Every year the Gazi Magusa International Festival of Art and Culture event has proved hugely popular for people who enjoy a variety of musical genres and the festival has had great success in obtaining some big names in the world of music to tempt audiences year after year. The fact that the events are held at the historic and mystical ruins of the Salamis amphitheatre, just to the north of Famagusta, also adds to the special atmosphere that this festival manages to generate.
One organisation in North Cyprus whose main aim is to integrate cultures through art is Sidetreets Educational and Cultural Initiatives Ltd, (it’s known as Arasokaklar in Turkish). This initiative, based in Lefkoşa, has been going for some years and is rather successful in its efforts to combine art with seminars and projects as well as providing in-house facilities for residential programmes within the local community.
Sidestreets is a totally independent, privately funded organisation with a mandate to “generate spaces of creative and critical engagement with language, the arts, and culture in general, by promoting social, cultural and artistic development within local, regional, European, and international frameworks.”
Yes it’s that time of the year again when we should all be getting our lovely little pooches in tip-top condition, teaching them to sit for more than a second and getting them primed for the major doggy-tastic event of the year which is Northern Cyprus’s answer to Crufts – the Kyrenia Animal Rescue Dog Show!
North Cyprus has a large festival scene, and there are more and more festivals being formed every year it seems! You can attend village festivals that play on the particular speciality that the village lends its name to, or you can feast on the international music and culture festivals at some of the great historical venues in TRNC.
The festival season spans roughly six to seven months of the year, with the first events being held around April time and the last ones finishing off in late October, early November. So you can try to catch one when you’re visiting, or even attend a few if you’re living here on the island!
North Cyprus is home to a really wide variety of music and musicians of various genre, and you can find some great venues across the island in which to listen to music, get involved or dance to what you hear! The island is a base for some wonderful home-grown talent in the classical music genre and in the rock world too, and there are music classes and private tuition available on the island for youngsters to learn new skills.
Restaurants and hotels are beginning to realise the benefits of having their own house bands, providing jazz, pop and Turkish music nights for example. These pull in local crowds as well as entertaining hotel guests.
North Cyprus has a lively and successful theatre scene, and there are several theatres and theatrical festivals which take place on the island throughout the year.
There is the International Cyprus Theatre Festival for example, which is often held at one of the large university complexes but which also stages one off shows in the municipality squares and sometimes even the castles. It offers up to a month’s worth of stage plays, puppet and dance theatre.
Folk dancing has very deep roots here in North Cyprus and in fact, across Cyprus as a whole. The rich history of this island means that its culture and arts such dancing have been influenced by many centuries and the traditions of the latter are being kept alive and well with folk dancing displays being given to the pubic on a regular basis. Attend any of the yearly festivals and you will no doubt be treated to a wonderful example of traditional dancing.
Dances were usually performed on big occasions such as at weddings and harvest days, but because of their popularity with the visiting public, and due to efforts by local folk arts organisation HASDER, dancing has now become something of an international ‘sport,’ with folk dancing competitions taking place in TRNC in which countries from all over the world participate.
When we talk about cinema in North Cyprus, we don’t just mean the usual blockbuster movies that anyone can see no matter where in the world they live, we also mean that North Cyprus does have its own budding cinematic scene. So, you will find the usual cinema facilities in the city areas, but there are also a number of art house cinema venues which are popular places for people wishing to see something different.
Arts venues are host to various screenings, with offerings from local and international film makers, and you can see them in a variety of places such as at Sidestreets in Lefkoşa. Often these cinematic events are bought together by both Turkish and Greek Cypriots, who seem to thrive on working closely to provide a vibrant arts scene.