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The famous Famagusta Gate still stands today, proudly protecting the still-ancient town within from the modern city outside. The modern divided capital is the result of the war in , which resulted because of rebellion against the government of Cyprus. The central Eleftheria Square links old Nicosia with the elegant modern city that has grown up outside the walls, where hotels, offices restaurants and gardens blend happily with the fine old houses and colonial buildings of this cosmopolitan city.

There are many things to do in Nicosia The Cyprus museum is very popular with visitors. There is a priceless and fascinating collection of Cypriot antiquities and art treasures from the Neolithic Age to the early Byzantine Period. Come down and visit the Cyprus Handicraft Center workshops, where traditional arts are practiced today much the same way they were in ages past. It is a busy little town with a harbour appreciated for its natural beauty.

Founded by the Achaeans, ancient Greek colonists, and fortified by the Byzantines, Franks, and Venetians, the city was the administrative headquarters of the Kyrenia district of the Republic of Cyprus until the war in In its heyday it was lined with warehouses, stored with fruits of the countryside whilst they awaited export. The buildings are now mostly all restaurants, all of which have tables and chairs lining the water. The castle at the east end of the harbour is a very spectacular site and within its walls, there is a 12 century chapel showing reused late Roman capitals.

Just 10 minutes above Kyrenia is Bellapais Abbey. Set in this fabulous location, a visit to this 14th century Lusignan abbey is a must. Escape beach Club and Club Acapulco are the top two beaches in Kyrenia. They both offer plenty of entertainment. They both have a bar, restaurant and night club. These two beaches are perfect for younger travelers. Turtle beach is situated on the new coast road East of Kyrenia driving towards Esentepe.

The beach is protected during the summer months between the hours of 9pm and 5am. This is because rare Turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach area under the watchful eye of conservationists. The beach by day is excellent and used a lot by the locals. At this location is a small building called the 'Turtle Project. They lay their eggs around June and August is the hatching time.

You have an excellent opportunity to find pleasant places for walking in Northern Cyprus. The Besparmak Mountains are ideal walking areas. You can go to St. Hilarion Castle and park your car there. Head west to take in the amazing views of Kyrenia.

Enclosed to the north by the sea and to the south by the greenery of the Besparmak Five finger Mountain range, it offers the most magnificent scenery on the island. It's charming and tiny harbour, full of yachts and fishing boats, is framed by the colossal hulk of its Crusader castle. With the backdrop of the jagged mountains behind and the calm sparkling sea in front, the harbour has an intoxicatingly serene atmosphere.

It lies on the island's east coast in a bay between Capes Greco and Eloea and is about 55 km east of Nicosia. The port possesses the deepest harbour in Cyprus. Famagusta city lies south of the ancient city of Salamis now Salamis ruins and just north of the ancient ghost town of Varosha Maras. Today Varosha is no more than an empty ghost town. Famagusta is one of the finest examples of mediaeval architecture in the eastern Mediterranean.

The oldest traces of settlements lie in an area near the modern town of Famagusta, then named "Enkomi", going back to 13th Century B. At the start of the Iron Age the town was built near the sea and was known by the name "Salamis". The name "Ammochostos" is first recorded during the Byzantine period.

In Famagusta was conquered by the Ottoman's. By the year A. These are still to be seen in the town today. This was the time of the Crusades and when the rich Lusignan family ruled Cyprus. Therefore, the period I to I in Cyprus history is called the Lusignan dynasty. Famagusta was protected by ramparts which encircle the town and the citadel castle guarding the harbour, the best in Cyprus. This citadel or Othello's tower is the first main focus of attention for visitors.

The period I to I is known as the golden age of Famagusta and was regarded as such by visiting merchants who brought back tales of fabulous wealth. After I , rival groups of Genoese and Venetian merchants settled there. The Genoese caused much conflict until finally the Venetians took command of all Cyprus. In they transferred the capital from Nicosia to Famagusta.

The Venetians were in command for 82 years and it was from Famagusta that the whole island was governed. The invention of gun-powder and the use of cannons called for the Venetians to remodel the entire defense for the use of artillery, the new type of warfare. The medieval square towers were replaced with round ones and cannon portholes were inserted all along the walls.

The Turkish armada arrived outside the town in and put it under siege for a year. In not only Famagusta, but all of Cyprus was under Turkish rule and remained so until The end of colonial rule in led to the intensification of intercommunal contention between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots which concluded in with Turkish Cypriot rule in North Cyprus.

The new town of Famagusta also known as Maras or Varosha lies just to the south of the walled old-city of Famagusta. As a seaport, Famagusta is a center for the export of citrus fruits and other agricultural products and livestock; other major economic activities include cotton spinning, the distillation of brandy, and fishing. Guzelyurt Greek: Morphou, Turkish: Omorfo - before is a market town in the north-west of Cyprus.

Guzelyurt was founded by Spartans who brought with them the worship of Aphrodite. In the Middle Ages, the city was referred to as Morphou and also Theomorphou. The Guzelyurt area grew more than half of Cyprus citrus fruits. Guzelyurt is a market town located in the west of North Cyprus.

One of its attractive features is that it is the home of one of the many churches in the country dedicated to St. Mamas, popularly known as the patron saint of tax avoiders. The name was bestowed on him because he was a hermit living in very poor circumstances and when the authorities tried to tax him, he avoided them. Soldiers were sent out and captured him but on the way back to town, he saw a lion attacking a lamb, escaped the soldiers, saved the lamb, jumped on the lion's back and in that way came to town.

