side. The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is also depicted on the wall of the front entrance. Though now blocked up it doesn't appear to be in its' original state and may well have come from another, and larger, Gothic building. Top Guides > Churches > Panayia Pergamininiotissa A late Byzantine church, dating from the 11th century in Tatlısu, an unspoilt coastal village 20 km from Esentepe. Has a interesting cylindrical apse but the building is square shaped, with the roof in the form of a cross, topped with a drum on which sits a small dome. It may have been built over a much earlier one, as foundations were exposed outside the apse during renovation. Wall paintings from the 11th and 12th centuries have mainly been removed, although some still remain. Look carefully and you can see the overgrown ruined foundations of buildings that once surrounded the church, reached via some paths. Works to prevent deterioration of the building means it is no longer possible to get inside, however it is still worth taking a look at, especially if you plan to tour the Minia Cyprus Museum within the same grounds, another must-see for visitors. Top Guides > Churches > Sourp Magar Monastery Also known as Magaravank , this is an Armenian monastery set in a forested valley in the Alevkaya range. First established in the 11th century as a Coptic (Egyptian Christian) monastery, it came into Armenian hands about the 15th century. The Armenians retained control of its lands under Venetian and Ottoman rule when it was often called the Blue Monastery, on account of the colour of the doors and windows. 530 metres above sea level, also referred to as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, Sourp Magar had been a religious centre for Armenians for centuries, the quiet surroundings providing a haven for clergymen and laymen alike. The Armenian community in Nicosia used it as a summer retreat, and it became a stopover for pilgrims headed for Jerusalem. It once housed a collection of manuscripts and other sacred items which were relocated to the Holy See of Cilicia in 1947. Upheavals in the Ottoman empire at the beginning of the 20th century resulted in the arrival of thousands of Armenian refugees to the island, and the monastery opened its doors to orphans and those in need. It helped feed the hungry by developing farming on monastery lands which ran to around 3,000 acres. Although the last monks left in the early 20th century, the monastery remained a favourite place for Armenian families and schools to visit, as the grounds were particularly pleasant, especially in hot summer months. The residential buildings at Sourp Magar are extremely important for the history of architecture in Cyprus, being the best-preserved and most extensive examples of late medieval domestic building on the island, even in its current state. It consists of an irregular rectangle of two-storied residential buildings constructed around a generous precinct, sited on an overall slope. Two small churches or chapels, standing in the north-east part of the central courtyard, stand side-by-side. The largest chapel, with its vault still in place, was built in 1814. The line of residential buildings facing towards the north and east probably belong to the 15th century judging from the shape and style of the Gothic windows and doors. One window has a chevron design, a characteristic feature of later Gothic building in Cyprus. These buildings were probably put up when the Armenians first took possession of the site. Internally, the buildings are two-storied, with a simple arcade below and a walkway above. The walkway was originally edged by stone posts with wooden lintels. The roofs throughout rested on wooden beams and were covered with curved tiles. Inside the monastery enclosure you can still see the remains of an orchard with a tiny church and pilgrims’ cells lining the east and south perimeter walls. It's well worth a visit to soak up the atmosphere, marvel at the distant views or even picnic in the grounds. Armenians retain great attachment to their ancient establishment and pilgrimages have been made there in recent years. Access to this monastery lies on the road that leads from the Five Finger Mountain to Alevkaya. After driving for about 6.5km, looking down at the valley below, the monastery buildings will be seen nestling among the pine trees. Top Guides > Churches > St Andrews Church One of two Anglican churches in North Cyprus, St Andrew’s was built in 1913 thanks to the generosity of a lay reader Ernest Eldred McDonald and a wealthy Scottish mine owner George Houstoun, and is approaching 110 years of service to the Kyrenia community. The site of the Church was well chosen. A few yards from Kyrenia Castle and the Harbour , it's near to the centre of the town and much of the congregation is holiday visitors. Well seen from the outside, the church tower itself was constructed 25 years after the main build. Items of interest within the church include the bowl of the font, which is a domestic marble mortar found in 1949 at Lambousa and dated to the 6th century A.D. It's part of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf (one of the four dioceses that make up the Episcopal Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East), which includes Cyprus, the Gulf States, Iraq and Yemen, and also a part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Top Guides > Churches > St Anne Church The church of St Anne was probably built in the early 14th Century and was part of a monastic complex. It was erected in what was known as the Syrian quarter and was originally a Latin, Catholic church before it was passed to Maronites later in the century. Located in the walled city of Famagusta, next to the Martinengo Bastion , it forms part of the “Martinengo Cluster” – a collection of monuments conserved to promote the economic growth and territorial development of those regions. St Anne was restored by both the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities in 2018. It consists of a single nave with 2 bays, with groin vaults separated by transverse ribs. The walls are supported by external buttresses, between which are tall windows, a typically Gothic feature. It's believed the original facade supported a belfry. Top Guides > Churches > St Barnabas Monastery Head west from Salamis and you’ll come to the Monastery of St Barnabas, once one of the most important Christian sites, now an archaeological and icon museum. Said to have been built as the result of a divinely inspired dream, it consists of the church of St Barnabas and monastery cloisters, which is a colonnade of pillars on three sides of a lush and well-tended garden. An extension. further colonnades and a campanile, though modern, fits in pretty well with the rest of the building. The white domes are the local landmarks. ​ The buildings An archaeological museum housed in rooms that overlook the garden, contains Neolithic axe-heads, Bronze Age pottery, Iron Age antiquities and Ottoman artefacts. A stunning collection dating back to the 7th Century BC, they're kept in the monks' old cells and are mostly intact. It also has a small gift shop and restaurant. ​ An Icon Museum housed in the church of St Barnabas is a large collection of lit-up icons, depicting mostly well-known religious figures which are in great condition. Some of the Orthodox furnishings remain, including the pulpit, a chair and the iconostasis or screen. Four frescoes to the right of the entrance tell the story of the finding of St Barnabas’s body. What is said to be the tomb of the Barnabas himself is housed in a 1950s-built mausoleum about 100 yards from the monastery, built on the spot where his remains were discovered. Brief History St Barnabas is the patron saint of Cyprus . Over the years, Cyprus had rulers with different religious beliefs which have intermingled and the result is an island with mixed religions, churches and mosques. In Roman times most people practised Judaism, including St. Barnabas who came from Salamis. He travelled to the Holy Land to study law, met Paul the apostle and converted to Christianity. He was made the Archbishop of Salamis, returned, founded the Cypriot church and became a preacher. See The Bible Acts 4: 36-37, & Acts 13: 1-5 for reference. He convinced the Roman ruler Sergius Paulus to adopt Christianity, making Cyprus the first country in the world to have a Christian ruler. Together with his cousin Mark the Evangelist and the pivotal St Paul, he travelled extensively in both Cyprus and Asia Minor, spreading the gospel. Barnabas was so successful the Jewish elders in Salamis had him stoned to death around 75 AD. Mark retrieved his body and buried it secretly in a cave to the west of the city. Over time, the location of the cave was forgotten. 400 years later Cypriot Church under Archbishop Anthemios was faced with a takeover bid by Antioch , the patriarch of which claimed the right to rule over the island’s Christians, a claim supported by Byzantine Emperor Zeno . In 478 AD, when all seemed lost, Anthemios was visited in a dream by the spirit of St Barnabas, who told him where his body was buried – beneath a distinctive carob tree on the western edge of Salamis. Anthemios discovered a skeleton along with a copy of The Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew by St Barnabas himself. Anthemios shot off to Constantinople, donated the book to the Emperor and the Church of Cyprus was triumphantly granted autonomous status. Zeno also paid for a monastery to be built over the saint’s final resting place. In Cyprus, most churches feature an icon of Barnabas holding St Matthew’s gospel, placed in the backrest of the bishop’s chair. St Barnabas is said to be the patron saint of peace making and hailstorms , with St. Barnabas day taking place on June 11th. The monastery crumbled over the years and was replaced in the 18th Century. It was rebuilt with three domes, but lack of foundations and soft soil made one of the domes and an apse collapse. The third dome wasn’t replaced but the walls of the original apse can still be seen. Top Guides > Churches > St Francis Church During the life of St Francis of Assisi, this was the most important structure of the Franciscan order in Cyprus. It was part of a Franciscan monastery in the north of the Royal Palace of Venice, built by priests. Today it can be found close to the Venetian Palace. It consists of a three-sided apse with a small chapel off the south side. Buttressing supported the external walls. It was built in the 14th Century with funding supplied by Henry II who was known for his close ties with the Franciscans. Henry's reign was anything but peaceful. He saw the fall of Acre in 1291, was imprisoned himself from 1306 to 1310, and saw the disbandment of the Knights Templars in 1313. He funded the building of this church, the fortification of Famagusta, and the start of the rebuilding of St Nicholas Cathedral. The Franciscans were founded in 1209 by Francis of Assisi as part of the Catholic Church. Followers gave up all their possessions and life to live in poverty and they became famous for their love, simplicity and practices. Francis himself was believed to have visited Cyprus during a trip to the Holy Land during the Crusades. The Franciscans are one of the oldest and most important Latin religious groups in Cyprus, and their monasteries in Famagusta have become some of the city's most important religious structures. The site housed a monastery that occupied a large area within the city and because of its proximity, the Royal Palace once had a private entrance to the monastery and church, through a steeped road. Nobles from Famagusta, Genoa and overseas who contributed to the construction of the church are buried in this area. Archaeologists discovered tombs dating back to 1314-1474 under the church. Structurally, it resembled the Church of Mary with side chapels added. Outside walls are supported by struts, and visitors can see medieval stone workmanship outside the western gate. The monastery, which didn't survive, was believed to be located to the southwest of the church. Top Guides > Churches > St George of the Greeks Church This Nestorian Church , officially known as the Church of St George the Exile r, is in Famagusta. Not to be confused with St George of the Latins , it is the second largest church in Famagusta, and during the middle ages served as a Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Built in the 12th century around the time St Nicholas Cathedral was initiated, it was financed by East Syrian Nestorian merchants, the Lakhas brothers, who were known for their immense wealth. It's architecture and decorations were reminiscent of Southern French and Italian Gothic churches of the time, and may have been influenced by King Peter I’ s visit to Avignon in 1363, although its' architecture is also reminiscent of the 12th–13th century Crusader architecture in Palestine and Syria. ​ The Orthodox Cathedral When the French Catholic Lusignans took rule of the island in 1191, they inherited an island that was predominately eastern Orthodox, and they immediately reduced the power of the church. In doing so, the southeast corner of Famagusta became a compact Greek quarter, and a conglomeration of several churches came about, most still inherent today and within close proximity of one another. Although there was a perfectly serviceable cathedral church, namely the small Byzantine St Simeon Church , the Orthodox community wanted a place of worship that rivalled its neighbouring counterparts. They built the much greater church with a wide central nave, two side aisles and huge columns that held up the nave vaulting. Gothic elements were also added to the church’s north side to create a hybrid form of architecture that makes this 14th century Byzantine figure somewhat rare amongst Mediterranean churches. The central nave also featured chapels on both sides, leading to a cross nave, all with rounded apses. St George of the Greeks became the Orthodox cathedral of Famagusta and was dedicated to St Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis , who had gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy. It's believed the saint’s remains were formerly buried at the adjacent St Simeon before his body was taken to Constantinople by Emperor Leo in the 9th century. Unfortunately, the structure was too large, with insufficient buttressing and a roof that was just too heavy, and years of modifications and renovations followed. The pillars throughout the nave were expanded to take more weight, and the roof was inserted with large upturned terracotta pots to spread the load. The church was not in existence long enough to find out if the revised compositions were sustainable. Taking the brunt of the Ottomans, evidence of which is still very evident in the remaining walls, the main of the build stood for a little over a hundred years. ​ Siege of Famagusta After the capture of the city, the church was converted into a stable for camels , with worship here only being permitted once a year, during the feast of St George the Exiler. The Ottoman siege in 1571 left its marks on the structure and visitors today can still see cannon ball marks on the top of the church and cannonballs still embedded in the walls. Consequently, little remains of its vaulted roof. It's believed that during this era the apse was used as a shooting gallery, and there is much evidence in the form of bullet holes to be seen. By the 18th century, it was more or less abandoned, with only a handful of residents living near to the desolate churches. Sailors from the nearby port would disembark and come into the city, sometimes sketching drawings of their ships into the plaster of these derelict churches. Some of these etchings can be seen at the western end of the St George Greek church. In 1905, the British administration handed the church to Greek Cypriots , who used it as their parish. By the 1930’s, many frescoes that were previously observed had disappeared, and between 1937 and 1939, Greek Cypriots undertook excavations and repaired some parts of the build. The church is still nevertheless home to numerous frescoes dated to the 14th and 15th centuries, depicting the life of Christ. Unlike Byzantine Orthodox churches, the frescoes in the Nestorian Church were not part of a unified design, and many were painted in differing periods by various artists. Visitors can still make out the faint outlines of once-rich frescos upon the interior stone walls. The apse on the other hand may have had a unified design, but this is impossible to ascertain given the level of damage. The church walls are made of ashlar and the structure has three naves and three apses. All three naves have entrances to their west. Originally, the church was built with a single nave and a protruding apse while the other two naves and two minor apses were added at a later date. Some fragments of wall paintings still cling to the walls of the eastern apse, and pieces of pottery jars sit within the ceiling, which were thought to improve the church acoustics. During the pre-Ottoman modifications, collars were added to support the overweight, and visitors will notice the remains of the iron clamps that were used to hold