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churches north cyprus

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 One must see on your list of historical sights in North Cyprus should definitely be the ruins of Salamis in Famagusta, not just because it’s a great place to walk around and explore but also because it is undoubtedly the most important archaeological site on Cyprus to have been unearthed to date.  Spanning at least one square mile, only a small part of the area has been excavated so far and it is believed that up to 90% is still lying underground. 

North Cyprus is an historical wonderland, having its past steeped in legends and the influence bought about by many different civilisations and nationalities.  If you are interested in learning more about the island’s past then there are numerous ways to go about it.

One way is to visit the museums in North Cyprus which can be found dotted around the cities and major towns, some of which are housed in the historical buildings themselves.  You can find out about shipwrecks, excavation discoveries, folklore and much, much more.

Esentepe, (meaning windy hill), is a village located on the north coast to the east of Kyrenia probably dating back to the Byzantine era when the village was first established.

If you’re looking to leave the hustle and bustle of Kyrenia behind and you want to venture out further into the ‘real North Cyprus,’ then head east along the coastal road and you’ll come to pretty Esentepe – your gateway to the Karpaz region, the coast and the foothills of the Kyrenia range.

The extremely attractive and peaceful village of Karaman, (or Karmi, which is the Greek name for the settlement), sits around 1,000 feet above sea level and is located on the lower slopes of the Kyrenia mountain range.  The gothic castle of St. Hilarion sits majestically above it, and is easily viewed from any spot in the village.

Located around 3 miles East of Kyrenia, Ozanköy, (previously known as Kazpahani), is one of the prettiest villages in Northern Cyprus and is home to a small but truly multi national population – it has a real community feel to it.  It is easy to find, being signposted from both the west and east coast roads, as well as from the centre of Kyrenia town from where it is about a 15 minute drive.

The Karpaz peninsula is located on the far eastern stretch of North Cyprus, and it stretches right up to the tip of the peninsula, it’s often referred to as the ‘panhandle.’  You may even hear or see the peninsula being called Karpasia, Karpas, Kirpasha, Carpasia or Dipkarpaz – in fact Dipkarpaz is a present day town, and Carpasia was the ancient city where the ruin of Ayios Philon stands.  It was once a very densely populated area during both the Roman and Luisignan times, but now it is far less so.

Güzelyurt is almost the last major town on North Cyprus’s north west coast – although Lefke sits slightly further west and inland.  You will also find Güzelyurt referred to as Morphou, which is the Greek name for the town.  The translation of Güzelyurt depends on the sources you read and the people you speak to, but it basically means ‘beautiful native country’ or ‘fatherland’ – while neither is a perfect literal translation, both meanings get right to heart of the matter and that is that Güzelyurt and the surrounding villages in North West Cyprus are stunningly beautiful, rich and fertile.