His bravery earned him exemption from tax, hence his name - the patron saint of tax avoiders. It is one of the richest agricultural areas in Cyprus, famous particularly for the Citrus Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit and strawberries from the area which thrive in its fertile red soil. A large proportion of the citrus fruits are exported, and the remaining are made into fruit juice and canned for export and local consumption.

The town, located in the west, is surrounded by extensive citrus groves, which makes this area the greenest on the island. The reason for this is the abundance of water running down from the Troodos Mountains, which lie, to the south.

Guzelyurt is not a typical tourist destination, but is interesting to those who want see parts of Northern Cyprus not in the least affected by tourism. You can enjoy your holiday in the peace and quiet of its natural surroundings. The museum houses a collection ranging from the prehistoric age of Cyprus to the Byzantine period Primitive tools uncovered from different prehistoric settlements around Cyprus, and samples of pottery from the Bronze Age are exhibited at the museum.

Furthermore there is a covered market and some rather beautiful Orthodox churches. The region of Iskele is situated in the north east part of the island. It is one of the most beautiful parts of Northern Cyprus. There are not big towns here, and the nature has remained unspoilt. The most popular destination of Iskele region is the Karpas peninsula. In spite of the fact that it is a remote place, Karpas attracts a lot of people by its enormous "Golden Beach". It is partly located in the ancient city of Karpasia, founded by king Pygmalion.

Dipkarpaz is the biggest town on the peninsula. Soil near the town is very fertile. Local crops include carob, cotton, tobacco, and grain. A tobacco-factory operates in the town. In , the peninsula was cut off by Turkish troops, and this prevented the town's Greek-Cypriot inhabitants from fleeing to the unoccupied South. As a result, Dipkarpaz is the home of the biggest Greek-speaking population in the North.

The town has two churches: St. Synesios and the church of the Holy Trinity. They are examples of the typical Cypriot mixed style, combining features of the late Gothic introduced by the Lusignans with the late Byzantine style of the Orthodox tradition. When the island's Orthodox bishops were banished by the Lusignans in , the Bishop of Famagusta was sent to Dipkarpaz and continued his work in St. Synesios, the main Orthodox Church in the region.

North Cyprus seems to glow from within when the sun sets, and the exciting times begin! Cyprus is an island that has been inhabited for over 9, years, from the Neolithic Stone Age to the civilised 21st century, mankind has walked this fertile land. Early settlers most probably came from nearby countries, with Turkey only 40 miles away the journey would not have been difficult. Artefacts found in Neolithic settlements have clear links with similar finds on the mainland and there are many villages of the period dotted across the island.

During the Chalcolithic period BC copper was discovered and found to be a durable and exportable commodity. It was during this time that the trade routes, which were to be so important in future centuries, were established. With the Early and Middle Bronze Ages came the development of the first real towns and commercial centres, and due to trade, cultural relations with neighbouring countries improved.

There was a steady influx of immigrants from nearby lands among them the Myceneans who developed trading cities around the island, such as Enkomi in the north and Paphos in the south. They brought with them Greek cultural methods and started producing decorative pottery not just for the home market but also for export.

The Iron Age coincided with a slowing down in commercial growth and a dispersal of the peoples. Those that continued to live on Cyprus carried on their traditions until they were given a boost by the arrival of the Phoenicians. Links with the Orient were made, the economy grew and religion started to change. She in time was replaced by Aphrodite, always considered to be a native of Cyprus. In the following centuries, the island came under the domination of many foreign powers mostly from the Near East.

Dues were paid to Assyria, Egypt and Persia. It was during the control by the Persian Empire that many of the city-kingdoms were permitted to mint their own coinage. During the Classical Period BC the Cypriot people attempted to rebel against Persian rule but were for the most part defeated. It was not until the arrival of Evagoras who claimed the Kingdom of Salamis that the yoke of Persia was thrown off. However, Evagoras successfully developed good trading relations with Persia and Salamis became a powerful commercial city.

Prosperity through trade continued to grow throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods until the decline in fortunes of the Roman Empire. It was not to recover until Constantine the Great pulled the Western Empire together under Christian rule and thus Cyprus became part of Byzantium. In the 7th C AD marauding Islamic hordes plundered many of the cities, sacking, looting and burning as they went. Many beautiful Christian buildings were destroyed and whole townships abandoned.

The raids lasted for over two hundred years and the Cypriot people were obliged to pay taxes to whichever Caliph was in power, and to Constantinople. This injustice continued until the Byzantine Emperor defeated the Arabs and made the island secure once again. The last Byzantine ruler of the island was the self-styled Emperor of Cyprus Isaac Comnenus who had usurped power from Constantinople during the chaos that followed the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin in After eight years of despotic rule, he made a grave political error by attempting to capture Berengaria of Navarre when her ship was driven onto the shores near Limassol during a storm.

As a foreign princess, she should have been offered courtesy, instead of which she received only insults. Her future husband Richard I king of England came to her rescue, snatched the island from the usurper, sent Isaac into exile and married his bride in Limassol castle in May Delighted as he was to find a treasury full of gold, Richard had no use for the island and sold it to the Knights Templar. Then with his newfound and much-needed wealth he continued on his third crusade to retake Jerusalem.

