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Geography of Northern Cyprus

The island of Cyprus is situated in Eastern Mediterranean. Its neighbouring countries at its nearest coastal points are Turkey 40 miles north, Syria 60 miles east, Lebanon 108 miles south-east, Israel 180 miles south-east and Egypt 230 miles south. Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. It is smaller than Sicily and Sardinia and larger than Corsica and Crete. The area of the whole island is 3,584 square miles (or 9250 sq. kilometres).

Cyprus has been divided into two autonomous states since the year of 1974. This came about by virtue of the linguistic and cultural differences , and as a result of communal friction and fighting which lasted for 11 years. Greek Cypriots occupy the southern part and the Turkish Cypriots occupy the northern part of Cyprus. A boundary known as the`Green Line` which runs through the city of Nicosia, the capital of both South and North Cyprus separates the two states. North Cyprus is about 100 miles long, 40 miles across at its widest point and has a total area of 1,357 sq. miles or nearly a third of the whole of the island.

The geography of North Cyprus is characterised by a unique blend of mountain ranges, plains and beaches. The Kyrenia Range, with its magnificent jagged limestone peaks, the highest of which is Mount Selvili at 3,357 ft. runs along most of the north coastline to form a startling backdrop. To the east of the island the mountain range loses height as it extends along the narrow peninsula known as Karpas or `The Panhandle`. Along this one finds the best beaches in Cyprus, where there are miles of empty bays with pure white sand. To the south of the Kyrenia range lie the plains of Mesaria. Here, is situated the divided Capital Nicosia (Lefkosa in Turkish). Other major centres are Guzelyurt in the west of North Cyprus where most of the citrus produce comes from , the resort town of Kyrenia (Girne) on the northern coast, and the second resort town of Famagusta (Gazimagosa) situated in the east.

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