the blocks together. A drawing of the church from the 18th century shows a dome on the church, not unlike the one on the nearby St Nikolas Church , an octagonal drum with the dome sat on top. Even with the extra support added to the pillars, eventually the dome has fallen to inexistence. Along the walls of the church, you can see several arched niches. These alcoves were the tombs of the patrons of the church. The sarcophagus was at ground level, while the brackets you can see would have held a stone slab, probably with an effigy of the deceased carved on it. It's believed these niches were built after the walls, and their construction further weakened the roof support. Excavations on this site have also unearthed coloured glass, most likely from the old church windows. The only church in Famagusta that still has a bell, the Church of St George of the Greeks is one of the best-preserved from medieval times despite the damage incurred and yet another impressive ruin to add to your visit list with much to discover. Top Guides > Churches > St George of the Latins Church Sitting amid a traffic intersection, St George of the Latins is one of Famagusta’s oldest churches. Located in the northern part of the old city, close to Othello’s Tower , the remaining walls with their distinctive lancet windows, are a great example of early Gothic architecture. Though the precise date of its construction is unknown, evidence of a fortified parapet where defenders could protect the church, indicates that St George was built at a time when the Lusignans had not yet completed the city walls, most likely in the last quarter of the 13th century, using materials removed from Salamis. Its design is said to be inspired by Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, considered among the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture, and consecrated in 1248. Despite what remains today is predominantly the northern and eastern walls, the remnants indicate what the edifice may have looked like in its prime. ​ Thin columns built into the walls were usually elaborately carved with religious figures or with coats of arms belonging to benefactors of the church. Areas of the walls between the pillars were structured to be relatively free of weight, one of the main features of Gothic architecture, granting huge windows and substantial sunlight to enter the church. In the south west corner, the first steps of what was a spiral staircase leading up to the roof can be seen, and to the north west, remnants of a guard house with a conical roof, the entrance doorway still unmistakable. Following the line of the roof you can still see some of the protective wall, complete with arrow slots, another reason researchers believe the church was built before the city walls were completed. As was the case with most of the towering buildings, the city walls didn't provide complete protection and the church suffered damage during the Ottoman siege of 1570 – 1571, some of which can still be observed on the eastern wall of the church. The only entrance which survives is to the north, and this is comparatively well preserved. It's surrounded by carvings – a gargoyle in the form of a monk opening his mouth with his hand, most likely used to drain water from the walls, and also of a lion devouring a lamb. Not to be confused with the similarly named St George of the Greeks church which is a few minutes walk away. Top Guides > Churches > St Mamas Monastery Dedicated to the island’s beloved tax-repelling patron saint, the monastery was formerly the site of a pagan temple. St Mamas Monastery in Guzelyurt is the third most important place of worship for the Greek Orthodox in North Cyprus, after the St Barnabas Tomb at Famagusta and the Apostolos Andreas Monastery in Karpaz . Today it also houses several significant icons and artefacts. ​ Legendary Tales According to local legend, Mamas was a hermit living in extremely poor circumstances in a cave outside of town. When the authorities tried to tax him, he pleaded poverty and evaded them for some time. Soldiers were sent out to recoup the levy and arrested him at his dwelling. On the way back he escaped by jumping on to the back of a ferocious lion attacking a lamb, and he rode it all the way into town while carrying the injured lamb in his arms. On seeing this sight, the Byzantine authorities were so impressed that they decided to exempt him from paying taxes for the rest of his life and of any punishment. Since then, St Mamas has been the Patron Saint of tax avoiders and so famous locally there are over 10 churches on the island dedicated to this Christian Saint. Another tale says Mamas was killed in Anatolia and placed by his family in a stone coffin aided by Jesus Christ. The story continues with the coffin swept away to sea and washed up on the shores of Guzelyurt Bay. Discovered by a local farmer, he harnessed the immensely hefty coffin to two oxen and hauled it as far as the beasts could manage, and when they could go no further, a church was built around it. ​ The Church Most of this compound dates from the 18th century but its Iconostasis, the lavish wall of icons and religious paintings separating the nave from the sanctuary, is a gorgeous sample of artful wood carving of the 16th century. The church in the monastery was originally a Byzantine building, built on the site of an Aphrodite temple. It has been reconstructed at various times over the centuries, and most of the buildings today date to the 18th century, when the large central dome was also added. The side portals and columns of the nave survive from an earlier Gothic church built by the Lusignans. A strange mixture of Gothic and Byzantine styles, it’s more spacious than many other Orthodox churches on the island. It has a central nave, apse, and two side aisles, with the grand dome that rises above the nave at the altar end, pierced by six tall narrow windows. The columns are decorated with foliar carvings, vine leaves and visages carved with clear delineation. Into the Iconostasis are incorporated marble panels that are carved with Venetian coats of arms, and there are two marble pillars on either side of the Holy Door that are evidence of early recycling, probably from an earlier church, though not necessarily on this site. The pulpit was built in 1711, and the oldest icon is dated to around 1745. There’s no evidence this church was ever in use by members of the Catholic faith and therefore presumably it has always been a place of Orthodox worship. The most beautiful exhibit in the church is the magnificent crystal chandelier that hangs in the centre of the apse and surprises every visitor upon entry through the side entrance as its plain outer façade gives no hint of the splendid interior. Hundreds of droplets glow with all the iridescence of the spectrum when the lamps are lit, and it's flanked by smaller, though equally elegant, examples of the glass-blowers craft. St Mamas is shown as a relief on the outside of the church, as well as on several icons inside. Monastery buildings are to the north and east, and records show them as being built in 1779. Architecturally, the arches on the front of the northern buildings that reflect a traditional style, are quite different to those on the eastern side, which have a resemblance to 18th century Ottoman inns, with stone columns on the ground floor and timber balconies on the second. ​ Tomb of St Mamas The marble sarcophagus of the Saint can be found forming part of the north wall of the church, surrounded by richly carved decorations, many in the shape of ear drums, depicting scenes of excruciating martyrdom. It’s said that during Ottoman rule, believing there was treasure hidden in the coffin, they pierced holes into its lid, from which in turn an ointment liquid oozed out. This liquid, which appeared at irregular intervals, was purported to have curative properties. Around the tomb you will see offerings in the shape of ears since St Mamas is not only the Patron Saint of tax avoiders, but also of those suffering ear aches and infections! ​ Icon Museum Whilst the Icon collection isn't as extensive as the collection at the St Barnabas Monastery, St Mamas remains without doubt the most beautiful and best kept of all the Orthodox churches that are preserved as Icon Museums on the island, and is the highlight of any visit to Güzelyurt . The magnificent collection of religious Icons is certainly worth seeing, as is the skilled art and craftwork dating back many centuries. Top Guides > Churches > St Mary Church Located in the bastion precinct, this church was one of the city’s larger buildings. In the 13th century, middle eastern Christians fled the Holy Land and although Christian, their beliefs weren't Latin or Orthodox and they tended to congregate in the same area. In1311, Pope Clement V allowed the Carmelites to settle in Cyprus. Two other mendicant orders, the Franciscan and Dominican , were established 15 years prior and the Augustinians, the last of the mendicant orders, arrived shortly after. The Carmelites originated from the Carmel mountains of Northern Israel and settled in what later became known as the Syrian quarter of the city. The church was built in the 14th Century as part of a monastic complex dedicated to the Virgin Mary , hence its name. Other churches were built in the town at the same time, as Famagusta was one of the richest cities in Christendom. It was close to where the Venetians would later build the Martinengo Bastion in the 16th century. It adjoined the Armenian monastery, established at the same time, and was next to other monasteries Located in the bastion precinct, this church was one of the city’s larger buildings. In the 13th century, middle eastern Christians fled the Holy Land and although Christian, their beliefs weren't Latin or Orthodox and they tended to congregate in the same area. In1311, Pope Clement V allowed the Carmelites to settle in Cyprus. Two other mendicant orders, the Franciscan and Dominican , were established 15 years prior and the Augustinians, the last of the mendicant orders, arrived shortly after. The Carmelites originated from the Carmel mountains of Northern Israel and settled in what later became known as the Syrian quarter of the city. The church was built in the 14th Century as part of a monastic complex dedicated to the Virgin Mary , hence its name. Other churches were built in the town at the same time, as Famagusta was one of the richest cities in Christendom. It was close to where the Top Guides > Churches > St Nikolas Church This is one of 3 remaining Byzantine churches in Famagusta. St Nikolas is a small double-aisled church that history has taken its toll on, although some parts still remain and are visible. The structure had 2 domes , noticeable at the top of the piers. Below the window of the dome, a visible groove indicates something was lowered from here, possibly a chandelier or maybe the church bell. Three small holes in the wall create a triangular formation and behind these are hollow spaces made of clay pots that have been built in – a technique that lightened load to make it structurally more reliable. At the same time, these pots were thought to create better acoustics , creating a more heavenly aura. If you try chanting you can judge for yourself.. Top Guides > Churches > St Simeon Church In the early 14th century, the Church of St Simeon in Famagusta was described as the metochion of a Sinai monastery. Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt , controlled by the Church of Sinai and part of the Greek Orthodox Church, owned lands in Cyprus. The Sinai founded the priory of Saint Simeon, which Pope John XXII endowed with privileges in 1334. The term metochion when used with a monastery describes a dependent of the senior monastery, almost like a child that's being given blessing and support, to develop into an autonomous monastery or society. The metochion would perhaps receive clergy from that monastery or other forms of support. St Simeon is one of 3 churches remaining in Famagusta that were built during Byzantine rule, the others being Ayia Zoni and St Nikolas. An orthodox Bishopric was established early, and the Agios Simeon became the Orthodox Cathedral when citizens of Salamis moved to Famagusta. The cathedral was cruciform in shape and would have supported a dome. There were two aisles, each with a semi-circular apse and altar, situated behind a decorated iconostasis. It's reputed that the remains of St Epiphanios, Bishop of Salamis, were once enshrined here although his remains were taken to Constantinople by Emperor Leo in the 9th century. The St George church is also attached to the north wall, dedicated to this Bishop who had gained a reputation as a defender of orthodoxy. The Orthodox community built this newer and grander church alongside the old Simeon which later became abandoned. Top Guides > Churches > The Twin Churches Among the many churches in Famagusta, these two medieval buildings have an exhilarating story. Officially named Templars Church of St John and Hospitallers Church of St John they were built alongside one another within the same century, and together are known as the Twin Churches. The larger and older of the two is the Templars and together they were the centres of the two orders in Cyprus. Also known as the Knights Templa r, they formed one of the three great military orders of knighthood, founded around 1119 to protect pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. They quickly rose to legendary wealth and influence for two centuries. At the head of the order was the Master of the Temple at Jerusalem until 1291. With the gradual loss of their possessions in the Holy Land and the fall of the Latin kingdom, the Templars relocated their headquarters to Cyprus which they had once previously acquired from King Richard I of England in 1192. The Hospitallers were a Christian organisation founded in Jerusalem in 1080, founded by St John the Almoner of Amathus , son of the Byzantine Governor of Cyprus Epiphanios, and provided care for poor, sick or injured or injured pilgrims to the Holy Land, and soon became the other Christian force in the region. After the first Crusade it became a military order, charged with upkeep and defence of the Holy Land. They soon became the most powerful Christian groups in the area, enjoying similar privileges and prosperity to the Templars, and, like them, sought refuge in Cyprus in 1291 after the fall of Acre, the crusaders’ last Levantine bastion. After their heyday, the two famous fighting orders of the Crusaders’ period met with very contrasting fates. Following the failed papal attempt to merge them into one, the Hospitallers were able to establish a lasting rule in Rhodos , while the Templars, persecuted by Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V , were dissolved and many of them burned at stake. The Hospitallers became involved in Cypriot politics. After the Templars were dissolved, they took over their Cypriot properties. Nonetheless, they constructed their own church abutting the older church, hence the Twin Churches of Famagusta, a testimony to the two orders’ adventures in Cyprus. A later addition saw a passage built connecting the churches. Above the doorway of the Templars, you can see a small rose window and above the opposite door, the coats of arms of the Knights Hospitallers are still visible. The belfry of this church is a much later addition, dating to the 16th century. Various Byzantine frescoes from the same period can be seen to this day on these walls. These churches have been since restored and are an historic site for thousands of visitors each year. A hundred metres over from the Twin Churches is the Somineli Ev or Chimney House , a hybrid of exterior Venetian architecture meets interior Ottoman design. The building has been modified since and is used for arts and crafts exhibitions. Top

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    Take Our Quiz & Enter Our Draw For a "Costa Cuisine" 1000TL Voucher First name Last name Email 1. Who is the President of Northern Cyprus? Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Ersin Tatar Tufan Erhürman 3. Ceviz Macun is a local dessert made from what? Walnuts Lemons Pomegranates 2. What is the main ingredient of Ayran? Milk Cream Yogurt 4. Lahmacun is what type of local dish? Pizza Pastry Bread 5. Pekmez is a local syrup made from which tree? Lemon Carob Olive 7. What is “Lion’s Milk” better known as? Pastis Raki Ouzo 9. Babutsa is the local name for what? Prickly Pear Bitter Lemon Apricot Brandy 11. Which English King was married in Cyprus? Henry I Richard II Charles III 13. Mustafa Pasha Mosque is in which city? Mağusa Girne Lefkoşa 15. TRNC name was created when? 15 November 1983 16th March 2005 29th August 1974 6. Pilavuna is what type of local delicacy? Pastry Bread Pizza 8. A Şeftali Kebab is what type of dish? Sausage Shish Kebab 10. Zinavia is what type of spirit? Brandy Gin WIne 12. Which famous play is linked to Famagusta? Hamlet Pygmalion Othello 14. Britain annexed Cyprus in which year? 1963 1914 1974 16. What does KKTC stand for? Ktunaxa/Kinbasket Tribal Council Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti Kuzey Kibris Teknik Çarşı Submit Thanks for submitting!