It was not long before the Templars discovered that the Cypriot people were not prepared to put up with another regime of harsh rule and went into hostile rebellion. With their resources already stretched by the crusade, the Templars requested that king Richard relieve them of the island. As some small recompense for the loss of Jerusalem, Richard handed the island over to Guy of Lusignan and thus began years of French rule. Initially being ruled by a dynasty from France was no more beneficial to the Cypriot people than the previous rule.

It introduced a feudal system that gave power to the barons who had supported Guy during his battles in the Holy Land. However some local laws and customs were retained and gradually peace among the people was restored. Tenaciously, the Kings of Cyprus continued to hold on to the title of King of Jerusalem long after all hope of regaining that Kingdom was lost, and they were crowned in absentia in the great Cathedral of St.

Nicholas in Famagusta. The Orthodox religion was oppressed and the number of Orthodox Bishops was reduced. Though not totally forbidden the faith was pushed out into the less wealthy areas and the revenues amassed by the Orthodox Church were re-allocated to the Church of Rome. Religious suppression angered the endemic Cypriots who mistrusted their new overlords, and the continuing contrast in lifestyles with the building of flamboyant abbeys and churches demonstrated the increasing divide between the two distinctly differing peoples.

However over the next three centuries, this was to change and ultimately Cyprus and her people derived great benefit from the period of French rule. Although there were times when foreign powers cast envious eyes on the realm of Cyprus resulting in attempts to take the island, there were also periods of great peace. There were enlightened rulers such as Hugh III, who encouraged the widespread interest in cultural reform and promotion of the arts. His court was known throughout Europe for its brilliance and his reign was spent mostly in the country not journeying about other countries of the Mediterranean, a fact that endeared him to the Cypriots.

However the next monarchs were not so lucky and their reigns were marred by interfamily feuds. Relative calm was restored by Hugh IV, who though somewhat an intolerant monarch, was a man who loved beautiful things and it was during his rule that the final additions to Bellapais Abbey were made. In Peter I came to the throne and started his rule well.

However after only seven years his reign started to decline; his trusted advisers died and he was at the mercy of the barons who undermined him and his evil Queen, Eleanor. She eventually succeeded in having him assassinated and became co-regent with her brothers in law until her infant king Peter II attained his majority.

During the coronation of Peter II, a long-brewing feud between Venetian and Genoese nobles erupted and developed into full-scale war. The Genoese landed in force in and plundered many of the cities, churches and abbeys. They took and held Famagusta and captured James the Constable, who had been one of the co-regents, and held him prisoner.

The hapless young king was completely controlled by his mother who succeeded in having her other co-regent Prince John, murdered. Peter II died without issue, James still imprisoned by the Genoese became heir and managed to raise the ransom for his release. He reorganised the kingdom and was succeed by his son Janus.

The country was once more prospering when in Egypt invaded and the island was controlled by a foreign power. The next sixty years saw a sad decline in the monarchy as French rule came to an end. He married a Venetian, Catherine Cornaro and died in somewhat suspicious circumstances leaving his widow to rule. His posthumous son died at a year old and Catherine ruled for thirteen years until the persuasive powers of her native Venice became too much for her and she abdicated the throne in For the next eighty years, Cyprus became a Venetian stronghold.

The towns, cities and coastal fortifications were strengthened against the growing might of the Ottoman Empire. All their efforts to make the island safe against further invasions were in vain when the Ottoman forces landed at Larnaca in and rapidly took Nicosia in a swiftly savage siege. Kyrenia gave in without a shot being fired, leaving the last major city Famagusta to be conquered. The taking of Famagusta took ten long months, during which the Ottoman forces suffered tremendous losses at the hands of the small but brave force within the city walls led by Marc Antonio Bragadino.

Courage and bravery were insufficient when the city ran out of supplies and Bragadino was forced to surrender. With the total island now conquered, the new Ottoman rulers made changes that the Orthodox Cypriots welcomed. The churches were handed back to their former owners, Catholics, long hated by the Orthodox faith were expelled and many of the Catholic churches became mosques.

The population of the island was increased by settlement from the mainland of Turks who were promised gifts of land by the Sultan. However there were still taxes to be paid and financially the people did not find themselves much better off. Corruption in Government was rife, poverty and famine wreaked havoc, and a great plague in the mid 17th century decimated the population.

Taxes were reduced and the Ottoman authority appointed the Orthodox Archbishop as the representative of the people. Thus tax collecting was put into the hands of the church, a system that worked for a short while until greed got the upper hand, once again reducing the peasants to penury.

The Russian Empire was slowly chipping away at its common borders with Ottoman possessions and the British Government was asked for help in stopping further incursions. A deal was brokered between the Sultan and Benjamin Disraeli which permitted control of Cyprus by the British Government which in turn would continue to pay taxes to the Sultan.

It was expedient for Britain to control the island because the Suez canal had opened in and it was feared Russia would try to take it and command the newly opened trade route. The British undertook many reforms that benefited the island, new roads and bridges were built, water pipelines for the villages, and crop irrigation were installed, a railway was constructed to link Famagusta, Nicosia and Guzelyurt. With the outbreak of the first world war, Turkey joined forces with Germany and Cyprus was annexed to the British Crown.

