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Places to Visit in North Cyprus


Enkomi (Alasia)

The antique city of Enkomi, also known as Alasia, situated close to the present day Enkomi (Tuzla) village, dates back to the 2000s B. C.. The excavations have revealed that the city was under the influence of Egypt first, and Mycenae later, and that it was surrounded with walls, and the dead were buried under the floors of the houses with their death presents. It is observed that the grate plan was applied to the city and that writing was first used here.

The bronze "Horned God Statue" which seems to be under strong Hittite influence, and considered to be a cult statue was found in this district. A lot of things made of bronze and residues of copper indicating the existence of copper workshops have also been uncovered. Enkomi used to be a harbour town. The region was abandoned never to be used again, when the Pedios River (Kanlidere) flowing by the city filled the harbour with alluvion, the earthquakes affected the place negatively and the Akas started posing a continuous threat after the 12th century.

Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque

The building which was constructed between the years 1298-1312 in the Lusignan period is one of the most beautiful Gothic structures of the Mediterranean region. The Lusignan kings would be inaugurated as the King of Cyprus at the St. Sophia Cathedral in Nicosia first, and following this they would be crowned as the King of Jerusalem at the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Famagusta. These ceremonies continued to be held until 1571 when the cathedral was turned into a mosque by the Ottoman Turks. The architecture of the western front of the building has been influenced by the architecture of the Reims Cathedral. It has an unparalleled window with Gothic style tracery. The 16th century Venetian gallery in the courtyard is today used as a reservoir for ablutions.

A Venetian insignia can be seen above the circular windows at the entrance. The relief ornamented with animal figures is thought to have been brought from a temple in Salamis. The apsis of the cathedral is in the Eastern style and is composed of three parts as in most Cyprus churches. The windows in the top part have been well preserved. There are two chapels at the side. The cumbez tree in front -a tropical fig tree- is a rare tree in the north of the island.

Latin St. George Church

Constructed in the late 13th century, the church is one of the beautiful examples of the Gothic style of architecture. Material from the Salamis ruins was used in its construction. It is thought to have been modelled on the St. Chapelle church in Paris. It has a nave with five sections and a chancel. What has survived throughout the years is this chancel and the northern wall. The wide, tall windows once had Gothic traceries. That the church had been constructed before the city-walls is evident from the rampart like structure of the building.

Nitovikla Castle

The castle the remains of which are on a hill close to the sea is thought to have been constructed for the purpose of defending the region against raids from the sea in the Middle Bronze Age. The war between Hittite and Egypt in this period had affected Cyprus as well. The architecture of the castle resembles the styles of those constructed by the Hittites in Anatolia. It is four sided and the entrance and the walls have been fortified with towers. Big ashlars have been used in its construction. It has a courtyard in the middle.

Othello's Tower

This citadel was built in the 12th century during the Lusignan period, to protect the harbour. The Sea Gate on, in this side, along with the Land Gate were the two major entrances of walled Famagusta. The citadel was originally surrounded with a moat. In 1492 Venetians transformed it into an artillery stronghold making alterations similar to those at Kyrenia castle. The marble panel above the entrance shows the winged lion of Venice, and includes the name of Nicolo Foscarini who remodelled the tower. It is thought that when Leonardo da Vinci visited Cyprus in 1481 he advised the Venetians on the design of the defences of Famagusta. The tower of citadel consists of towers and corridors leading to artillery chambers. On one side its large courtyard is the refectory and above it apartment, both dating back to the Lusignan period. The present day name of the tower came into use during the British colonial period. In his famous tragedy, where the setting is a" seaport in Cyprus" Shakespeare makes Othello a Moor. He must have heard of the Venetian governor of the island, Christophoro Moor whose surname means "moor". In the courtyard of the citadel there are some Ottoman and Spanish cannons and their iron balls. The stone balls were for catapults. The surviving walls and bastions of Famagusta are from the Venetian period. On the land side the city was protected by the squat Martinengo Bastion. This was named after the Venetian commander Count Heracles Martinengo. In the Ravelin, which protected the Land Gate, in addition to artillery chambers a chapel is encountered. The large round tower, which was originally a Venetian arsenal on the sea side is named after Dyamboulat, the Turkish commander by whose bravery the Bastion was captured.


