There are many fascinating and beautiful places to visit in Northern Cyprus. The first of these to mention is Kyrenia Harbour. This iconic attraction is what makes the resort of Kyrenia so identifiable and is filled with historical charm, particularly through the Lusignan and Venetian designed Kyrenia Castle, which looks out over the harbour waters that bob sleepily with yachts. At night the castle glows warm amber and diners settle nearby amidst the romantic ambience. The entire environment meets the past with the present, a combination that calms those in the area.
Kyrenia Mountain Range
Wherever you go in Kyrenia you’ll find yourself bathed in beautiful nature, as the magnificent Kyrenia Mountains run 160km along the north coast of the region and reach heights of 3,360 ft. These were once used effectively for building castles and watch towers, some of which still exist today, including St. Hilarion, which is known to be the inspiration behind the castle in Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Kyrenia Mountain ranges create a sheltering effect that makes those visiting feel protected and far from the rush of the rest of the world. They also represent an important part of Kyrenia’s past.
Close to Kyrenia is Bellapais Village. This is notable for having legendary beauty and a poetic atmosphere, inspired by picturesque views, well kept gardens and the 14th Century Bellapais Abbey. This is an incredible example of Lusignan gothic architecture at its finest, with the feel of something that belongs in a mystical world. Just being in the presence of the abbey puts you in a mellow state, while the quaintness of the village and enticing eateries will make it impossible not to feel relaxed. A visit to the Lawrence Durrell inspired ‘Tree of Idleness’ restaurant is also a must.
Karpas Golden Beach
No trip to North Cyprus would be complete without some time spent at the beach. For the crème de la crème in sun, sea and sand the Karpaz Peninsula is truly a beach lover’s heaven. Miles and miles of golden sand can be found here, along with lots of flora and fauna. Of the beaches along the peninsula, the Karpas Golden Beach is one of the most popular, and is also known as the islands most beautiful beach. It therefore seems fitting that it should also be known as the birthplace of legendary goddess Aphrodite. This is a place to go if looking for peace, quiet, and a little bit of magic.
Famagusta is a part of North Cyprus with lots to offer in the way of extraordinary places. Of these the Salamis Ruins are one of the best know, and include findings dating back to 411 BC. As to be expected, there are plenty of historical remnants to be explored here, including Roman baths and a theatre. A visit to the Salamis Ruins provides the opportunity for those visiting to find a connection with North Cyprus’ culture heritage and ancient civilisations.
St. Nicholas Cathedral and St. Barnabas Monastery
Historicisms are in abundance within Famagusta, with the gothic looking St. Nicholas Cathedral another that is definitely worth stopping at if exploring the fascinating walled city of Famagusta. It dates back to the 14th Century and was once the place where Lusignan Kings would come to be crowned as Kings of Jerusalem.
Another historical building inspired by a saint is the St. Barnabas Monastery, which is located in Famagusta as well. It includes an icon and archaeological museum inside and the tomb of St. Barnabas in a separate chapel. It makes a convenient stop en route to Salamis too.
Each part of North Cyprus has something uniquely curious to offer those that visit, ensuring that wherever you go in this little part of the world you’re likely to bump into important moments from it’s past along the way.
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Place: Northern Cyprus
Date: 08 Apr-2014
Impression & Feelings: North Cyprus is a land that is rich in culture and history. Most people have a vague idea of its past but are probably not aware of the extent of the richness and diversity of its history.