In Britain offered the island to Greece if they would agree to fight with the Allies. Greece declined the offer. In the island became a crown colony under the control of a governor. Enosis, union with Greece which would have been automatic if Greece had accepted the offer of the island in became of great importance.

There were riots in and Government house was burnt to the ground. With the onset of the second world war, Cypriots both Turkish and Greek fought in the British armed forces. At the end of the war the call for Enosis was renewed.

In Archbishop Makarios called for a vote of the people on the subject of enosis and over 95 percent voted in favour. The British were not prepared to relinquish the island at the time and the battle for self rule was led by the EOKA rebel leader George Grivas with the blessing of Makarios.

Despite the request for Enosis being outlawed and Makarios being sent into exile, Greece applied to the United Nations for the right to self-government, the Turkish Cypriot minority were not taken into account as they were not considered of any importance.

An eventual solution was reached and the London Accord that granted the island its independence was signed in , with the Republic of Cyprus becoming an actuality in The campaign, which started when the first EOKA bombs exploded at It created civil strife and mistrust between the two Cypriot communities. EOKA received direct support from Greece in money, arms, organization and propaganda. Under a compromise settlement known as Zurich-London agreements, Cyprus became an independent Republic in Since then, April 1 is a national holiday.

It was celebrated in memorial services in Churches and gatherings in cities and villages in the free part of Cyprus. EOKA-B emerged twice, in and , in collaboration and cooperation with Greece, to attack the Turkish Cypriots, one of the two co-founding partners of the Republic of Cyprus, with the aim of uniting the Island with Greece. Between and , several groups embarked on a renewed terrorist campaign for enosis.

Most members of the terrorist movement held regular jobs in the Greek Cypriot community; half were police officials and members of the National Guard. There was also considerable evidence of support of EOKA B activities by the Greek junta, whose hostility to Makarios became increasingly apparent during the early s. The junta was believed to be involved in several attempts on the life of President Makarios. In March , Makarios narrowly escaped death when his helicopter was shot down. Makarios walked away from the crash, but his pilot was killed.

Former minister of the interior Polykarpos Georkajis, in contact with local right-wing groups and the junta in Athens, was thought to be implicated, and was assassinated shortly afterward. A paramilitary presidential guard loyal to Makarios, called the Tactical Police Reserve, was organized in In a further attempt to bring subversive forces under control, Makarios dismissed many National Guard and police officers suspected of EOKA B activity.

Since this time the island has remained divided. It is a fully democratic state and with exception of a few border incidents, internal peace has been established. UN-led talks on the status of Cyprus resumed in December to prepare the ground for meaningful negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement.

Efforts to reunite the island under a federal structure continue, however, under the auspices of the United Nations. As Cyprus planned to join the European Community in May , there were renewed negotiations about the status of the Island.

In December , the borders between the two parts of Cyprus were partly opened, numerous Greek Cypriots visited the north, and labour migration of Turkish Cypriots to the south, especially Nicosia began. A referendum on the Annan Plan, a United Nations proposal for reunification was placed before both communities in April, The plan was rejected by the Greek Cypriots while approved by the Turkish Cypriots but required the approval of both sides to succeed.

Proposal of the Annan Plan: The Annan Plan had undergone five revisions in order to reach its final version. This new country was to be a federation of two constituent states — the Greek Cypriot State and the Turkish Cypriot State — joined together by a federal government apparatus. This federal level, purported to be loosely based on the Swiss federal model, would have incorporated the following elements:. An additional three non-voting members would be assigned The plan included a federal constitution, constitutions for each constituent state, a string of constitutional and federal laws, and a proposal for a United Cyprus Republic flag and a national anthem.

It also provided for a Reconciliation Commission to bring the two communities closer together and resolve outstanding disputes from the past. It would also have established a limited right to return between the territories of the two communities, and it would have allowed both Greece and Turkey to maintain a permanent military presence on the island, albeit with large, phased reductions in troop numbers.

In February, , the election of a new president in the Republic of Cyprus brought a new boost to the peace process, and a final settlement of "The Cyprus Problem" looked closer than it had for a long time. In July of that year, the two presidents issued a joint statement committing themselves to a solution of the Cyprus problem. A further statement in December of indicated hopes of a settlement by the end of Things slowed down for a while at the start of because of elections in Northern Cyprus, and in April a new leader was elected.

Although a known hard liner, the new leader, Mr Ergolu, assured the United Nations that the talks would continue, which they have done. In the Autumn of , a further crossing point was opened between Yesilirmak Limnitis and Kato Pyrgos in the far west of the island. There is also a strong movement from both sides of the divide to open further crossings south of Lefke, and east of Nicosia. Since the new set of talks started in , the two leaders have had 88 meetings up till the end of November Movement, however, has been painfully slow, with both sides blaming the other and there being selective leeks to the press to prove their case.

Both leaders have positive expectations towards Cyprus problem solution and collaboration on brining unity to the island. Cyprus belongs to the warmest zones of the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean climate with crystal clear sea, hot dry summers and mild winters make it an ideal holiday destination in the world.

The island is a friendly vacation place for all sun lovers because Cyprus has approximately sunny days annually for the entire year. Climatically Cyprus is one of the healthiest regions of the world. What you can experience is beautiful sunrises and sunsets on Cyprus island, vacation in Cyprus is possible in every season. North Cyprus enjoys a climate with long warm and dry summers from mid May to mid October and mild wet winters from December to February.