Excavations have shown that the history of Salamis goes back to the 1st century BC. Archaeologists tend to believe that the first inhabitants of the town came here from Enkomi after the earthquake of 1075 BC. Traces of a necropolis and a harbour of this early period have been located. When the 'Dark Ages' of the Mediterranean world came to an end in about the 8th century BC, Salamis appeared on the historical scene as an important trading centre. The necropolis which yielded the Royal Tombs belongs to this period and gives an idea about the richness of the city during the era. The first coins were minted in the 6th century BC. Also, in the inscriptions dating from this period the name of Salamis is encountered for the first time. In this century, together with Syria and Anatolia, the island went under the rule of the Achamenid Persian Empire which lasted until the march of Alexander the Great into Asia Minor. Following the unexpected death of Alexander the Great near Babylon in 323 BC, his generals divided the lands of the Hellenistic Empire and Cyprus fell to the share of Ptolemy who established his kingdom in Egypt. During the Hellenistic and the Roman era Salamis, together with Alexandria, Antioch-on-the-Orontes, Ephesus, Pergamum and Athens, received its share of the wealth of the period and once again became an important trading centre between the worlds surrounding the Mediterranean. This prosperous period continued into the Roman era. Most of the ruins unearthed in excavations date from this recent history of the city. The development of Salamis was often interrupted by earthquakes, especially in the 1st and 4th centuries AD. Following the earthquakes, the Byzantine emperor Constantius II (337-361 AD)rebuilt the city and renamed it Constantia. However, by this time the harbour was already silted up and more natural catastrophes and the raids of the Arab pirates brought its end. In 648 after another raid the last
inhabitants moved to Arsinoe which was later to become Famagusta.

This large complex began with a court (1) surrounded with columned arcades on its four sides. It served as an exercising ground. During the reign of Augustus (31 BC - 14 AD) a stone basin with the statue of the emperor occupied its centre. Some of its columns, capitals and bases originally belonged to the theatre and were brought here after the earthquakes of the 4th century. In one corner there were latrines (3) for 44 people. Another set of latrines (11) existed on the north side of the baths. Two swimming pools (5) occupied the two ends of the eastern colonnade (4). These were decorated with marble statues. The first part of the baths consisted of two octagonal cold rooms (6), between which was the central sweating room (7). On the south wall of the latter a fresco piece surviving from the 3rd century AD shows Hylas - the boy friend of Heracles who gets lost in Mysia on the way to Colchis to bring the Golden Fleece - as he refuses the water nymphs. The hot water baths (8) were flanked by two more sweat rooms (9). In the southern one there are mosaic fragments; one originally represented Leto's children Apollo and Artemis killing Niobe's children with arrows. The latter who has fourteen children belittles Leto for having only two. The second mosaic shows Leda, the future mother of Helen, and Zeus, disguised as a swan with the river god Eurotas. Two more mosaic fragments which do not feature figures have survived in the north wall of the hot room and in the northern sweat room. The stoking room (10) was situated to the north of the complex.

The present day ruins of the theatre date from the time of Augustus. Its auditorium originally consisted of 50 rows of seats and held over 15,000 spectators. Its orchestra bore an altar dedicated to Dionysus and two bases dedicated to Marcus Aurelius Commodus, and Caesar Constantius and Caesar Maximianus. The performances took place on the raised stage whose background was decorated with statues. After it was destroyed by earthquakes in the 4th century the theatre was never rebuilt and served as a source of building material for other constructions.

This two-storey villa was made of an apsidal reception hall and a central inner courtyard with a columned portico. The living quarters were grouped in the inner courtyard. After the city was abandoned this building was used as an oil mill. The large stone which was used to crush olives (in the reception hall), mill stones and the straining device have survived.

This basilica was built in the 4th century and consisted of a courtyard surrounded with columns which contained a well for ablution, and a nave with aisles. It ended with a triple apse. The throne of the bishop and the seats of the clergy were situated in the central apse. At the back of the apse there was another group of buildings with a courtyard. These seem to have included Bathing facilities, and a sweating room. One of the rooms has revealed a beautiful opus sectile mosaic floor.

This was the largest basilica in Cyprus and was built as the metropolitan church of Salamis during the office of Bishop Epiphanios (386-403 AD) whose tomb still lies encased in marble in front of the southern apse. The edifice consisted of a nave separated from its aisles by two rows of 14 columns with Corinthian capitals. It ended with a triple-arched semi-circular apse where there were seats for the bishop and clergy. The rooms on each side of the apse were used for dressing and storing liturgical apparatus. Hypocaust remains in the baptistery show that the initiates received their baptism in winter months with warm water. The church was destroyed in the 7th century during the Arab raids. The ruins at the back of the southern apse belong to a smaller church built after the original one was destroyed.

