Cyprus has had many names, but the name we use now is believed to have come from the word copper of which there was, and possibly still is, an abundance of on the island. An alternative theory is that its name comes from the word Kypros (the Greek for henna) of which there was also abundance. No one knows for sure.
Revered as the unspoiled jewel of the Mediterranean, Northern Cyprus has always exuded a lazy charm that draws the visitor to its shores without even trying. With its miles of golden sands on the endless beaches of Karpaz, the generosity of the Turkish Cypriot people and the abundant selection of fresh foods, this part of the island is a haven for those who want to enjoy a serene yet better, quality of life.
A typical Mediterranean climate with long, hot summers and relatively cool, short winters, the island can boast over 300 days of sunshine a year. The sea temperature is rarely below 16oC and rises to 28- 30oC during the summer months.
Lefkoşa is the capital city of North Cyprus and also the centre of the administrative district. In the old city, beautiful examples of Gothic and Ottoman architecture abound – Selimiye Mosque, The Dervish Pasha Mansion and the Museum of Whirling Dervishes to name but a few.
The two main reasons for this amazing diversity are, firstly, that Cyprus was not affected by the last ice-age (which wiped out many species from areas further north), and secondly, that Cyprus forms a resting and nesting station for birds migrating between Africa and Eastern Europe.
1) St. Sophia Cathedral (Selimiye Mosque): This is the earliest and perhaps the finest of the Lusignan churches, built by French architects and Queen Alix of Champagne (Hugh I's wife) in the same style as Chartres and Rouen Cathedrals in France. Following the Ottoman conquest in the 16th century, it was transformed into a mosque with the addition of two minarets.
2) Mevlana Tekke: It is immediately inside the Girne Kapisi (Kyrenia Gate). Built in the 18th century as a cloister of Dervish brotherhood, it houses an ethnographical museum.
3) Buyuk Han and Kumarcilar Hani: These are magnificentexamples of Ottoman architecture.
4) Dervish Pasha Konagi (Mansion): A beautiful Ottoman house, transformed into a museum, recently renovated to its former glory.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus can be reached by air and by sea. You may choose the most convenient way for you.
Although there are no direct flights to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, travelling to the northern part of the island is no longer a problem. Turkish Airlines, Atlas Jet and Pegasus Airlines provide scheduled flights to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from all international airports worldwide via Turkey. Besides, there are charter flights to Turkish Cyprus.
The newly refurbished Ercan Airport, (pronounced airjan), situated approx 25 minutes drive from Kyrenia, handles the bulk of the tourist traffic, whilst Gecitkale serves as a back-up airport. Daily flights from many mainland Turkish cities, as well as flights from Europe, supply the majority of the visitors to the island.
Airlines flying to North Cyprus are Cyprus Turkish Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Onur Air. No visa is required to enter North Cyprus and if you prefer not to have your passport stamped when entering the country, you can have a blank piece of paper stamped.
Various airlines also fly to Larnaca in the South. A taxi fare will cost @ £50 each way to and from Kyrenia.
Cypriot cuisine has been influenced by different cultures throuhout history. Therefore there isn t any dish, which we would call Cypriot only. However with little variations from their originals Cypriots have developed quite tasty dishes. Each dish has a peculiar taste and cooking and presentation reflects the character of the people of Cyprus. Molhiya Arab in origin, has developed completely, appealing to Cypriot tasta both in preparation, taste and presentation. Some dishes even vary from region to region in name, preparation and taste. North Cyprus is fascinating and appealing to people who eat well and enjoy eating. A great variety of vegetable dishes, grills, pastry, fish, soups, kebabs, lahmacun, pides are to name but a few. A big list of mezes, sweets, cakes, eaten either as starters or as afters can be named. In addition to local cuisine Chinese, Italian, French and Indian foods are well represented in various restaurants.
All types of banking services are on offer in Northern Cyprus . A number of local, Turkish and international banks all provide banking facilities and services in the key towns of Lefkosa , Kyrenia and Famagusta .
Banking hours change between summer and winter however the large number of ATM machines available, ensure that cash withdrawal can be made 24hrs a day.
Northern Cyprus local currency is the Turkish Lira however most supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and petrol stations are willing to exchange foreign currency using exchange rates quoted in the local newspapers. UK sterling, EU euros, Cyprus pounds are all readily accepted.