Autumn and Spring seasons in Northern Cyprus are short and relatively dry with occasional winds. Weather in coastal parts of North Cyprus such as Kyrenia and Famagusta is much milder compared to inland, due to the sea breeze and humidity of the Mediterranean. Frost and snow are almost unknown in North Cyprus, although night temperatures can fall to low levels in winter, specially during the month of January. Remove shoes before entering a house or mosque as people used to sit on carpets on the floor.

If someone suggests reading coffee grains at the bottom of your coffee cup, turn the cup upside down onto the saucer to be read. Tavli, like backgammon, is the usual game played in coffee houses. Museums and art galleries are good places to gain an insight to a culture as are local festivals. Festivals are ideal events to enjoy real local culture first hand.

Folk dancing depicting the story of everyday life, the girls more sedate than the boys showing off their skills. The blue eye nazar boncuk , seen hanging in doorways, on clothes, in cars and jewellery is to ward off evil looks and spirits. Handicrafts include Lefkara lace work, from the Venetians era, for bedspreads and tablecloths etc. Good buys are Kilims, small colourful rugs, silk pictures and brooches. Festivals are also ideal times to try Turkish Cypriot food.

Its mix of Mediterranean, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine dishes and take-away conjures up a whole new meaning. Traditions and Customs Cypriots are very proud of their cultural heritage, which stretches back more than years. However, you'll probably find that Cyprus today is more concerned with the events of the last 20 years than those of a millennium ago.

The north of the island is busy re-creating itself in the image of Turkey, changing names to Turkish and embracing the life and culture of its northern neighbour. The traditions and customs of a culture can best be observed in ceremonies and on special occasions. Between the Turkish Cypriot community, some of these are wedding ceremonies, feast days Ramazan , birth, children starting school, etc.

Another important characteristic of the Turkish Cypriots is their hospitality. In the past, the importance of the guest was relative to their social status and their age. Serving the guests usually started with coffee or sherbets, especially those of honey, rose and carob. Fruit paste serving was also of importance. Cypriot culture is also reflected in the rich folk art of the island.

Age-old crafts, handed down from one generation to another, are faithfully carried on to this day by skilful hands and nimble fingers, fashioning handicrafts, both decorative and useful, that would grace any home. Carnival is one of the best known Cypriot and throughout the year there are also exhibitions, concerts, drama and folk festivals.

Whatever the present-day situation may be, Cyprus is littered with reminders of the island's history. Many villages specialize in a particular art form, and as you travel around Cyprus you'll see pottery, silver and copperware, basket weaving, tapestry and Lefkara's famous lacework. Turkish Cypriot Family Between Turkish Cypriots, family life is very important, so they spend most of their free time with family gatherings, picnics, barbeques and weddings. The Turkish Cypriot family structure is that of the ex tender family which consists of three generations of people living close to eacother.

The influence of the family on individuals is immeasurable. Although the island has undergone many social changes in recent times, the traditional family structure in Cyprus remains the same. Turkish Cypriot families are patriarchal and male dominance is the norm. Men are expected to provide for the family while women are responsible for housework and childcare.

If men do assist with household chores it is viewed as a bonus. Religious festivals are another important family event. Long lost cousins and distant family members gather together to eat, drink and laugh together.

Children are treated to new clothes for these festivals and receive large gifts of money to spend as they wish. Food is the main focus of family gatherings at Bayram and everyone contributes by cooking savouries and desserts to share with one another. In fact the kitchen table is the heart of the family home in North Cyprus. People in Cyprus enjoy eating together and there is never a shortage of food in the home.

Women usually cook more than the necessary amount of food in case an unexpected member of the family or a friend visit. Festivals North Cyprus is becoming a generous host to many cultural events. The island has started to host many cultural events over the past few years.

They are generally held at historical sites such as Bellapais abbey, Kyrenia castle, Salamis Ampitheatre and Othello's Tower, such events have always attracted wide interest and you can come across cultural activities almost every weekend making it possible for visitors to experience such culture. During the spring months of April and May Bellapais Abbey plays host to an array of celebrated musicians all over the world.

Another city beginning to make a name for hosting music activities in Famagusta. It is possible to listen to many mucisians courtesy of Famagusta municipality's annual music festival. Apart from the packed festival programme there are individual events to entertain music lovers. Hamam Ottoman Turks built many public baths in major towns on the island.

There are separate baths for men and women. After entering the hamam wrapped in a towel you go to a large heated headstone in the middle where one perspires and is rubbed down by a bath attendant. This method of bathing is supposed to be refreshing and many of the old marble baths are architecturally interesting. North Cyprus Folk Dancing From the beginning of establishment of Northern Cyprus folk dancing has been performed by locals, municipalities, states as an important symbol of our national culture, identity, and history.

People The Turkish Cypriot people are renowned for their generous hospitality and are welcoming to an unexpected degree. Following Koranic tenets and their naturally friendly instincts, The Cypriot Turks area is most gracious and generous host. The people are friendly, helpful and will invite the visitor into their home, not just for a cup of tea, or coffee, but will also share whatever food they may have.