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    Experiences > Below are some of the fabulous experiences North Cyprus offers. How to Make Cypriot Coffee / Kibris kahvesi / κυπριακο καφέ Play Video Easiest Flaouna, Pilavuna bread (Cyprus Cheese, Halloumi / Hellim & Eggs Savoury Snack) Play Video How To Drink Yeni Raki Play Video How to peel and eat Prickly Pear or Cactus Fruit in Cyprus. The Art of Peeling Prickly Pear Play Video Circassian Chicken Recipe - Traditional Turkish Recipes Play Video Cyprus Famous Potato Meatballs Recipe | How to make Cypriot Kofta, Keftedes Play Video My Turkey: The quest for the best Turkish delight Play Video Turkish Stuffed Grape Leaves Recipe | How to make the Best Sarma Play Video Foodie Watch Now Easiest Flaouna, Pilavuna bread (Cyprus Cheese, Halloumi / Hellim & Eggs Savoury Snack) Play Video Share Whole Channel This Video Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Copy Link Link Copied Share Channel Info Close Discover Buyuk Han, Cyprus Play Video Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque (Saint Nicholas's Cathedral), Famagusta, Northern Cyprus Play Video Porta Del Mare (Sea Gate) Famagusta, Gazimagusa Play Video Varosha,Ghost town, Famagusta by drone Phantom 3 Play Video Let's Explore #OurSharedHeritage - Nicosia Walls Play Video The Round Tower, Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus Play Video Amazing 4K walking tour around Famagusta Walled City in summer 2023! 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  • Nature | Whats On In TRNC

    Guides > Nature Alagadi Turtle Beach Butterflies Hunting Mushrooming Turtle Protection SPOT Audoin's Gull Carob Trees Incirli Cave Reptiles & Amphibians Water Besparmak Mountains Cumbez Tree Karpaz National Park Snakes Wild Donkeys Bird Watching Flora & Fauna Monumental Olives Tulipa Cypria Guides > Nature > Aligadi Turtle Beach Experience nature at its best Watch baby turtles hatch, or a mother turtle crawl up the beach in the middle of the night to bury her eggs in the sand. This is Alagadi Turtle Beach, near Esentepe, about 20km east of Kyrenia, and its home to two species which nest in the sand - the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) and the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas ). This turtle conservation site is constantly monitored during laying and hatching seasons, as is the long stretch of sand on Golden beach in the Karpaz Peninsula and the Akamas Peninsula in the south. Female, or hen, turtles lay 70-150 eggs in the nesting season that runs from late March to early June. Once the mother’s nested, conservation efforts to protect the eggs are deployed, such as cages to prevent dogs or humans from accidentally digging them up. Incubation period depends on temperature, but is normally 50-60 days, with peak hatching between July and August. The tiny hatchlings emerge from their eggs at night and make their dangerous journey to the sea. A baby turtle is only around 4cm long and weighs just 15-20 grams. Being born at night provides them greater protection from predators such as seagulls, crabs, dogs and humans, but even so infant mortality is still extremely high, because even if they do make it to the sea they’re also food for large fish. Loggerhead turtles are thought to be one of the oldest species of turtle in the world, weighing up to 450kg. They typically have a diet of jellyfish, squid, flying fish and molluscs, and powerful jaws allow them to crush the shells of clams, crabs and mussels. Interestingly, the Loggerheads appear to be totally immune to the toxins of the Portuguese Man of War. If a Loggerhead Turtle reaches maturity, they can live to 40–65 years old, as their only real predators are sharks and boats such as fishing trawlers. A combination of instinct, moon, gravity and sea, enable a female turtle to return to lay eggs on or near the beach where she was hatched, even if she’s migrated thousands of miles throug the oceans. They used to be killed for their shells, which were used to make combs, spectacle frames and fancy boxes, but now they’re classified as an endangered species and protected. ​ The Green Sea Turtle, also known as the Black Turtle , is named not for the colour of its shell that are olive to black coloured, but from the green fat beneath its skin. It’s an herbivore, feeding in lagoons and shallows on different species of sea grass. Known for long migrations between their feeding grounds and the beaches where they hatched, they lay their eggs similar to Loggerhead Turtles and once they reach maturity, can live up to 80 years, grow to around 5 feet long, and weigh 70kg-200kg. Green Turtles used to be considered a delicacy, and were killed for their flesh, as well as their eggs, which used to be stolen from their nests, before they were added to the endangered species list. Green Turtles don’t have many predators. Only humans and larger varieties of shark feed on them, but their biggest threat is destruction of their habitats. Sandy beaches, where they’ve laid eggs for millions of year,s are slowly being destroyed to make room for development, which is why conservation areas such as Alagadi Beach are vital for their survival. Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT) In 1991, the Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT) was founded in North Cyprus. Today, Marine biology students from universities all over the world come to do their residencies at Alagadi beach. Students and volunteers monitor the turtle eggs throughout the summer season to try to protect them from predators. The beach is closed to the public at night, but you can view the turtles by booking with SPOT. A sighting isn’t guaranteed as it depends on weather and numbers, but generally mid-June to mid-July is busiest. You can do the same at other beaches such as Karşıyaka or Dipkarpaz. Night Viewing You’ll be surprised how big turtles are and you have to be very quiet so you don’t scare them. Children are allowed to come, but they must be quiet and supervised. Phones or cameras with flashes or lights aren’t allowed as these disorientate mother turtles, who go by the light of the moon to lay their eggs. Pack a beach towel or blanket to lay on, wear long trousers and warm clothes as it can get chilly, and wear trainers or good sandals as there can be uneven terrain. The walk is around 1km to the site and you can expect to be there from around 8pm until 5.30am if you’d like to stay all night, but you can leave earlier via prior arrangement. The Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT) was founded by British expatriates Ian and Celia Bell and local philanthropist Kutlay Keço. In 1988 a preliminary field study found nesting of green and loggerhead turtles to be significant. SPOT contacted Glasgow University and in 1992 a volunteer expedition team made a thorough survey. On the basis of this expedition, Kutlay committed to provide volunteer accommodation in Alagadi, which is still used today by the Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP). MTCP continues as a collaboration between SPOT, University of Exeter’s Marine Turtle Research Group and the North Cyprus Department for Environmental Protection. Although initially established as an organisation for conserving sea turtles, today SPOT has increased its area of research and projects concerning marine life. These include: ​ Sea Turtles Monk Seals Fisheries Dolphins & Whales Sharks and Rays Bio invasives Pollution Booking Turtle watching is a great experience and should definitely be on your agenda of things to do in Northern Cyprus if you’re visiting in the summer months. You can book for individuals or groups via the SPOT website . Viewing nights are really popular, so book early. Alternatively you can visit the Alagadi site office close to the beach. Just follow the signs to the Turtle Conservation Project (AKA the Goat Shed). They’re generally open from late May to late September between 9am and 8pm. SPOT also have a Facebook page , a Twitter page and an Instagram Page , where you can find all their information. Tracking turtles - Katie’s story G055 (Katie) has been monitored since 1995, so she’s probably over 50 by now. In 1999 she was tracked to Egypt, where she seemed to be resident. In 2003 she came back to Alagadi, and was then tracked to Libya. 20 years later, in June 2022, she came back to Alagadi yet again and had a GPS transmitter and dive data logger attached, to see whether she remains faithful to her old foraging site in Libya’s Gulf of Sirte. Safe journey Katie. Can’t wait to try and meet you next time you come into Alagadi beach. Top Guides > Nature > Audoin's Gull Classified as ‘near threatened’ due to its small population, limited range and vulnerability, regions where Audoin's Gull have more than 20 nests are declared as Important Bird Areas. Although foraging grounds of Audouin’s Gull include the northwest coastlines of Africa during winter, its breeding grounds are almost entirely in the Mediterranean. Ebro Delta of Spain contains the largest colony, harbouring 67% of the breeding population worldwide. Detailed information exists about the distribution, numbers and ecology of birds breeding in the Western Mediterranean Region, but little is known about their state in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Cyprus, which hosts the eastern most breeding population known to date . The only consistent breeding region in the island is the Kleides Islands off Cape Andreas, and this population has been monitored annually since 2007.The Kleides Islands are not only a significant breeding region for the Audouin’s Gull, but also for the endangered subspecies of Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii) which is an endemic species to the Mediterranean. The Islands are also used by the Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) for breeding purposes. As a result, the Kleides Islands has been declared as an Important Bird Area since 2004. Each year during the breeding season, a small team visits the Kleides islets by boat, to count the number of adults and nests of Audouin’s Gulls, Yellow-legged Gull, and Mediterranean Shag, a subspecies of Shag found only in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, all of which breed there. This programme contributes data to an international Action Plan for Audouin’s Gull. Results so far suggest that the Cyprus population is decreasing, with 8-28 breeding pairs counted each year, although in different years the birds do nest in different areas on different islets (mainly on Zinaritou, Kasteletta and Kleidi rock). In 2012, for the first time ever, the gulls were also found nesting at Lefkoniso islet, on the north coast of the Karpasia peninsula, about 17km away from the Kleides archipelago. The programme will continue, to acquire a longer run of data and detect any problems with the population. ​ Since 2008, KUŞKOR has organised an annual census of birds breeding on the islands, and has observed the changes that the colonies of Audouin’s Gull have been experiencing in particular. Historically, >40 pairs bred at the site, but this has steadily fallen and in 2015 recorded the lowest numbers at a mere 8 pairs - a clear warning that the future of the species on our island is in grave danger. The loss of this colony would represent a significant range contraction. The most apparent reason for this decline is likely human disturbance by rod-fishermen using the islands. As the islands are small, even stepping on them can flush the birds and cause them to desert their nests. In the light of this, in 2014 KUŞKOR campaigned with the Turkish Cypriot authorities, and landing on the islands without a permit has now been banned by law, and there are warning signs at the most intensively used places in the region and at boat landing sites, to provide information about the ban. Further threats could also be influencing a decline in this colony including resource competition, kleptoparasitism, and predators like the Yellow Legged Gulls which share the islands. The islands are also likely ratted, which could be contributing to reduced breeding success. Overfishing may also be a factor. The impact of these threats is unknown and, along with threats from climate change, which can affect sea temperature and fish populations, and native and introduced predators, such as Peregrine Falcons, results in a need to keep the tiny population under constant surveillance. Further studies will quantify these threats and help draw up a management plan for the islands aimed at preventing the extinction of the species as a breeding bird of Cyprus. Top Guides > Nature > Besparmak Mountains Also known as the Kyrenia Mountains , this long and narrow mountain range runs for over 170 km parallel to the coast of North Cyprus. One of only two mountain ranges on the island, its highest peak is Selvili Tepe , at just over a 1,000 metres. It’s primarily made of limestone, including dolomite and marble dating to the Mesozoic period. Clothed in pine and cypress forests, including a selection of deciduous trees, Arbutus, Holm Oak, Azarolus, Fig and Walnut are all well spread and frequent. The range is an area of diverse flora , many of them endemic species. There are three main passes through which most traffic is routed, though there are other tracks used by walkers and hikers, especially the famous Besparmak Mountain Trail. In Byzantine and Lusignan times, the location of these mountains near the sea made them desirable locations for watch towers and castles to overlook the coast and central plain. Castles sat astride of peaks during the Middle Ages that today attract thousands of visitors each year, namely St Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara. Despite its relatively low altitude, it still provides an effective barrier between the Mesarya Plain and the northern coastline, preventing harsh winds from drying the fertile soil that fills this agricultural area. Winter rain irrigates the plain and the porous limestone provides an excellent filter for the water that’s preserved in mountain aquifers that provides water for nearly all the towns and villages in North Cyprus. An abundance of fire breakers run alongside the mountain slopes, established after a destructive forest fire in 1996 which continued for three days and destroyed a large part of the Kyrenia forestry and habitat. A giant flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is also painted on the southern slope of these mountains. At 425 metres wide and 250 metres high, this flag can be seen from miles south and is illuminated at night. The Besparmak’s most distinguishing feature is a peak that resembles five fingers with many legends explaining how this came about. The Legendary Tales A long time ago a pretty girl lived in a village on the outskirts of Kyrenia. Two men were very much in love with this dame, but only one would receive her affection. One’s heart was made of gold, the other’s was full of evil. Tired of trying to outwit one another for her heart, the men decided to settle for a duel in a close by marshland. The malevolent man quickly wounded the other and threw his opponent into the swamp. He was quickly dragged down but somehow managed to drag his opponent in as well so that both were buried alive. The gentle man however was entombed with his left fist tightly quenched above the mud, yearning in desperation his love would save him. When the marshy area dried out, the man’s hand turned into the mountains and today, we can see his knuckles and five fingers on the Besparmak range. ​ A gutsy villager fell in love with the local Queen and asked for her hand in marriage. For most this would stay an unrequited love, but the villager confronted the Queen nonetheless. The Queen wished to be rid of the rude man and requested that he bring her some water from the spring of Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the Karpaz, quite a risky journey in those days, deemed an almost impossible mission. The man set off and after several weeks returned with the precious water, much to the dismay of the Queen. Although he had succeeded the Queen still refused to marry him. In a fit of rage, he poured the water on to the earth, seized a handful