luckily has more to offer than its sun and sea, natural beauties and
historic sites. One surprising attraction is the Northern Cyprus
herbarium, which charms lovers of our wild flowers as well as providing a
research centre for botanists. Most people can confidently name the more
showy blooms in the countryside; shepherds and foresters know dozens more.
But how many of those seventeen North Cyprus "endemics", found nowhere
else in the world, would you recognise? It was to fill this need that the
collection of pressed and labelled plants originally made by the resident
English botanist Deryck Viney in the course of writing his illustrated
Flora of the country was adopted by The Forestry Department and formally
opened to the public, on 9.11.1989. Since then it has expanded to include
examples of nearly all the 1,250 native plants species. And for the
guidance of visitors it has special displays of flower photographs,
specimens of all those seventeen "endemics", photographs of the oldest and
biggest trees, and a separate collections of bulky fruits. The herbarium
is housed in the ALEVKAYA Forest Station on the mountain ridge between
Esentepe and Degirmenlik. It can be approached either by mountain road or
by a lower tarmac road or by coastal road through Karaagaç or Esentepe.
Via the mountain road coming from Girne, drive past the Besparmak mountain
and on top of the hill make a left turn to ALEVKAYA past the quarry. This
is a roughly 9 km. drive along a narrow road but the views make this route
well worthwhile. The other route takes the road, further down the hill,
signposted to ALEVKAYA. You can also reach the Herbarium via the northern
coastal road by turning south either at Karaagaç or Esentepe.