They have a courtesy rarely found elsewhere and delight in the company of new-found friends. More than anything, Turkish Cypriots are warm hearted, fun loving people with a real sense of family loyalty. It is the kind of old fashioned courtesy that is now sadly lacking in the developed western world. Polite and helpful, Turkish Cypriots want you to enjoy your stay.

Historical life goes back to the seventh millennium BC. Throughout these years Cyprus has had foreign people on her soil, passing by or settling, leaving parts of their culture behind. Despite this the Turkish Cypriots have their own identity and will fiercely point out that they are not from the mainland Turkey. They have a laid back attitude to life which makes for a most relaxing holiday. Visitors do not have to worry about being over-charged. This goes as far as the waiters who do not stand holding their hands out for a tip.

During shopping or enjoying a meal, you are made to feel particularly welcome. It is quite common for a shopkeeper to offer you a coffee or cold drink. Etiquette says that it is not polite to leave before the coffee cup gets cold. Evil Eye The evil eye is a common belief among Mediterranean people. It is widely believed that if one person gives another a hateful look, he or she may die or become ill from its negative effects.

The strength behind the evil look is the evil eye. This amulet against evil eye is very typical in North Cyprus. You can find it all over Turkey and North Cyprus: women use it as bracelets, earrings or necklaces; Turkish people use it hung in their house, office and their car, also babies have it hung in their cloths. It should be mainly blue and look like an eye. There are very different sizes but the shape is usually round. The Turkish name for this amulet that protects one from the evil eye is nazar boncuk.

But what is behind this turkish superstition? Once upon a time there was a rock by the sea that even with the force of a hundred men and a lot of dynamite couldn't be moved or cracked. There was also a man in this town by the sea, who was known to carry the evil eye Nazar. After much effort and endeavor, the town people brought the man to the rock, and the man, upon looking at the rock said, "My God! What a big rock! The force of the evil eye nazar is a widely accepted and feared element in Turkish and Turkish Cypriot daily life.

So the idea is to protect yourself, your house, your office and loved ones. The Nazar amulet can be seen dangling from the bumpers of taxi cabs, pinned to the clothes of babies, built into the foundation of modern office buildings and guarding the doorways of kebap houses.

If you want to use it in your house you should hang it in the entrance of the house, so any visitor will see it. If you want to wear, the most common one is a small amulet that can be hung on your cloth, or from your bag. Also you will find bracelets, earrings or necklaces in different forms and shapes to be used.

Turkish people believe that with the evil eye amulet you will be protected and all the bad energy will be directed to the amulet and it will brake. No bad energy will reach you since you are protected with the amulet of nazar boncuk. The protection of the Nazar is used for anything new or likely to attract praise. The belief is that even well-intentioned compliments include a conscious or unconscious dose of envy and resentment. The bead reflects the evil intent back to the onlooker. It somewhat resembles an eye and it is said the typical blue colour is a factor in protecting the user.

The economy operates on a free-market basis, with a significant portion of administration costs funded by Turkey. In the four years between and , the Turkish Cypriot economy recorded growth rates averaging around This growth was fuelled by the relative stability of the Turkish Lira, a large construction boom, the expansion of Turkish Cypriot universities -- which cater mainly to Turkish and other international students -- and the employment of more than 4, Turkish Cypriots in the government-controlled area.

However, since , the economy in the north ground to a halt and went into recession, with real growth rates of 1. Construction activity, which boomed in and , came to a bust in and , while tourism and agriculture went reverse. The economy grew by an estimated 3. Northern Cyprus has seen economic growth and declining unemployment throughout the s; the unemployment rate in was at 8. The inflation rate in June was at 3. Most businesses in the north are family-run and tend to be very small.

Manufacturing is limited mainly to food and beverages, furniture and fixtures, construction materials, metal and non-metal products, textiles and clothing. Unemployment in was estimated at 9. With hundreds of miles of coastline, medieval castles and antiquities, tourism is a major potential growth industry. Tertiary education is also one of the strongest sectors in the north. There are currently six universities attended primarily by students from Turkey.

According to the "State Planning Organization," over 40, students, of which over 80 percent are foreign, registered for the academic year. The economy operates on a free-market basis, although it continues to be handicapped by the political isolation of Turkish Cypriots, the lack of private and public investment, high freight costs, and shortages of skilled labor.

Despite these constraints, the Turkish Cypriot economy turned in an impressive performance from to , with estimated growth rates of This growth was fueled largely by a construction boom, which ended abruptly amid renewed controversy over the legitimacy of property titles in the north, following a much-publicized court case in which the United Kingdom Court of Appeal on January 19, affirmed an earlier ruling by the European Court of Justice.

Embargo and Turkey's role Because of its international status and the embargo on its ports, the TRNC is heavily dependent on Turkish military and economic support. All TRNC exports and imports have to take place via Turkey, unless they are produced locally, from materials sourced in the area or imported via one of the island's recognised ports when they may be exported via one of the legal ports.

The Republic of Cyprus, as the internationally recognised authority, has declared airports and ports in the area not under its effective control, closed. All UN and EU member countries respect the closure of those ports and airports according to the declaration of the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish community argues that the Republic of Cyprus has used its international standing to handicap economic relations between TRNC and the rest of the world.

The main trading partner is Turkey, as of , Middle Eastern countries are the destination of The share of exports to the European Union has greatly decreased from The agricultural sector is the source of the vast majority of exported goods. In , Raw citrus by itself constituted In August , new EU rules allowed goods produced or substantially transformed in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots to be sold duty-free to consumers in the government-controlled area and through that area to the rest of the EU.