of the resulting mud and threw it at the Queen’s head. She dodged the lump of mud which sailed far across the land all the way to the top of the Kyrenia mountain range, where it is to this day, still showing the impression of the thwarted villager’s five fingers, or a representation of the heartbroken villager’s disappointment. Another famous tale is of the Byzantine hero Digenis Akritas . Tradition has it that the bold warrior leapt across the sea from Anatolia in a magnificent attempt to save Cyprus from the Saracen invaders. Hand gripping the mountain to get out of the sea, it's his heroic handprint in the mountains. ​ According to another legend, the gnarled massif was formed millions of years ago when the world was peopled by giants . A giant aiming a handful of rocks at his opponent, missed their target and the rocks landed on the hillside, forming the limestone five-finger ridge. Top Guides > Nature > Bird Watching Northern Cyprus is home to around 347 different species of birds, 7 of which are unique to the country. The twice-yearly arrival of migrating birds adds to the unique pleasure of bird watching, with visiting birds heading north from March to May, and south between August and October. Visitors include Swallows, Swifts, Hoopoe, Masked Shrike and Little Ringed Plovers. There are birds that migrate specifically for breeding purposes, and the island is used as a convenient stopping off post for many species in transit to other lands. Learn more about Birds of Northern Cyprus . ​ Some great places to go bird watching in North Cyprus include: Wetlands around Famagusta Tip of the Karpaz Peninsula Kaplica beach coastal area Various Reservoirs Kyrenia Mountain Range Kaylar and surrounding area Mia Milia Sewage Treatment Plant area Inonu and surrounding area ​ Mountain Bird Watching One of the best places to watch birds is in the Kyrenia Mountains, where the pines and cypress trees teem with birds. Kantara Castle offers a picturesque spot to observe both resident and migrant birds, including the Blue Rock Thrush, Spectacled Warbler, the resident Cyprus Warbler and Wheatear, and Black-Headed Bunting. Alpine Swifts can be seen darting around their nests, perched on the cliffs around the castle. ​ North Cyprus Griffon Vulture The Griffon Vulture still soars above Kantara and St Hilarion in the Kyrenia Mountains, riding the winds on its 2m wingspan. Birds of prey numbers have been affected by hunting but it’s still possible to see buzzards and falcons, and nesting pairs of red kite can be spotted around the Lapta area. Other hunters include scops owl and little owls. The reservoirs at Köprülü and Gonyeli attract overwintering duck, herons and grebes, which in turn attract birds of prey to feast on them. ​ Karpas peninsula bird watching This peninsula juts out eastwards from the north coast, pointing towards the Turkish mainland. It’s a major stopping point for many migratory birds where you can spot Golden Orioles and Bee-eaters. The Rollers always provide a great display, as they bounce across the countryside in their trademark jerky flight pattern. At the far end of the Karpas peninsula, the Klidhes Islands provide refuge for sea birds such as Audouin’s Gulls, Cormorants and Shags. During March and April, the islands are also home to breeding Peregrine Falcons, audaciously fast hunters who snatch birds from the sky as food for their offspring. The peninsula is also home to two game birds, the Francolin and Chikor, both types of partridge. Bird Society (Kuşkor) The North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Birds (Kuşkor) has been active since 1988 and works for the welfare of all birds and holds regular education programmes for adults and children alike. Kuşkor work hard to protect and conserve the breeding and migrant bird populations of Northern Cyprus at a time when natural habitat is dwindling through human development and the numbers of birds are depleting due to hunting, poisoning, changes in land use and climate change. ​ The Kuşkor ringing scheme. Mark and recapture or resight is one of the fundamental methodologies in the field of biological sciences and is applied to bird populations throughout the world as a tool for identifying species structures, taxonomy, demography and movements. In 2001 the Kuşkor Ringing Scheme was founded by Kuşkor officials and qualified British ringers. In 2015 Kuşkor became a member of the European Union for Bird Ringing (EURING). Adopting British Trust for Ornithology conventions and regulations and British-sourced metal rings headed ‘Kuşkor North Cyprus’, the Kuşkor scheme has welcomed qualified ringers who have been trapping birds at sites across Northern Cyprus, assisted by resident ecologists. Cyprus is at the heart of the vast Eastern Mediterranean flyway and has resident, passage migrant, migrant breeding and wintering populations of birds about which relatively little is known, which makes them perfect subjects for ringing studies. As well as adding significantly to our general understanding of birds at the study sites, ringing-based articles from Kuşkor ringers have been published on the breeding Eurasian Reed Warbler, Nightingale and Cyprus Warbler and the presence of the scheme has continued to give focus to avian conservation issues in Northern Cyprus. ​ Karpasia Peninsula - Kleides Islands The remote, relatively un-spoilt and picturesque Karpasia Peninsula, with its rolling hills, juniper-dominated shrubland and low-intensity farmland is one of the outstanding IBAs in Cyprus, important for its characteristic Mediterranean bird community. The site is also an Endemic Bird Area, and significant for no fewer than 4 species of global conservation concern, like the Roller and the Audouin’s Gull. The rocky Kleides islands and the islet of Lefkoniso are the only breeding sites in Cyprus for this gull species. ​ Pentadaktylos Mountains This site encompasses most of the Pentadaktylos range, which stretches along the north coast of the island. The steep slopes of the range are sparsely vegetated on the southern face but covered in scrub and mixed forest of pine and cypress on the wetter north-facing slopes. The site is of importance for many breeding forest birds including the Black-headed Bunting and the Bonelli’s Eagle and for its characteristic Mediterranean bird community. It's an Endemic Bird Area site, with significant populations of the endemic Cyprus Wheatear and Cyprus Warbler. ​ Kormakitis Peninsula On the north-west of the island, Kormakitis Peninsula with its rocky coastline, extensive areas of low scrub, patches of lowland pine forest and low-intensity cereal-growing land, is of importance for passing waterbirds along its coastline and for breeding birds, like the Nightjar and the two endemics. ​ Mia Milia Sewage Treatment Plant A man-made set of sewage treatment pools and surrounding agricultural land on the outskirts of Nicosia. The site attracts breeding waders and has regularly attracted small but significant numbers of the globally threatened White-headed Duck in winter. ​ Mesaoria Plain This extensive site captures an important part of the central Mesaoria plain and is almost entirely dominated by cereal fields. Though more intensively managed and man-dominated than most other IBAs, it is the top breeding site on the island for three species typical of open, flat and dry landscapes: Stone Curlew, Crested Lark and Calandra Lark. ​ Famagusta Lakes An extensive though fragmented complex of fresh and brackish marshes and pools on the outskirts of Famagusta town, the site attracts a wide range of waterbirds, notably breeding Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Lapwing. The lakes are also the only known breeding site for Glossy Ibis in Cyprus. ​ Other bird watching sites in North Cyprus Cape Andrea’s (Zafer) Avtepe / Kuruova area The north cost around Kaplica Tuzluca Marsh Silver Beach Akova Reservoir Demirhan pools Akdeniz Reservoir Cape Koruçam Geçitköy Reservoir Acapulco and Arapköy Reservoir Haspolat The Five Fingers Mountain and Herbarium ​ Wild Birds Found in Northern Cyprus Top Guides > Nature > Butterflies Butterflies indicate a healthy environment, and are generally described as the essence of freedom, peace and nature. Northern Cyprus is famed for rural diversity, the beauty of which acts as one of the main draws to this jewel in the Mediterranean. From stunning mountain ranges to powder soft beaches, the landscape is as picturesque as it is varied. Little wonder then that Northern Cyprus attracts thousands of holiday makers year upon year. The very same reason that it’s loved by an altogether different breed of visitor...the humble butterfly. Northern Cyprus acts as a resting point for over 50 different species as they make their yearly pilgrimage. Hundreds upon millions of butterflies migrate each year, flooding the skies with colour while navigating their way, ensure their continuing survival. Fully grown butterflies appear in February in coastal areas such as Kyrenia and Famagusta. They’re on the wing until May in lowland areas, and at the beginning of July appear in mountain areas. Butterfly watching is a growing hobby in North Cyprus for nature lovers, who find, identify and record their behaviour. It’s particularly amazing on the Five Finger Mountains and Alevkaya areas, where you’re likely to see Cyprus Grayling and Cyprus Meadow Brown . You can also spot gorgeous butterflies in bushes, nearby flowers or shady locations. If you take a stroll through the Alevkaya forest between May and September, you may have the unique chance to see the wonderful Hermit and Eastern Rock Grayling . ​ One of the most easily recognisable visitors, is the Vanessa Cardui or Painted Lady. This particular species, distinguishable by its warm orange wings, edged in black and spotted with white polka dots, has an impressive wingspan of up to 9cm. During March this delicate creature travels up to 15,000 kilometres from is wintering locations in Africa, through the Mediterranean and onto Europe before making the return trip in Autumn. Several varieties of butterfly are endemic to Northern Cyprus, which means that these beautiful insects can be appreciated throughout all four seasons. The Paphos Blue or Glaucopsyche Paphos is one of the island’s permanent residents and unmistakable due to its blue wings. February sees adult butterflies start to emerge in coastal regions and are visible on the wing until June. The Levantine Leopard or Apharitis Acamas appears in June and is a rare and spectacular sight. With wings bearing a distinctive leopard print on the underside, edged in a fine line of silver scales, these delicate wings hold a secret only revealed in the sunlight. Each hind wing possesses two tails, the larger of which is painted with an area of blue and only visible when the light hits it. Most commonly seen between April and October at all altitudes, is the Cyprus Meadow Brown or Maniola Cypricola . A lover of fragrant herbs such as thyme, the females have wings painted on the upper side in shades of amber and yellow, with a distinctive jet-black eye spot. Interestingly, the males of the species are less boldly marked. Another butterfly that enjoys the warmth of the Northern Cyprus climate is the Vanessa Atalanta , or Red Admiral. Easily recognised by its black velvet wings, intersected by striking red bands and specks of bright white, this specific butterfly is fiercely territorial. So much so, that females will only mate with males that hold territory. Unusual in the fact that this butterfly is regarded as ‘people-friendly’, the Red Admiral is only too happy to use humans as a comfortable perch to rest on, just one more reason to make Northern Cyprus your holiday destination. Top Guides > Nature > Carob Trees Carob has been cultivated in Cyprus since the 1st century and was one of the island’s major exports from the medieval era right up to the end of British rule. The carob (harnup), is a flowering evergreen tree or shrub in the legume family, Fabaceae, that can reach 10 metres in height and has a broad thick-bowed crown. It’s widely cultivated for its edible pods, but also has many other uses. Although native to the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, it's also found in North America. It’s usually planted together in mixed cultures with olives, pruned and grafted at an early stage. ​ History As Kyrenia region harvested over a quarter of the island’s carob tree pods, Kyrenia Harbour became the centre for its trade, and harbour-front buildings were used as warehouses to store the carob harvest before it was packed into hessian sacks and shipped out to Europe, where it was fed to cattle, sheep and horses. The trade of this cash ​ crop was very profitable for the island and helped to produce such abundant wealth it was named the “Cyprus Black Gold ”. Although the international carob trade collapsed in the 1960s, it continues to be harvested by local farmers. Carob Tree The best carob growing areas are within the Kyrenia mountain range, and can be found anywhere, whether it be dry or stony terrain, to 600 metres above sea level. Its leaves are pinnate, smooth-edged leathery leaflets, dark green to russet in colour. The tree produces clusters of long pods, which in early growth resemble a curved goat’s horn, hence referred to locally as keçiboynuz. It blossoms in July to October, when the catkins appear hanging from mature branches. By the end of the summer the mature pods are 10-30 cm long and flat. During ripening, these gradually turn to a rich dark brown colour and before the pod dries out in the summer heat, it's harvested. ​ Modern Day Uses Carob is a feed substance that's highly nutritious and full of sugar, so in addition to being used for animal fodder it has other domestic uses. Carob pods are naturally sweet, not bitter, and contain no theobromine or caffeine. The carob tree fruit is widely used in medicine, as it's rich in such vitamins as A, B, B2, B3 and D . The ripe, dried, and sometimes toasted pod, is often ground into carob powder, which is sometimes used to replace cocoa powder. Carob bars are an alternative to chocolate bars and are globally available in health and vegan food stores. However, the local pekmez (molasses) condiment, produced by boiling carob powder into a reduction, is a healthy favourite found in all supermarkets. The carob is also an excellent source of firewood, and the resin extracted from the seeds is used in cosmetics, paper and textile industries.You can just enjoy eating the fresh dark-brown pods itself, filled with natural honey-like juices and enjoyed by many other mammals alike. ​ Landscaping The carob tree is widely cultivated in the horticultural nursery industry as an ornamental plant for Mediterranean climates and other temperate regions around the world, and is especially popular in California and Hawaii. It's very drought tolerant, and if the size of the fruit harvest is not of importance, it can be used in xeriscaping designs for gardens, parks, and public municipal and commercial landscapes. Carats The carat (the unit of measurement for the size of diamonds and other gemstones), is based on the weight of a carob bean, which is remarkably consistent from pod to pod and tree to tree. There are records of carob beans being used to weigh gems as early as Roman times, and it's thought that the word carat actually derived from these pods. Top Guides > Nature > Cumbez Tree In Famagusta town centre lies this colossal ancient tree. Outside Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque , this tree according to botanists, was planted at the time when building of the original St Nicholas Cathedral structure commenced, making it over 720 years of age , and the oldest living tree on the island. The tree has many names, including Ficus sycomorus,(sycamore fig) or the Fig-mulberry as its’ leaves resemble those of the mulberry, but locals refer to it simply as the “Cumbez”. ​ The Cumbez is native to Africa south of the Sahel and north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and is a tropical fig species that has been cultivated since ancient times. The main trunk of the tree is surrounded by smaller trunks springing up from the massive root system, which have grown into the main