Girne is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the most touristic places in Cyprus. Located between Beşparmak Mountains and the Mediterranean coasts, this is the most preferred holiday city of Cyprus. Girne has a wonderful view to eat and drink with its restaurants and taverns all around the marina. In addition, casinos are one of the most preferred places for tourists.
Although it is mostly known for its beaches and nightlife, the attractions in Girne also have historical features.
The first place to visit in Girne is Girne Castle. The castle is a square place with the symbol of the city and it has a wonderful view of the whole city. It is not known exactly when the castle was built. However, it is thought that it was built by the Byzantine Empire to protect the city from the Arab raids that started in Cyprus. Castle got its final shape in 14th century A.D under the domination of Venice.
Girne Castle was used by monarchs for enjoy in peace time but was used as a shelter during the war. The castle, which devastated during the war, got its last shape by Venetians. The castle used by Ottomans for 3 centruies which firstly experienced Ottoman domination in 1570. The castle, which has traces of many different civilizations and cultures, has been preserved as an important historical monument.
This monastery must be among the places to visit in Cyprus, Girne. Named as Beylerbeyi village today, Bellapais Monastery is 4 kilometers away from the Girne and just near the Beşparmak Mountains. The monastery, which also has sea views, is built on a large rock. It is possible to reach the monastery both by personal means and on foot. Monastery was built by Augustine monks in 11th century A.D. A church is built in the most sheltered place of the monastery and since the day construction has been completed, it continues without damage until today. The cafeterias, the lectures and the cellars that priests preach are still original. In addition, administrative work was carried out in the chamber of the monastery.
You should add Girne Harbour to your to-see list. Especially at nights, due to the lightning it is becoming one of the most preferred places by both locals and tourists. The harbor is lively and has many cafés, bars and taverns along the coast.
You can also go scuba diving from the port of Girne during the daytime with dive boats. Underwater diving is a great option to see coral reefs, various fish, colorful sea life and shipwrecks that have sunk off the Mediterranean Sea. You can meet the creatures living in the immense waters of the Mediterranean and give a little touch to the stories hidden under the water.
Places to Visit in Cyprus Güzelyurt
Güzelyurt district, which is located to the northwest of the island of Cyprus, does not come to the forefront with its places to visit. Altough Güzelyurt is not very popular as Lefkoşa and Girne cities, it is one of the oldest settlements of Cyprus and famous with its citrus gardens. In the district of Güzelyurt, which has very fertile soils, melon and watermelon are grown along with citrus such as orange, grapefruit and mandaline.
Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Campus is in the Kalkanlı village and Cyprus University of Health and Social Sciences is in the center of Güzelyurt. This two universities are compose the student population in the district
Blue Pavilion (Mavi Köşk)
Mavi Köşk, is one of the must-see places in Çamlıbel, Güzelyurt.
Mavi Köşk, in other words, Kaçakçı Köşk was built in 1956. The smuggler who escaped from the secret tunnel that he built in his bedroom during the Cyprus Peace Operation in 1974, known to be sending money in order to maintain the pavilion. After Paulo Paolides left the pavilion, Turkish Military turned the pavilion in to museum. Military personnel accompany the guests visiting the Blue Pavilion. The owner of the mansion, Paulo Paolides, was born in Cyprus and he is originally Italian.
Despite being a lawyer, Paolides was the largest weapon smuggler in the Middle East at that time. Very interesting, but he is also the attorney of the then President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios.
He used his legal profession to conceal the weapon trade.
For this reason, the pavilion has a position that no one can see from the outside but dominates the whole environment. Thus, he was able to use the pavilion as a weapon distribution point.
Other details about the Blue Pavilion are as follows:1957 Westinghouse brand central air conditioning system in operation, nine-dimensional safety mirror specially brought from the Far East, feather padded stress seats, drink cabinet made from chameleon leather changing color according to season, cyrstal wine glasses, Italian handcrafted floor coverings, 24 hour wine flowing lion fountain if desired, moving chair that doesn’t let one to sleep when sitted, confession points, earthquake warning device, earthquake precursor “balance sculpture”,earthquake chamber which appears to be a whole with the kiosk but was built separately and with a different technique to prevent it from collapsing in the earthquake.
One of the important historical places located in Güzelyurt, is Soli Wrecks. Soli is an ancient city on the shores of Lefke, near Gemikonagi.It is presumed that it was founded at the beginning of the 1st century BC. The name of the city is said to be based on the Athens philosopher Solon. It is understood that the city has managed to maintain its important position due to its prolonged fertile land, sheltered harbor and copper mines nearby. Soli rebelled against the Persians, the ruler of Cyprus, defeated and succumbed to Persian rule in 498 B.C. Living in prosperity during Roman times, the city expanded to the sea. However, it lost its importance with the port filling and the closure of copper mines, and was finally abandoned as a result of Arab raids in the 7th century. Public buildings such as theaters, agora, churches, fountains and temples were unearthed in the excavations carried out since the 1920s. An excavation in 2005 yielded a grave that was thought to belong to one of the notables of the city. Numerous gold jewelry left as grave gifts are on display at the Güzelyurt Archeology Museum.
Places ton Visit in Karpaz
Apostolos Anddreas Monastery
One of the must-see places to visit in Karpaz is the Monastery of Apostolos Andreas.
This monastery, located at the eastern end of the Karpaz Peninsula, known as Apostolos Andreas or Zafer Burnu, is highly regarded as a sacred place by both Greeks and Turks. The curch, which dedicated to Apostolos Andreas (St. Andrew) known as Creator of Miracles, the Master of the Wind, and the Protector of the Passengers, with its magnificent architecture, it enhances the mysticism of the space with its eye-catching chandeliers and icons. For the visitors of the monastery, there is another important opportunity besides the rituals performed here.
Not only orthodox visitors, but almost everyone who believes in the power of Apostolos Andreas makes a wish by placing a candle instead of a vow next to the entrance door.
St. Andrew, was the first person to be called a priest by Jesus, his religious title was “He Protocollitos“ in the sense of“ first called”.According to Christian belief, St. Andrew, while returning from a visit by a boat used by aone-eyed captain, went ashore, struck the rock to find a source of healing water and healed the blind eye of the captain. The small room with wells with drinking water under the modern church is presumed to be a 15th century chapel.
Places to Visit in Cyprus Iskele
İskele District was attached to Mağusa in 1998 and with the decision of 2000, it became a district with Güzelyurt. The city of Iskele, which stands out in summer tourism due to its location on the coastline, attracts the attention of tourists with its beautiful coastline.
It is Katara Castle that one of the must-see places in Iskele. Kantara Castle, which is located in the easternmost of the three castles on the Girne Mountains, was established at an altitude of 700 meters. It is a strategic castle due to its position to control the northern coast, the Mesarya plain and the entrance to the Karpaz peninsula. After Arab invasions like St. Hilarion and Buffavento castles, it is estimated it was built by Byzantine and it is mentioned in the written sources for the first time in 1191 when Richard the Lionheart seized Cyprus. The name of the castle is heard mostly in the Lusignan and Venetian periods. There have been many wars during this period. Although the Genoese invaded Lefkoşa and Mağusa in 1373, the castle remained in the hands of King Peter I ‘s supporters. Prince John, brother of King Peter I of Cyprus, is known to have escaped to the castle while he was held captive by the Genoese. The castle was surrounded by walls in 1391 by King James. After the Venetians conquered the island, like other castles far from the sea, this castle was demilitarized and lost its old importance. In the castle, there are defensive places, soldiers’ rooms, water cisterns, vaulted rooms and signal tower.