Animal products are excluded from this arrangement. In , Turkish Cypriot authorities adopted a new regulation "mirroring" the EU rules and allowing certain goods produced in the government-controlled areas to be sold in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots. However, suppliers cannot legally transport imported products over the green line in either direction. Despite these efforts, direct trade between the two communities remains limited comprising only 0.

Banking Since the North Cyprus became and achieved a huge growth of econmy since , the banking system has changed inevitably. All types of bank services are provided in Northern Cyprus and they are flexible enough to satisfy the continually diversifying needs of the business community. In recent years banks in North Cyprus have expanded their activities beyond traditional banking and their services include insurance, leasing, hire purchase finance, factoring, mutual fund management, investment and consulting as well as custody and asset management services.

They have also developed new products and services through electronic means or electronic access online banking , using alternative distribution channels such as the internet, call centers, etc. Most of the banks are supplied with English speaking employees, the best chance to master language obstacle is in the foreign exchange section of the bank.

Banking in North Cyprus can seem quite difficult at first but once you see your options you will be more relaxed. Most expatriates seem to like HSBC due to their familiarity with it and brand name recognition. But there are other options that are just as reliable and trustworthy. Just remember to apply the same amount of skepticism here as you would else where. After all this is Northern Cyprus and things are more laid back but that still does not mean that you should bank your life savings at Uncle Toms First Mutual Bank.

Currently, there are 24 commercial banks plus a Development Bank operating in Northern Cyprus. Tourism The tourism sector of Northern Cyprus has seen high levels of constant growth. The number of tourists had doubled since , which saw , tourists. The economy of North Cyprus has witnessed a rapid growth during the past few years; predominantly thanks to tourism sector.

Tourism has taken the priority and its share in the GDP increases from year to year. In February , after a hiatus of nearly two years, the leaders of the two communities resumed formal discussions under UN auspices aimed at reuniting the divided island. The talks are ongoing. The entire island entered the EU on 1 May , although the EU acquis - the body of common rights and obligations - applies only to the areas under the internationally recognized government, and is suspended in the areas administered by Turkish Cypriots.

However, individual Turkish Cypriots able to document their eligibility for Republic of Cyprus citizenship legally enjoy the same rights accorded to other citizens of European Union states. Turkish Cypriot independent Mustafa Akinci swept to victory in presidential elections on 26 April , clinching Akinci had pledged to push for a peace deal with Greek Cypriots.

As such, the project is unique in the world. The project was officially initiated in March with the construction of Alakopru Dam in Anamur. The line is 80 kilometers 50 miles long and runs meters yards below sea level. It is expected to deliver about 20 billion gallons of water annually to Cyprus. Cyprus is short of surface water and groundwater due to inadequate rainfall.

Following the realization of the project, irrigated farming at an area of 4, ha 11, acres in Mesaoria Plains, one of largest plains of the island, will help improve the standard of living in the region. The total investment cost of the project is budgeted at TL million approx. The realization of the project took place on October 8, with the arrival of first waters in Northern Cyprus pumped from Turkey. There are many currency exchange offices in all of the major towns, all of which will change Sterling to Turkish Lira.

You can also exchange money at one of the many banks in Northern Cyprus. Most banks have English speaking staff who are happy to help with exchanging money or opening up a bank account. It is often better to wait until you get to North Cyprus to change your money into Lira, as the exchange rates tend to be much better than those in the UK.

As with all banks a ticket system is used to be severed by the cashier. On arrival you take a ticket from the machine near the door and wait to be called. Accounts can be opened in Lira or sterling and a time deposit accounts pay a high rate of interest per month. The banks operate summer and winter working hours.

Please be aware that summer hours are usually 8. Cash machines are widely used and some ATM machines give you the option of withdrawing Lira, Euros and Dollars, however check with your bank before your holiday regarding foreign use charges and to ensure that your card is activated for use abroad. Cash Also please be advised that some banks will not accept cash that does not have a stamp from the Turkish Central Bank.

They actually will accept it if you have an account with them but if you are a tourist its better to use the money changers or exchange houses. If you need to use the bank in order to make a deposit at the bank then swapping the money at a local exchange shop is your best bet. Another option that the bank may offer you is to photocopy every bill and then if found to be fake later they will contact you.

Not really the best option. This is especially the case with US dollars and this extra security is instituted since most banks branches in North Cyprus do not have the proper equipment to identify said counterfeit bills. Exchanging all hard currencies in banks, exchange offices and in hotels, is possible. Cards Almost all cards are accepted in North Cyprus. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover cards are welcome at almost every shop and restaurant in Northern Cyprus and can be used in many ATMs to withdraw money although bank charges may apply.

However, as of late American Express cards have seemed to become pretty useless in North Cyprus. Only one or two banks have a deal with American express and as such only shops or restaurants that have that swipe machine will accept an American Express Card. Atleks Onder is one of the few shops that does accept this card. Only please note that the swipe machine is not at the main checkout register.

Applying for a card is a pretty hassle free process although depending on what type of card you apply for it can take up to a month for it to be delivered. In most cases these cards are sent here from Turkey. Locals can register with their ID cards but if you a foreigner you will need to present your passport when applying for an account. Please do not rely entirely on your credit cards as some establishments still do not have the facilities to accept them.