one, providing it added support. According to local folklore, there are seven trunks round the main trunk, each representing every 100 years of its past. In the Bible, the sycomore is referred to seven times in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament. This monumental tree is what botanists call simple deciduous. Its' leaves will have all but disappeared in the winter giving the illusion that the tree has died, yet in a month, towards the beginning of spring, all the leaves cover the whole tree with dense green foliage, throwing a magnificent shade over the courtyard of the cathedral converted mosque, welcoming travellers visiting during the hot summer days. The Cumbez is the oldest living thing in Cyprus and what a story it's witnessed – Lusignan knights, Venetian builders, Ottoman sieges, earthquakes, and only the tree knows what more. It’s listed under the Department of Culture’s National Heritage List and is protected by the Department of Forestry Famagusta Office. Top Guides > Nature > Flora & Fauna Springtime is by far the time best viewing season with 100+ Cyprus endemic species and 19 North Cyprus endemics to discover . Crocus, cyclamen and muscari do bloom during the winter months, but late February to end of April are best months for seeing Cyprus in bloom. The flora depends on how much rain fell in winter, as the heat from April onwards brings an end to blooming wildflowers. ​ Flowers The first colour of Spring is the bright yellow of the Oxalis pes-caprae . An agricultural nuisance but a welcome splash of colour, this is soon followed by the anemones in white, pale mauve, blue and red, and after them come some of the Ophrys and Orchis species such as Ophrys fusca (the Brown Bee Orchid) and Orchis morio (Green-winged Orchis), which are widespread and can be found in the pine forests and on rocky hillsides. The Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) has flowers in the white to dark blue spectrum, and grows as a flat cluster of broad green leaves with the flowers nestling in the middle. It can easily be seen along road-sides and on many of the ancient sites. The Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum coronarium), est of the island. covers the fields and verges with pale orange, bathing the countryside in sunshine. As the weather starts to get warmer, the most colourful of the Spring flowers clothe the scene. Asphodels, Calendula and three varieties of Cistus (Cistus creticus, Cistus parviflorus and Cistus salviifolius) produce a host of shades. The giant fennel (Ferrula communis) is an inedible plant and grows unchecked in fields and mountains. It grows to a height in excess of 2m with a feathery leaf, used by the local florists in flower arrangements. With many heads of bright yellow flowers, towering over all other species it’s unmissable. The vibrant blues of the anchusas (Anchusa azurea), tall, bright and hairy, and Anchusa undulata, low growing, dark blue almost purple), mix with the paler blue of the Dyer’s alkanet (Alkanna Lehmanii), and the equally colourful echiums, (Echium angustifolium, narrow-leaved Bugloss, and Echium plantagineum, viper’s Bugloss). Flowering from February to May are the ranunculus that grow in the foothills of the mountains. The turban buttercup or Persian crowfoot (Ranunculus Asiaticus), grow in a variety of colours from cream to yellow, deep scarlet, and white flashed with red. Though similar, they’re not to be confused with the anemones that share the same habitat. The common pink corn flag (Gladiolus italicus) can be found in the corn fields as can the Cyprus black tulip (Tulipa cypria), not truly black but very dark red. The Arabian sun rose (Fumana Arabica)and the endemic Cyprus sun rose (Helianthemum obtusifolium) favour the same habitat and are very similar, with papery thin yellow petals, growing in rocky terrain they flower from February to May. North Cyprus is also well known for its tulips, and a Tulip Festival is held yearly in Tepebaşı which is a village located between Kyrenia and Güzelyurt on the north west of the island. ​ Orchids North Cyprus is home to around 30 different orchids, all of which are protected species, with the Ophrys Kotscdhyi variety only growing in Cyprus. You can join walking tours specifically tailored to see some of the varieties growing on the island. Mixed in with the orchids, you’ll see brilliant splashes of colour after the rainy season, with poppies and cyclamen mixed with crocus and cyntius. Trees Olive trees are another feature of North Cyprus, with destruction of these ancient trees completely illegal. In the autumn you’ll often see families out on their land, shaking olives from trees and taking them to be pressed for oil. Other North Cyprus trees include the jacaranda with its beautifully coloured bark; the wonderfully scented frangipani and jasmine; the purple flowering Judas tree; delicate pepper trees; and the staples of almond and carob trees which litter the gardens of many . Fig and mulberry trees are also common. ​ Citrus Trees Around November, you’ll regularly see orange, lemon and grapefruit trees bursting with fruit. There’s three types of oranges grown in North Cyprus, and each has a specific purpose and many people still have them growing in their gardens. Pomegranates are also grown. ​ Ranunculus Asiaticus (Turban Buttercup, Persian Crowfoot) The Turban Buttercup is a perennial with sparingly branched stems up to 30 cm high, bearing bright flowers of many colour forms, from white to cream, yellow to orange, flame to scarlet, salmon pink , deep salmon pink, carmine and many amalgamations of these. These beautiful flowers have many different colours, which makes spotting them exciting. For the complete novice, identifying them can be confusing, because at first sight they’re not unlike Crown Anemones. The quickest way to differentiate between them is to be sure that there are green sepals below the petals; there’s no green bract wrapped around the stem under the flower. Habitat: Rocky or grassy hillsides, pastures, roadsides, in ditches, foot-hills of the Kyrenia range on open scree below the north face; sea-level to 2,200 feet alt. Flowers from February to May. Cyclamen Cyprium (Cyprus or Autumn Cyclamen) Flower stalk slender c.10 cm high erect bronze/purple, bearing a sweet-scented flower in the autumn before leaves appear. Petals white or very pale pink with conspicuous deep magneta (noses) blotch M-shaped where they turn sharply up/back; after flowering the stalks curve down forming small tight "springs" bearing a seeding-box (you can pull gently on the coil and feel the spring-tension which pushes the ovary against the ground, enabling ants to carry away the seeds); seed coat dark brown, rough, very sticky when newly shed. Leaves spade-shaped, fleshy grey-green, marbled; leaf underside rich purple or crimson. Tubers with rough greyish bark, about 7 cm diameter or less; roots appear from one side of lower surface. Habitat:Shaded calcareous or ingenious rocks, on steep hillsides, banks, under shrubs or trees; sea-level to 3,000 ft alt. ​ Anemone Coronaria (Crown Anemone) This is one of the most memorable and beautiful Mediterranean plants because of its brightly-coloured flowers, which are among the first to appear in the early spring (although exceptionally bad storms of rain or hail and cold winds have been known to retard the flowering time until the sun encourages them to appear). Flower stems 10-30 cm high, bearing a solitary flower head, leaf-like twice cut into narrow segments. Flowers large, 4-8 cms across, without green sepals, which distinguishes it clearly from the Asiatic Buttercup; 5-8 oval petals, in lavender, lilac, deep purple, red to scarlet, rose-pink, magneta, and more rarely white, blue or in many and various intermediate shades, sometimes two-coloured, with a white or pale base; even the white have a circle of white in the area near the stamens (the white petals make this circle more difficult to see, but caught in the sun at certain angle the white circle shines silvery-white or white). The red form and the shades of purple are the most widespread, but it is very exciting to find the rarer pale apricot pink and the deep salmon pink. Fruiting heads become taller and more cylindrical as the petals fade. Stamens numerous; filaments pink, violet or red; anthers purplish or black; styles threadlike 1-2 mm long, blackish. Torus ovoid; nutlets densely woolly. Leaves broadly triangular, 3-12 cm across, divided into 3 triangular, stalked, pinnatifid or deeply divided segments, ultimate divisions narrow, variously toothed; stalks 3-7 cm long. Habitat:Habitat of both normal and dwarf forms (var. parviflora) with just as many brilliant colours, but with flowers no larger than a lady's small watch-face, open spaces, grassy slopes and hillsides, in cultivated and fallow fields, by roadsides; sea-level to 2,900 ft alt. on the Kyrenia range, near Five Finger mountains and across from the south face towards the Nicosia road. Flowers from December to April. Narcissus Serotinus (Late Narcissus) Small perennial with ovoid bulb 1.5-3 cm long, with a thick papery dark brown covering. One or two flowers on slender green stems (with tendency to coil or curve); flowers fragrant, with perianth tube narrow, pale green; petals white, apex rounded to slightly pointed; corona very small, with six semi-circular orange lobes, only 1 mm long. Capsule 1 cm long. Leaves only 1-2, very slender, usually appearing after flowering. Habitat:Shallow soil over rocks, open areas; sea-level to 800 ft alt. Flowers October to early December. ​ Crocus Veneris [var. Cyprium (Cyprus or Autumn Crocus) Perennial herb with a corm, in flower 4-8 cm high. Flowers 1-2, fragrant; six white segments, often with a violet stripe or feathering on the outside of the outer three. Leaves 3-4, equalling the flower in height, but occasionally with only the tips showing; up to 1 mm wide, bright dark green, with a narrow silvery median stripe on the upper surface. Habitat: Stony and grassy places in maquis or open conifer woods; 300-2,500 ft alt. Flowers November to January. ​ Tulipa Cypria (Cyprus or Black Tulip) This tulip appears to be bright scarlet, but in normal reflected light resembles its common name - Black Tulip. (Note that the scarlet flower with yellow inside is considered by botanists to be a distinct species, Tulipa Agenensis). The cup or the solitary head, has 6 oval petals with pointed tips, the black basal blotch on each petal being only slightly bordered by yellow; stamens thick and sturdy, with bright yellow polen borne on dark red oblong anthers; stigmas creamy, conspicuous on top of the ovary. Stalk 30 cm high, pale yellow-green. Leaves at bases spreading sideways, about 20 cm long, grey-green with undulating margins; those part-way up the stem smaller, narrower and sharply-pointed. Habitat: Mostly in cereal fields, hidden below the level of the wheat, but in great numbers. Flowers Mar-Apr. Helianthemum Obtusifolium (Yellow Cyprus Sun Rose) Straggling shrublet with branches to 25 cm long, growing on stony ground; flower-buds hairy, purple-black striped with two outer sepals and 3 inner broader ones like pointed spades; 5 pale yellow petals 15 mm long; stamens 4 mm long with distinct oblong anthers which show clearly in the open-plan arrangements of the stamens. Habitat: Dry rocky hillsides in garigue; sea-level to 3,000 ft alt. Flowers February to May. 5 Flowers that Solely Grow in Cyprus Officially, there are 140 recorded endemic plants that only grow on the island. Here’s 5 to for you to admire. If you find yourself out in nature, by all means look for them but don’t pick them as you might be putting the species in danger. Tulipa Cypria Commonly known as the Cyprus Tulip, the Tulipa Cypria is one of the rarest flowers of the island, making it difficult to stumble upon, but an exciting occasion if you do! Considered a strictly protected species, this tulip flowers during the months of March and April. The Cyprus Tulip is small in size, growing up to 15-40 centimetres high, while its particularity is its two larger leaves at the lower end of its stem. Its striking dark, blood-red colour makes it hard to miss! ​ Bosea Cypria In full bloom from April until July, this evergreen shrub can be seen in abundance hanging on the side of cliffs, stone walls or even trees and it’s usually found not too far away from the sea level. Prevalent in the Akamas Nature reserve in the Paphos region, the shrub isn’t hard to miss with its bright red berries! ​ Alyssum Akamasicum The Alyssum Akamasicum borrowed its name from ‘Akamas’, the notable natural reserve in the Paphos region where it can be found. Notably, there are 11 locations where it can be seen in the Paphos region only. Known to grow close to the sea level, researchers believe that there are only about 3,000 of its kind in the area, justifying its listing as a vulnerable species. ​ Ophrys Kotschyi Known as the Cyprus Bee Orchid, the Ophrys kotschyi has 3 subspecies to its name, 1 of them being native to Cyprus. Prevalent in grasslands and open pine woodlands, this beautiful and distinctive orchid is listed as ‘near threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. ​ Cyclamen Cyprium The Cyclamen Cyprium is also known as the Cyprus Cyclamen. It is the national flower of the island. Flowering from November to March, the Cyprus cyclamen likes to grow in the mountainous regions. Its leaves are heart shaped with rigged edges, while its petals are pale pink with magenta streaks on the edges. ​ Herbarium If you’re interested in the flora of North Cyprus, then the Herbarium is well worth a visit. You’ll find it in the Alevkaya Forest Station on the mountain ridge between Esentepe and Degirmenlik and it has over 1,200 native plant species. ​ Illustrated Guide North Cyprus is a fantastic place to view hundreds of different types of flora and flowers and “An Illustrated Flora of North Cyprus ” by Dr Deryck Viney, is an invaluable guide for amateurs and professionals alike if you want to become even more familiar. Top Guides > Nature > Hunting Love it or hate it, Cyprus has had a culture of hunting for generations. Hunting season is normally between September and October. Hunters can use dogs to hunt game such as pheasant, snipe, quail, crow, magpie, and rabbit . It's absolutely prohibited to shoot any bird that isn't on the list issued to hunters, especially birds of prey. Hunting for small game doesn't allow dogs and is mainly for smaller migratory bird species. ​ The Game and Wild Bird Law Covers Hunting Season, Hunting Animals, Hunting Regions and Hunting Days. North Cyprus has its own Hunting Federation who oversee and govern hunters and the issuing of licences. They're also involved in breeding programmes to replenish stock and conduct patrols, to ensure hunters are compliant with the laws. Over recent years environmental groups, biologist groups and the public, have voiced concerns about decimation of wildlife, the rise in the number of illegal hunters being caught and the use of illegal hunting methods to trap song birds. Hunting will always be a sensitive issue, but other detrimental effects on the natural habitat are also to blame for decreases in bird population, such as major road building projects and prolific property development. In addition to permanent game protection zones and no hunting zones, it's forbidden to hunt, kill, catch or chase any game or wild birds in the following areas: ​ 500 meters or closer to dams and ponds 300 meters or closer to picnic areas 300 meters or closer to Eleousa Monastery 200 meters or closer to residential areas 200 meters or closer to the Tashkent Nature Park 200 meters or closer to the Central Prison buildings 200 meters or closer to Haspolat Treatment Plants 200 meters or closer of all shooting ranges 200 meters or closer to the new Ercan Airport runway construction 200 meters or closer to universities 200 meters or closer to formalized corral areas 200 meters or closer to Muratağa, Atlılar and Sandallar martyrdoms and massacre pits 100 meters or closer to the Animal Waste Storage Area The TRNC Flag drawn on the rocks over the Tashkent village 200 meters or closer to the adjacent meteorological station Top Guides > Nature > Incirli Cave Within a hill near the tiny village of Cinarli, sits the largest cave on the island . Taking its name from a nearby fig tree, Incirli Cave is a naturally formed gypsum cave located about 2km to the northeast of Cinarli, containing a fascinating collection of stalagmites and stalactites. To better understand the speleology of Incirli, (the study or exploration of caves), here's some key words to get your head around. ​ Gypsum : A soft sulphate mineral that's widely mined and used as a fertilizer and the main constituent in many forms of plaster, blackboard chalk and dry wall. Stalactites : Icicle-shaped formations with pointed tips, that hang down from the ceiling of a cave. Produced from water dripping through the cave ceiling. Stalagmite: Upward-growing mound of mineral deposits made from water dripping onto the floor of a cave. Most have rounded or flattened tips. ​ The Cave Incirli cave is a fascinating collection of stalagmites and stalactites. Hidden away off a signed beaten track, the entrance to this amazing cave is so small that you'd hardly know it was there if it weren't for the nearby symbolic fig (Turkish: incir) tree. Two flights of steps take you down into the widest and longest part of the cave. The only known developed gypsum topography cave in Northern Cyprus or Türkiye, it's very well illuminated for visitors with hand rails to make it easy to make your way through. Lined with unique cauliflower shaped structures formed out of the white mineral, coarse stalactites hang from the ceiling whilst smooth stalagmites rise from the ground. Columns extending to the ceiling and sandstone rock formations add to the beauty. The air inside is dry and refreshing and the rocks will remind you of coral. The cave extends to a depth of about 250 metres. It's 5-10 metres wide at points, and 4-7 metres high, which is said to change according to the phases of the moon. Towards the end, the passageway narrows and sharply turns, providing a maze-like tour, with small corridors branching off into darkened nooks and rock formations swept upwards in exquisite curves. ​ Legendary Tales A long time ago, there were three thieves who hid their stolen goats in this cave. Villagers followed the footprints of the animals all the way to the fig tree where they mysteriously disappeared. After days of patrolling the area and with the help of local police, they laid an ambush which led to the discovery of the cave entrance nearby. As they watched the thieves enter the cave at midnight, they guarded the entrance until sunlight to make their move. Entering the cave the next morning, they were shocked to find no trace of the thieves nor the animals. Rumour has it the thieves escaped from a second entrance, close to the village of Altinova, some distance from Cinarli – this entrance is still waiting to be rediscovered to this day. In the 1950’s and 1960’s this cave was also known to be used as a hideout for nationalist guerrillas that fought a campaign for the end of British rule. Getting There The village, also referred to as ‘Platani’ and ‘Bladan’, is in the foothills of the Besparmak Mountains, famous for its organic honey and accessible from all directions. From Kyrenia, drive east along the coast towards Tatlisu and you'll see a sign post which will take you along a stony, windy road for about 4 km until you get to the car park. If you prefer, you can bypass this first sign and carry on a few kilometres where you'll see a second sign which takes you there via a much easier tarmac road. From Famagusta or Nicosia, the road bypassing Gecitkale towards the coast will take you directly to this second sign. A more scenic countryside stretching from Iskele via Sinirustu is yet another course to this remarkable site but the roads are simle to say the least. There is a car park and a ticket office office where you can buy some water or take a toilet break if required. The fig tree at the entrance that this cave takes its name from, has fruits believed to have healing powers. If you visit in the peak of summer you may find some to pick from the lower branches, assuming you beat the locals to it. Caves were amongst the earliest forms of shelter for mankind and one of the first places where humans began to pictorially depict their world around, in wall inscriptions and paintings. The Incirli cave is a fine example of the mysterious and astonishing world that caves represent for the curious and intrepid explorer. Top Guides > Nature > Karpaz National Park Jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea’s easternmost reaches, the Karpaz Peninsula, otherwise known as the “Panhandle ”, is a welcome diversion from the hustle and bustle of everyday life further inland. Almost 80 km from one end to the other, this peninsula is perhaps the Mediterranean’s last piece of unspoilt tranquillity, where green and azure meets history. Sparsely populated, with a wealth of deserted golden sand, life’s a beach here. Crop farmers, still relying on archaic horse-drawn implements, cheerily go about their work, while the Cyprus donkey roams freely in abundance. Along with multiple amphibians, reptiles and birds passing through on their migration routes, loggerhead and green sea turtles are also proud to regard this unspoilt stretch of land as home, sensing idyllic nesting grounds when they see them. From here, Maquis, Cypress and Pine trees pepper the countryside and scurry up hills to altitudes of around 1,000 metres, comprising a handsome backdrop to the serene sapphire blue of the gently caressing ocean. The surrounding waters have a wonderful clarity, ideal for snorkellers while those of a less intrepid nature may opt for a spot of fishing instead. Blessed with a biodiversity so rich, the entire area has been rightfully deemed a national reserve. The architectural eye candy includes several ruins, Kantara Castle and the Monastery of Apostolos Andreas, dedicated to Saint Andrew. The peninsula has lonely white sandy beaches, including the famous Golden Beach. Natural sanctuary The main reason for making Karpaz a conservation area is its natural flora and fauna. It's home to many endemic and protected species. Plant species number about 1,600 (22 endemic), bird species about 350 (7 endemic) and 26 reptile and amphibian species, so the biological diversity is especially rich. ​ Plant species Springtime sees colourful flowers like anemones, turban buttercups, poppies and gladioli. Although the area was cultivated with tomatoes, bananas and fruit trees, the "terra rossa" soil derived from limestone, red in colour due to the iron compounds, hosts orchids and lime-loving plants as well. The area on the whole is a landscape of rolling hills and grain fields, partly domesticated with vineyards, tobacco fields, olive or carob trees. Up to an altitude of 1,000 metres the hills are covered with pines, cypress and maquis vegetation. Wildlife Karpaz peninsula is one of the main migration stops for birds between Eastern Europe and Africa with around 300 species, amounting to millions of birds following this route in early spring and late summer. The remotest tip of the Karpaz, the Klídhes islands, allows sea birds such as Shag or Audouin's Gull to nest undisturbed. The cliffs provide secure strongholds for nesting Peregrine Falcons, as well as Doves and Pigeons. About 46 sandy beaches in the Karpaz are natural habitats and the main nestling ground to loggerhead ( Caretta caretta ) and green sea turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) who come to lay eggs on sandy beaches east of Cape Plakotí. Cyprus donkeys live freely in the Karpaz national park. Generally black, sometimes ginger, approach them with care. ​ Life in Karpaz Almost free from heavy population and industry, the region is one of the least polluted in the European Mediterranean. Fishing is the main industry of the countryside, with Bogaz and Kumyali the most important fishing villages. Many tourists visit to have a trip, admire the abandoned civilization of Byzantine churches, or just enjoy the nature and wide sandy beaches. Among the historical sights is Apostolos Andreas Monastery, a popular meeting point of many worshippers and visitors at the very tip of the Karpaz peninsula. Top Guides > Nature > Monumental Olive Trees Think of the Mediterranean and you'll picture perfect coastlines, spectacular mountainsides and landscapes lined with olive trees. The “Monumental Olive Trees ” may not be the first attraction you consider visiting in Northern Cyprus, but these gifts of mother nature are certainly overwhelming. Located in the village of Kalkanli on the North West coast, just outside Guzelyurt , these are the most ancient olive trees in Northern Cyprus, believed to have been planted in the 11th century Lusignan period. Some 2,000 colossal trees over 700 years in age , this area is one of the most important projects in the Natura 2000 initiative under EU protection. The area is a living cultural and natural heritage and makes a very popular attraction. If you enjoy nature and unique sights, these majestic trees in the wilderness are definitely a must-do on the list. ​ Usually on the last Sunday of March, the annual “Kalkanli Monumental Olive Trees Walk” is held with the aim of promoting olive trees and their importance to Northern Cyprus and Turkish Cypriot cultural heritage alike. Think of the Mediterranean and you'll picture perfect coastlines, spectacular mountainsides and landscapes lined with olive trees. The “Monumental Olive Trees ” may not be the first attraction you consider visiting in Northern Cyprus, but these gifts of mother nature are certainly overwhelming. Located in the village of Kalkanli on the North West coast, just outside Guzelyurt , these are the most ancient olive trees in Northern Cyprus, believed to have been planted in the 11th century Lusignan period. Some 2,000 colossal trees over 700 years in age , this area is one of the most important projects in the Natura 2000 initiative under EU protection. The area is a living cultural and natural heritage and makes a very popular attraction. If you enjoy nature and unique sights, these majestic trees in the wilderness are definitely a must-do on the list. Top Guides > Nature > Mushrooming Mushroom hunting is serious business in Northern Cyprus – really. A mushroom is actually the fruit of a fungus, which is simply a net of threadlike fibres called a mycelium, which grows in soil, wood or decaying matter. Most mushrooms are edible and highly delicious, some aren’t edible, and the rest are deadly poisonous, so if you want to go mushroom hunting in Northern Cyprus – take notice! The function of a mushroom is to produce spores which are the bits that make it reproduce. Spore identification is the master key for fungal identification. Some mushrooms produce their spores on gills (gilled fungi); some in pores (pore fungi), some on teeth (tooth fungi), some inside a leathery pouch (puffballs), some on the inside of shallow cups (cup fungi) and some simply on the surface of the mushroom (coral fungi and others). The spores fall off, get blown away by wind, or are carried by animals, water or insects. If a spore lands in a suitable spot, it germinates and grows into a new mycelium. ​ Mushrooms fall into two major groups. Ascomycota includes morels, cup fungi and truffles. They produce their spores in a closed ascus which opens upon maturity, and are called spore shooters. Basidiomycota ​includes gilled agarics, boletes, polypores and jelly fungi. They bear their pores on naked basidia called droppers, because they drop down the gills as they mature. The mushrooms most people recognise are the gilled fungi. These typical parasol-shaped mushrooms have caps with bladelike gills on the underside and stems with or without rings. The pore fungi are similar in appearance but have a spongy layer of tubes of pores on the underside of the cap instead of gills. Mushroom collecting requires the simplest of equipment: an ice box or flat-bottomed basket; small plastic or polystyrene boxes; a roll of waxed paper; a digging tool; and paper for notes. Be sure to collect the entire mushroom, including the base. Take only fresh, young mushrooms that are free of insect damage. Each type of mushroom should be wrapped separately in waxed paper and kept in small polystyrene boxes along with any notes you might want to make about the habitat and appearance of the mushroom. Don’t use plastic wrap as it just hastens decay. It’s a good idea to note where the mushroom is growing (on wood, soil or moss for example); whether it’s single or in clusters, the colour of the caps, gills and stem; and any other distinctive features. The more you can observe about the mushroom in the field, the easier it will be to identity. ​ Individual spores are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but you can make a spore print to show the colour of the spores which is an important identifying characteristic for many mushrooms, especially the gilled fungi. To make a spore print, cut the stem off and place the cap gill-side or pore-side on a piece of white paper for coloured spores or coloured paper for white spores. (For best results use white paper and black paper). Cover with a bowl or jar. If the mushroom is at the right stage, not too young, old or deteriorated, the spores will slowly collect on the paper. A spore print will be visible in 12-24 hours. There’s over 100 different species belonging to 60 different genera in Northern Cyprus. Top Guides > Nature > Reptiles & Amphibians Herpetofauna All of the amphibians and reptiles that exist in a specific area. The herpetofauna of Northern Cyprus is represented by 3 amphibian and 23 reptile species (3 are turtles), 11 lizards and 9 snakes. The biodiversity of Cyprus fauna may not be as wide as continental Eastern Mediterranean countries, but due to its’ geographical isolation, endemism is high. Animals on Cyprus have been separated from their continental counterparts for so long they’ve evolved slightly differently. The Troodos lizard is one of 7 endemic species on the island. Geological formation of the island occurred over three geologic time periods. In the Palaeozoic period, Troodos Mountains started to emerge as an island. In the Mesosoic period the Pentadactylos Mountains started to take shape as another island. During the Cenozoic period, with sea levels changing, the Mesaria plain took shape and formed the island as it is today, so Cyprus has been separated from the Anatolian mainland for around 5 million years. This isolation had a crucial role in forming the present day herpetofauna of Cyprus and is probably the main reason for endemic reptile races. There are no venomous lizards or frogs in Cyprus but 30% of snakes are. Cat Snake and Eastern Montpellier Snakes are usually harmless. Even if they bite your fingers their fangs are way back in their upper jaws so they’re unlikely to pierce your skin. The Blunt-nosed Viper however, can be dangerous to mammals, including humans, as it has a large pair of venom fangs in the front of its upper jaw. ​ If you’re bitten by a venomous snake: ​ Reassure and calm the person. Immobilise the bite area, as movement may spread the venom. Immediately go to a hospital with antivenin facilities. If medical attention is going to be more than an hour away, a firm, but not tight, ligature can be applied over the bite area to slow the venom spreading. Cutting with a sterile razor or sucking the wound is not recommended. The first may induce shock and the second might poison the sucker! Washing with strong disinfectants or with potassium permanganate should be avoided. People who happen to be highly sensitive to snake venom may collapse. Get them medical attention asap. ​ Northern Cyprus Herpetofauna Name Family Endemic Budak's Skink Scincidae No Ocellated Skink Scincidae No Spotted Skink Scincidae Subspecies Level Worm Snake Typhlopidae No Large Whip Snake Colubridae No Dahl's Whip Snake Colubridae No Coin Snake Colubridae No Levantine Dwarf Snake Colubridae No Dice Snake Colubridae No Cat Snake Colubridae Subspecies Level Eastern Montpellier Snake Colubridae No Blunt-Nosed Viper Viperidae Subspecies Level Green Toad Bufonidae No Lemon-Yellow Tree Frog Hylidae No Levantine Marsh Frog