Gothic St Nicholas Cathedral (now Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque)
Northern Cyprus is a self-governed republic territory located in the north and eastern side of the Cyprus Island and is presently the only nation that recognizes the TRNC. The Turkish ruled region is dunked in history and has been the center of a gamut of ethnic clashes. Here is a comprehensive guide of the history, features, attractions and accommodation in this beautiful historical region.
In 1960 Cyprus attained freedom from the British and instated a constitution that guaranteed a clause of division of power between the Greek majority and the minority Turkish community. 1974 witnessed a violent clash between the Greeks and the Turks with complete support from the government of Greece and Turkey. The combat resulted in Turkey gaining power over a few portions of the northern and eastern faction of Cyprus. In 1983, the Turkish ruled region self-proclaimed and titled itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Due to an active intervention by the United Nations peace-keeping forces and the European Union, the region is relatively free of the erstwhile hostilities.
Located at about 10 minutes from the heart of Kyrenia, Bellapais is a beautiful town in Northern Cyprus that is famous for its artistic ancient monasteries, historic ruins and dramatic Gothic arches. The imposing stone walls of the marvelous architectural structures are also worth viewing. The town’s old quarter with charming medieval homes and old narrow by lanes make for a good walk to discover the erstwhile magnificence of Bellapis.
St Hilarion Castle is a huge castle complex sandwiched between Kyrenia and Nicosia. The majestic and well-preserved structure is said to have been the inspiration behind the fairytale castle in Disneyland. This is one of the three most ingeniously protected heritage castles of Northern Cyprus. The Selimiye Mosque located in Nicosia is a towering ‘mosque meets cathedral’ structure that was built in the early 13 th century. Two minarets were added to the glorious cathedral to transform it into a mosque in the 16 th century.
Kyrenia is one of the most popular tourist regions of Northern Cyprus and features a plethora of things to do and see. Start with the captivating Kyrenia Castle built in the 7 th century by the Byzantines. The attraction has rich relics of several landmark historical events and has doubled up as a prison used by the British during their colonial rule. There is also a fascinating Shipwreck Museum that nestles several destroyed wooden ships dated as old as 306 BC. Visit the pristine beaches of Kyrenia and go scuba diving or take an orchid walk and discover the floral wonders on the region.
There are abundant accommodation options in Northern Cyprus ranging from five star hotels, luxury resorts and boutique properties to economy and low budget guest houses and hostels. Some of the best options are in Kyrenia, though the other towns also offer decent stay choices. Acapulco Beach Club Hotel is nestled on a white sandy beach of Kyrenia. Malpas Hotel is a luxury 5 star property in Kyrenia. Colony Hotel and British Hotel are other good accommodation options in the region.
Northern Cyprus is a historically and culturally gifted region that sports its ethnic beauty with great élan despite a tumulus past.
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