14 THINGS NOT TO MISS IN NORTH CYPRUS
It's not possible to see everything that North Cyprus has to offer in one trip, and we don't suggest you try. What follows is a selective and subjective taste of the island's highlights : superb ancient sites, outstanding buildings and natural wonders.
St Hilarion castle is in the Kyrenia hills, to the West off the Nicosia - Kyrenia highway. The castle was built by the Byzantines and Crusaders. It is rumoured to have been used by Walt Disney as a model for the castle in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
LALA MUSTAFA PASA CAMI
Literally and figuratively over the top, the façade of the Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque, once the Cathedral of St.Nicholas is the pride of Famagusta and dominates the eastern side of the square. It was completed between 1298 and 1326 in imitation of Rheims cathedral and outshines it's sister church in Nicosia.
One of the best beaches in Cyprus and Europe, Sea turtles and human's alike flock to Nangomi or Golden beach as it is known, as it is one of the best on the remote Karpaz peninsula, and indeed the island.
The wreck of Zenobia off Larnaca is one of the best dives in the Mediterranean. Zenobia, is the 1980 wreck of a car ferry 1400m outside Larnaca port. A computer malfunction flooded the ballast tank as it was leaving the harbour. This is a dive for the more experienced diver.
This is a former tradesmen's inn in North Nicosia and from 1992 - 2002 has been restored. Buyuk Han became the first city prison under British administration, but reverted to a hostel for destitute families in 1893. It has now reinvented itself as a successful crafts mall and café venue.
Turkish delight is undoubtedly the most popular sweet sold to tourists. Made from nuts, fruit essences, sugar, rosewater and pectin, there is no need for things like preservatives and E-numbers.
Salamis is the islands most prominent archeological site. The widely scattered monuments are mainly Roman and Byzantine. To even just see the highlights of Salamis, you will need to spend at least a couple of hours there. Once you have looked at the sites, you can relax on the beautiful beach to the east of Salamis.
NORTH NICOSIA ARABAHMET DISTRICT
The Arabahmet district is the counterpart to south Nicosia's Khrysaliniotissa neighbourhood. There are few restaurants and nightlife venues here. The Green Line is less obtrusive here and most houses are still inhabited, despite their semi-dereliction.
The main turtle to be seen in North Cyprus is the green turtle, although loggerheads have also been seen. The Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT) has been founded in North Cyprus and a group of volunteers protect the turtle nests and watch the hatchings, to make sure that the turtle have the best start to their lives. If you holiday in July - August then you might be lucky enough to experience a hatching.
The swan mosaic is the main attraction at this site. Soli was one of the ten ancient city-kingdoms of Cyprus. It was founded early in the sixth century BC. It became a hotbed for pro-Hellenic sentiment and was the last holdout against the Persians in 498.
The Abbey is a former Augustinian abbey and was founded just after 1200 as St Mary of the Mountains. The abbey was handed over to the Orthodox Church in 1570. With the Abbey lit up at night, it makes a beautiful setting.
Kyrenia harbour is by far the most picturesque harbour on the island. Although this harbour is by far the safest anchorage on the north coast, it ceased to be a working harbour well before 1974. The port is now devoted to boats used for excursions and there are plenty of restaurants for you to relax in and take in the beauty of this harbour.
MEZES AND KLEFTICO
The meze consists of a number of small amounts of cold and hot dishes such as dips, grilled hellim, sigara borek, stuffed vine leaves, salads, meats and many more. Kletico is a slab of lamb or goat that has been roasted with vegetables until tender in a domed oven with a small opening.
The Karpaz peninsula, or ‘panhandle' as it is widely known, is the ideal place to head for peace and serenity. There are ancient churches and ruins, as well as wildlife and un-spoilt beaches. You will also find wild donkeys roaming around the Karpaz area.
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