Ranidae No Balkan Terrapin Geomydidae No Loggerhead Turtle Chelonidae No Green Turtle Chelonidae No Kotschy's Gecko Gekkonidae Subspecies Level Turkish Gecko Gekkonidae No Starred Agama Agamidae Subspecies Level European Chameleon Chamaelontidae No Spiny-Footed Lizard Lacertidae No Troodos Lizard Lacertidae Species Level Snake-Eyed Lizard Lacertidae Subspecies Level Top Guides > Nature > Snakes Snakes normally generate dread as people imagine they're going to jump out and bite, but the reality is that snakes just want to be left alone, so if you do come across one, leave it be! Even non-poisonous snakes may bite or whip their tails to defend themselves if they feel threatened, so simply turn round and walk the other way and they'll more often than not simply slide away or not react at all. Worm Snake The pink worm snake (Typhlops Vermicularis) is the most uncommon snake in Cyprus. It’s small, only 25-40 centimetres long, and its shape makes it look like a worm. It lives and hunts underground, eating ants, ant eggs and maggots, as well as spiders and insects. Snakes are an important part of the ecological system and their extinction would have grave consequences. There are many natural predators, including cats, which were imported in large quantities on the orders of a saint in the 4th century, and they are very effective at their job. The Large Whip Snake or Black Snake The Black Snake (Coluber Jugularis) is common in North Cyprus and non-venomous, but it does kill its prey by constriction (squeezing them to death!). Can grow to around 3 metres in length and is considered the longest snake in Europe. Up until 5-6 years of age, it has a brick colour with dark brown spots but later takes its' characteristic black colour. Can be found in heights up to 1,500 metres, habitat can be fields, forests, mountain areas and sometimes up a tree raiding a bird’s nest for eggs. Its diet consists of small mammals, bird, lizards and even other snakes. It was imported to keep the numbers of poisonous varieties down. It is completely harmless but considered dangerous when thretened. If found in danger, it lifts its body to bite, which is not poisonous but may last longer due to the curviness of its teeth. It is this snake which is most often seen on the island, and you can often see them on the road where they have been run over by a car. An adult has gleaming black skin with a bluish tint. The younger snakes are light brown with dark spots or stripes. The whip snake eats rodents and other snakes, and is a powerful enemy of the poisonous blunt-nosed viper. The Cyprus Whip Snake Non-venomous species endemic to Cyprus. Changes from olive-brown to a dark brown-black on maturing. Can grow to around 1.5m, is often seen in rocky, well vegetated areas near to streams and mainly feeds on lizards, snakes, frogs, rodents and inssects. It is completely harmless and will flee in the presence of humans. It's a rare breed on the island and located at heights up to 2,400 metres. It moves day as well as night. Ir prefers wet shady area near streams or dams which are covered by bushes or other vegetation. ​ The Coin Snake The coin Snake (Coluber Numifer) is non-venomous and often mistaken for the Blunt Nosed Viper, which is very dangerous, but the circles on its back are brighter and more distinct. Will hiss loudly if it feels threatened and can give a painful bite. Grows to around 1.4m, has a large head, is yellow or gray brown in colour and has distinctive markings on the top and side of its head with a roundish pattern along its length. Feeds on lizards, mice, small birds and geckos. Most often seen in the coastlines and mountain areas. ​ The Cat Snake Hunts at night so you may not see this one so much. Slow moving and venomous but not known to bite humans. If threatened, will coil up into a ring, raise itself and hiss at you. Can grow to around 1m in length, has a yellow-brown body colour covered with black spots and lives mainly on a diet of lizards. Not a common species, but you may find them in some coastal areas as well as the Troodos mountain area.You can find this snake at all heights, in open forest areas as well as residential areas and can lay to 8 eggs. It mainly feeds on small mammals as well as lizards. It hunts at dawn and dusk and kills its prey with venom and then swallows it. T he Montpellier Snake Venomous but very rarely would bite and the poison is not life threatening anyway, but would cause swelling and headaches so take note.. Usually grey-brown in colour and can grow to 2m in length. Has coarse scales which sound like grinding when slithering and ridged eyebrows make it look quite menacing. Found in forests, open fields, coastal and mountain areas, it feeds mainly on lizards, small mammals and insects. It also feeds on other snakes while the young feed on insects and mainly beetles. On the back of its jaw it has two large poisonous teeth. Its large eyes are characteristic of its good eyesight which is its main sense. The Blunt Nosed Viper The most dangerous snake in North Cyprus with a potentially deadly bite. It's also a protected species so it's illegal to kill them (even though their bite might kill you!). Grey-brown colour camouflages it with the rocky terrain it favours, so keep alert if you're walking in mountain areas. They're also known to like areas around swimming pools during the hotter summer months, because of wildlife that comes to drink at pool-sides. Can be quite fat in appearance and growing to around 1.5m with a diamond patterned back. It will warn you of its presence with hissing (how considerate!), but will attack quickly if threatened. Its bite is made more dangerous by the fact that it imbeds its fangs into tissue and pumps large amounts of poison into the wound. Top Guides > Nature > Tulipa Cypria This perennial bulb plant is a Cyprus endemic belonging to the Liliaceae family . Grown on the pastures around the Tepebaşı and Avtepe villages, the deep red flower blossoms can be seen in March and April. Under protection and picking forbidden, the absence of references to this endemic tulip species in ancient literature suggests that the Cyprus Tulip may be a recent mutant of a species which arrived within the last 300 – 400 years. Tulipa cypria, the Cyprus tulip, is an erect perennial bulbous herb, 15–40 cm high (in blossom), with glabrous, glaucous leaves. It flowers March–April. The fruit is a capsule. The Cypriot tulip grows in juniperus phoenicea maquis pastures and cereal fields, on limestone at altitudes of 100–300 m (330–980 ft) above sea level. The plant is endemic to Cyprus, on Akamas, Kormakitis and some areas of the Pentadaktylos range. It's very rare and strictly protected. Top Guides > Nature > SP OT ( Society for the Protection of Turtles) Top Guides > Nature > Water A new £270 million undersea water pipeline from Türkiye (Northern Cyprus Water Supply Project) puts water “on tap” in North Cyprus. Previously water come solely from rainfall and costly desalination and dry summers saw drinking, golf course and irrigation water shortages. Now the Northern Cyprus Water Supply Project, initiated by Türkiye 40 miles away, has guaranteed clean, pure drinking water for everyone in the TRNC and, potentially, eventually for the whole island. ​ Alakopru dam , built in Anamur in the Mersin province of Southern Türkiye, holds up to 4.61 billion cubic feet of water. The water goes to a pumping station which pumps it through an 80km (50 mile) long pipe, 250m nder the sea, to a pumping station in Northern Cyprus. There, it gets pumped to the massively expanded, spectacular Gecitkoy Dam , which nestles behind the Besparmak hills close to Kyrenia. This project has enhanced irrigation, agriculture and hence the standard of living, as well as ensuring that all residents and visitors never have to face water shortages in the future. The pipeline will also potentially provide electricity to Northern Cyprus from Türkiye. Dubbed “Peace Water” or in Turkish “Baris Su” – many experts hope the water can act as a catalyst for increasing co-operation between North and South Cyprus, as the South is urgently in need of a reliable supply of fresh water too. Half of the new water will be used for irrigation and half for domestic consumption . One thing's for sure – you can now benefit not just from the reported increase in land prices as a result of the pipeline, but also from beautifully pure and healthy Turkish spring water. On tap! Top Guides > Nature > Wild Donkeys You might have bumped into these lovely animals while exploring the beautiful landscapes of the Karpaz Peninsula, or paying a visit to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery , or out towards Zafer Burnu . Descended from the African wild ass, donkeys were domesticated around 4,000 BC. Traditionally, donkeys played an important role in agriculture on the Karpaz Peninsula, to carry olives from the groves and cereals from the fields to mills. Households often had one or two donkeys which were sure-footed and often able to carry more than a horse. However by the 1970’s, tractors and trucks began to replace these donkeys which were abandoned and left to fend for themselves. All stray donkeys across the island were subsequently rounded up and taken to the Karpaz , and despite farmers installing fences to protect their crops, many donkeys escaped into the wider area which is the protected National Park. ​ These hardworking, faithful, reliable and docile creatures with strikingly beautiful eyes are a must see for island sightseers. You’d be forgiven if you thought you saw horses at first, thanks to their sizeable bodies, but don’t let their size fool you, these donkeys are actually quite friendly. Lovers of open fields and tasty carrots or carobs, they enjoy being patted and given treats. Just make sure you don’t squeeze them too much because they'll show some attitude if you step too far into their comfort zones. The most popular and widespread type of the Cyprus Donkey has a dark coat with a white belly and is probably of European origin. This is the unusually large breed, which is a favourite amongst tourists. There’s also a smaller type of donkey that typically has a grey coat and has African roots. One thing is certain about both breeds: no matter their size or coat, you’ll love them just the same. The Cyprus Donkey isn’t the only animal unique to Cyprus. There’s the majestic Cyprus Mouflon , a wild sheep, which is classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Mediterranean Monk Seal is also under the “endangered” category, and has been spotted along the shores of Cyprus in increasing numbers over recent years, even though they’re not unique to Cyprus. Perhaps it was the focus on preserving these animals or many others, like green and loggerhead turtles, that left the friendly Cyprus Donkey slightly underappreciated over the years. When news broke out in 2008 that their numbers were declining, the reaction of the Cypriot population was so heartfelt that it sparked one of the first collaborations between both sides of the island in years. Top

  • Mosques | Whats On In TRNC

    Guides > Mosques Agha Cafer Pasha Iplik Bazaar Piri Mehmet Pasha Turunçlu Arapahmet Lala Mustafa Pasha Ramadan Hasan Efendi Fountain Shaykh Nazim's Dergah Selimiye Haydar Pasha New Mosque Sinan Pasha Guides > Mosques > Agha Cafer Pasha In a cobbled street running to Kyrenia Harbour , this mosque is named after an Ottoman Governor who donated the land where it's built. It was built in the 1580’s, although some claim it was converted from a Lusignan warehouse. The cut stone rectangular construction has 3 main rooms and a single minaret and is still used today. ​ Southeast of the mosque is the Hasan Kavizade Huseyn Efendi fountain, built in 1841. The northern face has 3 arches, typical of the Ottoman design of the time. In the middle arch there's a marble inscription crescent, a coat of arms and branch figures carved into the stonework. Top Guides > Mosques > Arapahmet Mosque Built in the 16th century on the site of an old Latin church, it's named after Arapahmet Pasha who was one of the commanders of the 1571 Ottoman expedition to Nicosia and the Governor General of Rhodes. In the Arab Ahmet Quarter of Nicosia it's the only mosque in the city with a classical Ottoman dome plus 3 smaller domes to protect its entrance and 4 more at the corners. Outside is a garden with a fountain, cypress trees and graves including that of Turkish Cypriot Mehmet Kamil Pasha , born in Nicosia in 1833. He became Grand Vizier in the Ottoman empire, the only Cypriot ever to do so. In 1913, Kamil Pasha unexpectedly died of syncope (fainting) and was buried in the court of the Arab Ahmet Mosque. Sir Ronald Storrs , British Governor from 1926 to 1932, produced a memorial to be raised over Kamil Pasha’s grave for which he also composed the English inscription, carved on the headstone. It reads, “His Highness Kiamil Pasha, Son of Captain Salih Agha of Pyroi, Born in Nicosia in 1833, Treasury Clerk, Commissioner of Larnaca, Director of Evqaf, Four times Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, A Great Turk and A Great Man.” The site once hosted a Latin church, of which a few fragments still survive. A lintel from a door has a shield carved on it of two lions. 14th century gravestones of prominent Veneto families such as Francesco Cornaro (1390), Antonio de Bergamo (1394), and Gaspar Mavroceni (1402) also survive. Arab Ahmet was restored in 1845 and again in the 1990’s, and the mosque remains in use to this day. Top Guides > Mosques > Hasan Kavizade Huseyin Efendi Fountain In the quiet back streets of Kyrenia, lies this historic fountain. Square-shaped with a barrel vault and reservoir, it's southeast of the Agha Cafer Pasha Mosque . Mosque visitors complete their ablution using this fountain, which is fed from a natural spring. A marble inscription below the three arches of the fountain reveals it was built in 1841 during Hasan Kavizade Huseyin Efendi’s time. ​ In the middle arch a crescent, coat of arms and branch figures are carved into the stonework. The stone stairwells next to the fountain were built by the last Ottoman Provincial Governor, Cemal Bey and the last Ottoman Mayor, Abdul Efendi. Top Guides > Mosques > Hadar Pasha Mosque Originally built as St Catherine Church by the Lusignans in the 14th century, it was the second largest church in Nicosia at the time. The Gothic flamboyant style of southern France makes it the finest example of this design on the island, and the most notable Lusignan monument in the capital after St Sophia . In 1570 the Ottomans converted St. Catherine’s into the Haydarpasa mosque. It's also been known as “Ağalar Camis i”, meaning “the Mosque of the Lords”, when it was largely frequented by Turkish aristocracy living nearby. A minaret was the tallest slender tower in Cyprus until 1931. Struck by lightning, it had to be demolished and was replaced by a shorter version with 3 entrances. The south entrance is a masterpiece of stone carvings of Lusignan insignias on its frame, along with an ornamental poppy. The west entrance has its lintel decorated with carved roses and dragons. The north entrance is plain by comparison, with ornamentations of a nude woman holding a fish and dragon like effigies. Huge buttresses narrow as they rise and flank the windows, ornamented with lattice stucco, the roofline rimmed with gargoyles. The west facade has a Catherine window, shaped like a wheel. The building was part of a woman’s monastery during the Latin period, and the Ottomans added more features. Two Gothic arches support the vault, consisting of crossed ribs. In the apse, 6 ribs resting on a clustered column sprout from the keystone. North of the apse is a vestry, the vaulting of which is supported by corbels with carved human heads. Above, windows of chamber look onto the main church. Sir Harry Charles Luke , a renowned author and historian, described this edifice as “the most elegant and perfect Gothic building in Cyprus”. Across the church courtyard, you'll find the house of Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener who was assigned to conduct the first full triangulated survey of the island as a new British colony in 1878-1882. Top Guides > Mosques > Iplik