LEFKOŞA / NICOSIA
It’s claimed in Assyrian sources that date back to the 7th century BC that the city that was called Ledra is the origin of Nicosia. During the old Egyptian period on the island, in the years around 300 BC, the son of Ptolemy 1, Lefkos, rebyilt the city and gave it his name. The name Lefkoşa derived from this. Some also say that it derives from the white poplar trees, called Lefki, that grew in abundance in its river beds. The name
Nicosia was first used in the 12th C when the native people rebelled against the Knights Templar. From this date onwards the island was ruled from
Nicosia and it was accepted as the capital city of
Cyprus.The city which was developed during the Lusignan period and continued until the Venetians conquered the island in 1489. During the Venetian administration, in order to strengten the walls, many chruches and palaces were demolished and the materials were used in the consturction.
Nicosia, conquered by the Ottomans in 1570, was ornamented with mosques, Turkish baths, moslem theological schools and inns which were Works of art of the Otoman culture… Selimiye Mosque (Cathedral of St. Sophia):Built by the Lusignans between 1208 and 1326. selimiye is accepted to be the most important example of Gothic art. After the Ottoman conquest of Nicosia in 1570, a minaret was added to the cathedral and thus it was transformed into Hagia Sophia Mosque, which was renamed in 1954 as selimiye Mosque.
Armenian Church(Notre Dame de Tyre):The church on Sehit Salahi Sevket Streetwas built in the 8th cebtury, probably by refugees from Jerusalem.
The Great Inn:It’s constuction was ordered by the first Ottoman goverment of
Cyprus, Muzaffer Pasha, in 1572. ıt’s architecture resembles the many other inns of this period in
Anatolia. Araound the inner courtyard of the stone inn are 68 rooms and in 2002. ıts souvenir shops, restaurants and Cypriots wine bar attract locals and tourists alike. On certain afternoons and evenings live musics can be heard filling the inner courtyard.
Kyrenia Gate:The Kyrenia Gate is the arched northern entry into
Nicosia, through the old walls which surround the city. It was built by the Venetians in 1567. The gate used to be called “Porta
Del Proveditre” named after the Venetian engineer Proveditore Francesco. On the walls of the gate inscriptions from Venetian and Ottoman times can be seen by sharp eyed visitors. GIRNE / KYRENIA:Settlement in the Kyrenia area goes back to Neolitic times, and under the influence of the Anatolian coastel civisations during the Bronze Age, the population of the region grew. Until 312 BC Kyrenia was an independent city kingdom but was then taken over by Salamis. The name is thought to date back to that time when Ptolemy1, King of Salamis, referred the town as “Keravnia” which means Aphrodite with the Thunderbolt. During Roman times, Kyrenia was a Christian city even before it had become the offical religion of the
Roman Empire. In 1571 the Ottomans conquered Kyrenia without firing a sinhle shot.
Harbour:The horseshoe shaped harbour is the focal point of the town. The historical Kyrenia harbour, with its colorful fishing boats and yatchts and its lively bars and cafes is the heart of Kyrenia, both for locals and tourists. Bellapais Abbey:The remains of an exquiste Gothic bulding in the beautiful mountain village of Bellapais are what are left of the building built by Augustinian monks in 1025 AC. Orginally known as the “Abbey of Our Lady of the Mountains” , the Franks renamed it is now the scene of many wonderful concerts and ventage point to view countless beautiful sunsets.
Castle:At an altitude of 954 metres, Buffavento, meaning wind defying, was originally built as a watchtower against Arab raids by the Byzantines. It was later converted into castle by the Lusignans, who more generally used it as a prison rather than a military stronghold. Althougt little of the original building remains, a visit is worth it if only for the magnificent vistas from the site.
Antiphonitis Monastery:The fresccovered walls of the Antiphonitis Monastery, located in the middle of the forest, are very interesting. The church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was built in the 12th C, however the nartex to its west and and the gallery to its south were added later by the Lusignans. A sturudy vehicle is needed in order to visit this outlying Monastery, but it is well the visit.
St. Hilarion Castle:Rumoured to be the inspiration for the Disney film “fantasia”, this castle sits atop the mountains overlooking Kyrenia. The site was originally the home of the hermit “Hilarion”, upon which a monastery was built in his honour. The castle , the third in a protective line, was built on the mountain tops to protect against attacks from the seafaring Arabs.
Museum:The shipwreck, 14.75 metres long and 4.4 metres wide and displayed in one of the rooms of the
Castle , is the oldest shipwreck ever discovered. The findings suggest that the ship was a Syrian comercial ship which sank off the coast of Kyrenia in the 3rd
C BC with a cardo of nearly 400 amphorae of supplies and foodstuffs. GAZIMAGUSA / FAMAGUSTA:Famagusta is thougt to have been established by King Ptolemy Philadelphus 2 (285247 BC) around the lagoon near the coast of what are now the
Salamis ruins. The modern town is built on the remains of the ancient city of Arsenoe, named after the ife of the king, which was built to replace
Salamis after its sacking by Arab raiders in 648AD. The name of the
new city, Ammkhostos, means “hidden in the sand” , and residents hoped not to attract the raiders. The city developed after conquest by the Crusaders in 1291. From this date onwards, Famagusta soon became a sropping off point for pilgrims on their way to
Jerusalem and it grew in both polotical strength and material wealth.In 1571 the Ottoman took the city and it soon reverted to the inignificant port city it had been in early times. During British rule much of the arthitectural hertiga of the city was lost when stone was taken from many of the historical sites to aid in the building of the
The Kertikli Baths:A building to te north of the city constructed by the Ottomans, these baths are notable for the domes. The building is comprised of six domed rooms, a reservior converted with a vaulted ceiling and a section belived to be the dressing room, the ceiling of which has collapsed. Ravelin:Ravelin is one of the two arched entries into the walled city of
famagusta. When the Venetians were surrounded by the Ottomans in 1571, the white flag was hoisted here. For this reason, the Ravelin Gate was called “Akkule”(white tower) by the Ottomans.