Bring some cash with you. Crime rate in North Cyprus is almost at zero level. If money or other belongings are stolen, the case is most commonly related to tourists. Cheques If you feel uncomfortable carrying large amounts of cash, then euro cheques and traveller cheques are accepted and easily exchanged in banks, exchange bureaux and hotels across North Cyprus.

Cheque books are recommended to bring if you want to buy a property in North Cyprus. Loans and Mortgage Plans for Property in Cyprus Nowadays, many home buyers, even the ones who do not have difficulty with funds, understand all the benefits of credit plans. Low interest rate in North Cyprus, make credit plans attractive to anyone.

The popularity of mortgages for property in North Cyprus is determined by the easy process of purchasing property in credit terms, the lack of any formalities related to the provision of documents, favorable credit conditions, as well as favorable interest rates on loans. In our experience, many home buyers in North Cyprus, purchase property using credit plans, however they become owners of the property straight after registration of the contract and not after the credit is paid off.

For a foreign citizen, receiving a bank loan in North Cyprus is quiet a complicated process, therefore developers, with a view of attracting foreign buyers, offer flexible payment plans and credit loans. Foreign citizens are very active property buyers in North Cyprus, therefore even those construction companies who do not have sufficient funds to provide credit for the customer, take loans in the banks and supply credit plans for the buyers.

Credit for years can be obtained in North Cyprus only using valid passport and down payment for the property. Acquired property becomes security guarantee for the loan. It should be noted that, despite the duration of the credit plan in North Cyprus, the buyer is the owner and is entitled to rent or sell property even if with outstanding credit.

Moreover, with proper management of the acquired property, if it will be used for rental, not only does it cover all the costs of the loan, but also brings profit. Since the loan in North Cyprus is provided directly by the developers, then the credit terms conditions offered are different. Terms of the acquisition of real estate loans vary depending on the project, payment terms and the market situation, but they share the following rules:.

It is not hard to obtain a loan in Cyprus from the development company. You can arrange the purchase of property in Northern Cyprus with a credit plan, not even coming to the island for processing the transaction. North Cyprus mortgages: buying off-plan The vast majority of North Cyprus villa and apartment purchases are of new-build properties, where you can customise your new place in the sun to your own tastes and requirements.

This also offers advantages when financing your property purchase in North Cyprus, since payments are staggered in instalments through the construction period, and you do not need to find the full costs all at once. Furthermore, there is the very real chance that your property will have increased in value over the months it takes to build, so your money is working hard alongside your builders! Releasing equity and re-mortgaging in the UK Many buyers choose to release equity from their existing UK property to fund their property purchase in North Cyprus, and take advantage of UK mortgage rate deals.

The steady rises in UK property prices over the last ten years has enabled many to re-mortgage their UK house and release enough equity to buy their North Cyprus property outright. Also, your mortgage is secured on your UK property, not on your North Cyprus property.

According to a recent ValuePenguin research, Cyprus is one of the safest counties in the world. Cyprus is officially one of the safest countries in the world! Out of countries that generate enough data to run a study about the safest countries in the world, Cyprus proudly holds the 5th place worldwide! More amazing is the fact that Cyprus is the No 1 safest place to live and visit among countries that have population under 5 million.

Cyprus and the other 4 countries that made the top have an average Switzerland, Singapore, Spain, Japan and Cyprus scored the best results out of 7 data categories CO2 emissions, life expectancy, national police personnel, traffic deaths, thefts and assaults, number per Rounding out rankings for now, the Republic of Cyprus made it this high because it bested the aforementioned four cities in two categories: It ranked 21st overall in national police personnel per , people with , and it ranked 22nd in thefts per , people with The third island country among the top five, Cyprus had essentially been divided in two since but has been progressing toward reunification.

Kindergartens Cyprus is not only a popular holiday destination but also an excellent place for students, where they can achieve high quality education in Northern Cyprus at affordable rates. In almost every city of Northern Cyprus there is a large selection of kindergartens, schools and universities, where education is conducted in foreign languages, both English and Turkish. In most schools in North Cyprus a child can start learning without the knowledge of a foreign language and universities prior to the start of the education offer semiannual or annual courses of language learning, whether it is Turkish or English or even both.

In kindergartens in North Cyprus the child will be treated with warmth and care, regardless of whether it is public or private institution. Rates for private preschools vary depending on how much time the child spends in kindergarten; many kindergartens offer six day care where children can be left on Saturday for an additional fee. Northern Cyprus has both English and Turkish kindergartens in all the areas.

Children that attand English schools still have a chance to learn Turkish as they are in the same class with local children which speak Turkish. All Turkish kindergartens have a classes of English. Cyprus insurance and financial consultant Insurance. Cyprus finance manager at Hilton Park Nicosia Hospitality. Cyprus Financial at Hilton Hospitality. Cyprus Gk Design. Cyprus Telecommunications. Cyprus warder at central prison of cyprus Government Relations.

Cyprus Professional. Cyprus Owner, Filkost access. Cyprus manager at plantruck ltd Construction. Cyprus mr at cyprus Education Management. Cyprus Independent Retail Professional Retail. Cyprus na at na Computer Hardware. Cyprus restaurant Restaurants. Cyprus director at C. Cyprus retired senior geologist GSD and Hon.

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