Bazaar Mosque Two inscriptions above the entrance doors identify two differing periods of build. The initial construction was sponsored in 1826 by Hadji Ahmet Ahga , a governor of Cyprus and the last to hold the title of muhassilor tax-collector. In its earlier days, the mosque was also known as ‘Muhassil Haci Ahmed Agha Mosque ’. It's now known as the Iplik Bazaar Mosque, which references the cotton bazaar that was located here during the Ottoman period.The second inscription reveals the building was demolished and replaced in 1899 with the mosque that stands today, under the sponsorship of Muhammed Sadik Bey, a charitable foundation board member during British rule. This work expanded the area’s mosque capacity to meet the requirements of an ever-increasing congregation. The minaret, which is accessible from inside the mosque, was retained from the original structure and is only one of two designs in Northern Cyprus that feature a stone conical top. The mosque’s architecture is utilitarian, rectangular and built of cut stone and rubble fillings. Two arches support the wooden ceiling and the main room is illuminated by arched windows. A wooden staircase leads to an area for female worshippers. In the yard is a hexagonal water fountain built in the British period. The ground level of the yard rose so much in the 20th century, the taps of the fountain have been left under the surface. Two tombstones discovered next to the mosque indicate a small cemetery once existed next to it. Top Guides > Mosques > Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque Originally known as the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas and later as the Saint Sophia Mosque of Mağusa , this is the largest medieval building in Famagusta. Built between 1298 and 1400, it was consecrated as a Catholic cathedral in 1328, converted into a mosque after the Ottoman Empire captured Famagusta in 1571 and it remains a mosque to this day. From 1954, the building has taken its name from Lala Mustafa Pasha , the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire from Sokolovići in Bosnia, who served Murat III and led Ottoman forces against the Venetians in Cyprus. Early history The French Lusignan dynasty ruled Cyprus from 1192 to 1489 and brought with them French architecture, notably Gothic. Constructed from 1298 to 1312 and consecrated in 1328, a unique inscription on a buttress beside the south door records the progress of construction in 1311. The Lusignans would be crowned as Kings of Cyprus in the St Sophia Cathedral in Nicosia and then crowned as Kings of Jerusalem in the St Nicholas Cathedral in Famagusta. The building is built in Rayonnant Gothic style , quite rare outside France. The historic tie between France and Cyprus is evidenced by its parallels to French archetypes such as Reims Cathedral. Indeed, so strong is the resemblance, that the building has been dubbed "The Reims of Cyprus". It was built with three doors, twin towers over the aisles and a flat roof, typical of Crusader architecture. Sometime after 1480, a meeting chamber, known as the Loggia Bembo, was added to the south-west corner of the cathedral. Notable for its elaborately moulded entrance with slender pillars in marble, it’s in an architectural style that departs considerably from that of the cathedral proper. The association with the Bembo family, some of whom held prominent positions in Cyprus, is shown by their heraldic devices on the building. To enhance the Loggia, late antique fragments in marble, probably brought from Salamis, were placed as seats each side of the entrance. ​ Ottoman Era The upper parts of the cathedral's two towers suffered from earthquakes, were badly damaged during the Ottoman bombardments of 1571, and were never repaired. With the Venetians defeated and Famagusta fallen by August 1571, Cyprus fell under Ottoman control, and the cathedral was converted into a mosque, andrenamed the "St Sophia Mosque of Mağusa". Nearly all statuary, cruciform, stained glass, frescos, and paintings were removed or plastered over, as well as most tombs and the altar. The Gothic structure was preserved however, and a few tombs can still be identified in the north aisle. In 1954, it was renamed the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque after the commander of the 1570 Ottoman conquest - infamous for the gruesome torture of Marco Antonio Bragadin , the Venetian commander of the city's fortress. Bragadin had surrendered the city following a brutal 10-month siege in which 6,000 Christian defenders held off an army of more than 100,000 Ottoman Turks. The Cathedral of St Nicholas was not widely emulated as far as can be judged from surviving buildings of the Lusignan period in Cyprus. However, in the 19th century the west portal and other details were copied directly in the Greek Orthodox church at Lysi. Famagusta Cathedral appears in several works of literature, including "Kuraj" by the Italian writer Silvia Di Natale , "Sunrise" by the British author Victoria Hislop and "In Search of Sixpence" by the Anglo-Cypriot author Michael Paraskos . Top Guides > Mosques > Mawlana Shaykh Nazim's Dergah Mehmet Nazım Adil, commonly known as Sheikh Nazim, was a Turkish Cypriot Sufi Muslim Sheikh and spiritual leader of the Naqshbandi tariqa . Prior to his passing in 2014, thousands of visitors visited him each month at his home and Dergah in Lefke , and international followers came to share in the blessings of this living Sufi Master. Nazim was regularly recognized among the world’s 50 most influential Muslims and has since been succeeded by his son Mawlana Shaykh Mohammad Adil Haqqani welcoming Sufi worshippers from near and afar throughout the year. ​ Visitors can stay at the Guesthouses with prior permission. Men can also stay at the Dergah, while women are accommodated at a hostel allocated, facilities being shared. Top Guides > Mosques > The New Mosque The neighbourhood of Yenicami in Nicosia takes its name from a new mosque built out of the ruins of a medieval church. In the 14th century, Ottomans converted the Gothic cathedral which stood there into a mosque and it remained that way until 1740, when Menteszade Haci Ismail Agha, the first Ottoman chief judge in Cyprus, ordered the foundations be excavated in search of supposed buried riches. The excavations unearthed the mosque, which in turn collapsed, and Haci Ismail was executed, his tomb buried a few metres away from the wreckage site. A new mosque was financed by the Menteszade family and this became the New Mosque or Yenicami as it's known locally. Square in shape, it occupies part of of an old Muslim burial ground, where fragments of the original minaret and turret staircase of the gothic structure are still preserved. The surrounding burial ground is covered with ancient fragments used as tombstones, 4 of which belong to the Menteszade family and another to the famous Cypriot poet Hilmi Efendi who died in 1847. An inscription above the arched entrance door is dated 1316 H from the Islamic calendar, the equivalent of 1899 . The old minaret was demolished in 1979 because of its dangerous condition and replaced. The fountain in the courtyard has also been rebuilt to its original specification. Top Guides > Mosques > Piri Mehmet Pasha Mosque Initially a church, this historic building was twice converted into an Islamic house of worship. Travelling from the main road up towards the village of Lefke , you’ll come across this structure, also referred to Yukari Mosque and Minareli Mosque . The Byzantine Empire also known as the Eastern Roman Empire, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and stretched over the island of Cyprus. During the Byzantium rule of Cyprus, the church of St George was erected at this site, the exact date unknown. From the 7th to 10th century the island was repeatedly subject to Arab raids, after which this church was converted into a mosque, but over the years fell into disrepair from neglect. When the Ottoman Empire extended their stronghold onto the island in 1571 under the leadership of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent , one of the empire’s Viziers, a high executive named Mehmet Bey was governor of the Paphos sancak, an administrative division of the Ottoman Empire, and soon included the village of Lefke into this greater province. When in Lefke, Mehmet Bey spotted the neglected mosque and instructed it to be rebuilt, naming it after his grandfather, Piri Mehmed Pasha, an Ottoman Turk statesman and grand Vizier of the empire from 1518 to 1523. ​ The mosque is built on an octagon body in a typical Ottoman architectural style, with three arches at the front and five on the sides, while the front arches sit on columns. The mosque is also the only in Lefke which reveals a dome, built from hewn stone. In the gardens you’ll also come across two graves. The first, a spectacular illustration of an Ottoman tomb, belongs to another Vizier , Osman Pasha who died in 1839. Mystery surrounds his death, however one commonly believed tale reveals some insight. Osman Pasha arrived in Cyprus to collect taxes from the island. Naturally arriving by sea, he was welcomed at the port by some attractive Greek females who presented him with beautiful flowers. Soon after the greeting, Osman was taken ill in Nicosia, where doctors advised him to travel to Lefke, where the countryside weather and natural habitat would assist in his recovery. Even though he took this advice, nine days after arriving in Lefke, he passed away. Some say the flowers he was given upon arrival were poisoned. His tomb was designed and built in Izmir , Turkey, by his wife, who later settled in Lefke. It's one of the best examples of an Ottoman tomb, its' artwork decorated with nature motifs. The mosque beside is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Osman Pasha as well. A second, though less spectacular tomb in the mosque garden is that of Huseyin Agha, reputed to have brought water to Lefke, building aqueducts interlinking with other towns in the district. Top Guides > Mosques > R amadan Ramazan (Ramadan), is the fasting month for Muslims characterised by family gatherings, visiting the graves of loved ones and allowing the body and mind to cleanse themselves. Ramazan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar calendar and is classed as one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. Physically healthy Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex between dawn and sunset for 30 days. It's a time for reflection; refraining from gossiping,lying or slandering; good deeds; generosity; thought for those less fortunate and a time to be more conscious of God’s presence. Fasting during the day can be quite tough to start with, so it can be quite draining for those fasting, although it does become easier and the breaking of the fast with Sahur (morning) and Iftar (evening) becomes routine. Meals usually start with something light, such as soup, so as not to feel completely bloated too quickly. Towards the end of Ramazan in North Cyprus, preparations are made for hellim, olive bread and sweetbreads to take to friends and family as well as guests that might visit. Mosques are visited for Sahur on the last day of Ramazan for prayers. Ramazan Bayram in North Cyprus (also known as Şeker Bayram) is the holiday given over to festivities such as full on Turkish pop star entertainment at the local hotels and restaurants, with families gathering to celebrate and shops often holding sales. Older generations are given upmost importance during this time by younger folk and sweets are given out to children. Depending on which day Şeker Bayram falls, there's a 3-4 day public holiday with government offices and banks shut for the whole period, while privately run businesses usually shut for at least two days. Iyi Ramazan Bayramlar. Top Guides > Mosques > Selimiye Mosque One of the most fascinating buildings in Northern Cyprus. It's also the largest building in Nicosia to have survived so many centuries. It may well have been the largest church built in the Eastern Mediterranean in the millennium between the rise of Islam and the late Ottoman period. The name “Selimiye” comes from the Greek words “Aiya Sophia” meaning "Holy wisdom". This name was given primarily to the Byzantine church built in this location in the 11th century. No ruins of this church have been discovered but a manuscript confirms its existence here. The construction of the gothic church started in the 13th century during the Frankish period and lasted over 78 years. The orthodox church was turned into a Mosque in Ottoman times after 1570. Today the Selimiye Mosque opens for visitors all day apart from prayer times. Light falls from large windows to illuminate the green ornaments and burgundy carpet which absorbs the sound of footsteps leaving only whispers to be heard. Top Guides > Mosques > Sinan Pasha Mosque The magnificent facade of this huge14th-century church gives you a great idea what Famagusta would have looked like when its churches and monuments were still standing. Behind the Venetian Palace in the town centre, you'll find the flying buttresses of the renamed Ottoman Sinan Pasha Mosque. The foundations of one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Famagusta, the initial church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul were laid during the Lusignan reign of Peter I, 1358 – 1369, and funded byprofits from a trip to Syria by wealthy merchant Simon Nostrano. The church walls are supported by heavy flying buttresses to take pressure away from the interior vaulting, but only on the upper level. They, like the wall itself, are enormously thick, presumably to withstand earthquakes. Buttressing was added on the south side after two 16th century earthquakes threatened the building in its entirety making it less radiant than more delicately built French counterparts. George H. Everett Jeffery who was the Curator of Ancient Monuments in Cyprus in the early 20th century described it thus: “Nothing could be uglier or more opposed to the beauty of true Gothic architecture than the exterior of this immense church.” The beauty of this church rests almost entirely in its refined and elegant interior. Gothic arches rise above the succession of bays from plain circular piers. From the abacus of each pier are 3 colonettes, merged into the wall. They rise to the clerestory level, fan out over the nave and create the cross vaulted ceiling. Remnants of Gothic sculpture, unidentified renaissance martyrdoms, and post-Renaissance maritime graffiti, all offer a rare insight into a period of wealth and influence in Famagusta. The building wasn't used during Venetian rule, and escaped the attention of the Ottoman bombardment of 1571. The Ottomans added a minaret and renamed it Sinan Pasha Mosque, after “Sinan the Great ” who served 5 times as Grand Vizier in the Ottoman empire. During British rule, it was used as a potato and grain store and so is also locally referred to as the “Bugday Cami” (wheat mosque). In the southern courtyard, underneath the second row of buttresses, you'll find the grave of Yirmisekiz Celebi Mehmed Efendi , who was appointed as ambassador by Sultan Ahmed III to Louis XV’s France in 1720. He became known by the nickname Yirmisekiz (“twenty-eight” in Turkish), as he served in the 28th battalion of the first modern standing army in Europe. He died in exile at Famagusta in 1732. Top Guides > Mosques > Turunçlu Mosque Also known as the Fethiye , until recent times it was one of the most frequented mosques by tradesmen of the nearby markets in Nicosia. The current mosque stands on the site of a previous smaller masjid and has an L-shaped congregational area and wooden ceiling. A gallery supported by wooden columns is designated for women. To the north, its facade consists of 6 tapered arches on circular columns and to the west 4 more tapered arches. Above the doorway an inscription shows the earlier mosque was demolished and built by Seyit Mehmet Emin Agha , Ottoman governor, in 1825. The governor also restored the Fethiye Children’s School next door after which it was given the name “Mekteb-I Irfan ” or School of Enlightenment. Top

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