St. George of
Church:A beautiful example of Gothic architecture, said to be based on St. Chapelle in
Paris, was built towards the end of the 13th C.
St. Barnabas Monastery:St. Barnabas of Cyprus, was killed by his compatriots and corpse was hidden in a underground cave to the west of
Salamis. The corpse remainded hidden for many years, its whereabouts unknown. 432 years later, Bishop Anthemios saw the grave in a dream and has the place excavated. Informed about this, the Emperor
of Byzantium made a donation for
a monastery to be built on the location of the grave, and bestowed autonomy on the
Cyprus. The monastery, built in 477 AD, houses an icon museum today.
The Twin Churches:The larger of the two churches built in the 14th C belonged to the Knighs Templar. When the last grandmaster and their other leaders were burned as heretics in 1313, the order came to an end and the church was left to Knights Hospitalers who owened the adjoring building. The building has been restored and is now being used by the Cyprus Art Society. GUZELYURT / MORPHOU:Situated in the north-west of Cyprus, Morphou is a town probably founded by the Spartants. In the Middle Ages, the city was referred to as Morphou but also Theomorhou. The morphou area grew more than half of
Cyprus citrus fruits, most of them are exported. Surrounded by citrus gardens, Morphou also supplies watermelon, melon and vegetable varieties blossoming from its fertile bosom. Morphou contains one of the many churches in the country dedicated to St. Mamas, popularly belived to have lived as a hermit in a cave near Morphou. Dating back to Byzantine times , the church earns the town a reputation and importance among Orthodox Christians.
North Cyprus Campus, Morphou is rich in cultural heritage.
Museum of Archeology & Natural History:The ground floor of the museum is devoted to natural history and holds cabinets of geological samples, stuffed fish, mammals , and birds ntive to
Cyprus. Upstairs there is a small archeological collection with the isand’s best display of Late Bronze Age and the recently discovered Ephesian Artemis.
St. Mamas Church:A famous saint of
Cyprus, St.Mamas lived as a hermit in a cave near Morphou. A church must have been established in the Byzantine times, yet nothing survived today. The church we see today is a complete reconstruction dating back to 1725. Soli Antik Kenti:One of the Nine Cyprus Kingdoms, Soli rebelled against the Persians, who were in power in 498 BC, and faced a severe defeat. Had its most brilliant days in the Roman Times, Soli was copletely destroyed with the Arab raids in the 7th C AD. What remains today is a Soli Basilica, one ot the oldest chruches in Cyprus; and a 4000- spectator capacity Roman theatre.
Tumba Tou Skouru:Situated on the west of Güzelyurt – Kyrenia road, several kilometres north of Güzelyurt, is a little town of
Late Bronze Era; Tumba Tou Skouru. The Findings, discovered are on exhibit in the Güzelyurt Museum of Archaeological and Natural History. Vouni Sarayı:It was build by King Doxandros of Marion, who was a supporter of the Persian in the 5th C BC with an aim to supervise the city of Soli supporters of the Greek.The palace was destroyed by the Soli inhabitiants in 380 BC never to be renovated again.Excavations brought to light golden and silver jewellery silver cups various silver coins.In the south of the palace are the traces of a 5th –BC Athena Temple.
İSKELE / ISKELE:On the way to Karpaz from Famagusta, the largest settlement in the area is İskele.The town called Trikoma until 1974 is mainly inhabited by the Turkish-Cypriot refugees from Larnaca (now in south Cyprus) who relocated to here after 1974. situated on the way to Karpaz from Famagusta is a small town called Boğaz, which hosts several tourism facilities and fish restaurants. The coasline of Boğaz,
Beach, serves as a public beach in the high season. Untouched and beautiful beaches, rich vegetation and cultural heritage that adorn İskele and
Peninsula offer an ideal vacation of peace and tranquility. The region is also home to wild Cypriot donkeys. Apostle Andreas Monastery:Situated at the easternmost tip of the island of
Cyprus, the Monastery has been an important piligrimage destination for the Orthodox for hundreds of years . the oldest surviving part of the monastery is only a 15th-C chapel.
Castle:Erected on a group of steep hills, Kantara was built to overlook Medeterranean to secure the safety of the coastline. The castle took its final shape, which survived today, under the rule of King of Cyprus James 1, who made several changes in the arctitecture. With the Venetian conquestin 1525,
Castle fell from fasion.
This is a kilometres-long beach famous for its peculiar tiny sand of golden colour. Every year hundereds of Cretta sea- turtles come to tis beatiful spot to lay their hatches.
Beach is the favourite spot of those who seek a tranquil and calm vacation. Aphendrika:Aphrendika is considered one of the six important cites that existed in Cyprus at the begining of the 2nd
C BC. Nearby Aphrendika are three churches; Haghios Georgios, Panaghia Chryisiotisa and Panaghia Asomatos. Haghios Philon:The early 5th- C complex was built on the foundations of earlier Hellenistic and Roman structures. The edifice was destroyed by Arab raids in the 9th C. In the 12th C a domed Byzantine structure was built on the ruins of the previous construction. The
Although there is no trace left of the first church thought to have belonged to the early Byzantine period, the present church was rebuilt as a multi-dome church in the 14th C. The mosaics in the apsis, representing “Madonna col Bambino et Ognissanti” , are one of the most noteworthly examples of early Byzantine art in