This was the meeting place and market of Salamis. Its origins go back to the Hellenistic period. On two sides it was lined with columned arcades which protected the shoppers from heat in summer and rain in winter. Only one of the columns has survived to the present day. Its courtyard contained temples dedicated to gods related to commerce and was decorated with statues and fountains.

The present day ruins belong to the Roman period temple which was built on an earlier Hellenistic one. The shrine had the right to grant asylum and this fact was confirmed by Augustus in 22 BC. During excavations inscriptions in honour of Livia, Augustus' consort, and the Olympian Zeus were discovered.

A system of earthen pipes and conduits on a 50 kilometre aqueduct brought water to the city from Kyhrea. This Roman period water system continued to function till the 7th century. The walls and the remains of 36 square pillars of the largest of the cisterns where this water was collected have survived. In addition to the pillars its ceiling was supported by massive corbels projecting from its longer walls. Excavations at floor level have brought to light an exit conduit .

Sinan Pasa Mosque (St. Peter & St. Paul Church)

The inscription on the wall indicating that the church was constructed by a Syrian merchant named Simone Nostrano is thought to have been due to misinformation, as it is now known that the church had been built by a Nestorian Christian named Simon. It has survived the 1571 bombardment because of its strong structure. The North entrance with its unequalled masonry is thought to have been transferred from another place. The interior of the building is quite plain; the ceiling resting on pillars with a flat capital. After conquering the island the Ottomans started to use the church as a mosque.

St. Francis Chusrch

This church is part of a monastery built by the monks of the Franciscan order in the first decade of the fourteenth century. Henry II, the King of Cyprus, contributed to the construction of the building. It comprises a nave with three sections leading to a beautiful chancel.

The Akkule Mosque

The Akkule Mosque made from hewn stone, is situated between the old and new doors to the city walls, at the Land Gate of the original Arch of (Ravelin - Akkule) in Famagusta. In the past an Ottoman fountain was situated north-east of the mosque. The typical Ottoman building made of hewn stone has fortified Venetian walls facing south - east and south - west and was built in 1618/19. Crooked and inclined living areas came about due to the planning and building of the fortified Venetian walls. There are windows on the north-east and north-west outer walls with their upper and lower parts plastered with plaster of paris. The lower rectangular windows have frontlet with pointed stone arches the upper windows which are smaller in size also have pointed arches. The inside of the plaster of paris windows are decorated with raised diamond shapes, and have double wooden wings. There is an original stone chancel used to empty the water from the outer side of the ceiling. There is a compressed, arched, double winged entrance door at the north-western wall of the mosque. The wooden wings of the door also have the raised diamond decoration of the inside windows' wings. Above the door there is a marble panel with a verse of the Koran dated 1618-19. There is an arch holding the flat roof of the mosque which stretches from east to west. On the south-eastern wall of the mosque, there is a downward hanging riche upon which sitting appears. The original filing on the floor of the mosque, was replaced during restoration with diamond shaped mosque.

The Canbulat Tomb & Museum

Canbulat, the Bey (a provincial governor in the Ottoman empire) of Kilis, was included in the Ottoman forces that were going to conquer Cyprus. As he was extremely successful during the capture of Nicosia, he was appointed to the Ottoman army laying siege to Famagusta along with Iskender Pasha and Deniz Pasha. As he is believed to have been killed in the vicinity of the Arsenal Bastion his tomb is under this bastion. The building was restored in 1968 and the front section was turned into an ethnographic and archaeological museum.



The building was constructed in the 12th century as a Byzantine church (The St. Nicholas Church). It was later enlarged by some Gothic annexes built by the Lusignans. After some more changes in the Venetian period, the building was given to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis. The building with its different architectural styles is of a hybrid nature. In the Ottoman period, it served as a depot and a market where mostly textile products were sold. The masonry on its northern entrance resembles the masonry on the entrance of the St. Sophia Cathedral.

Kumarc?lar Khan (The Gambler's Inn)

This small building, asymmetrical in plan, of hewn stone, is on Asmaalti Square in Nicosia, to the north-east of the Buyuk Khan. This inn, too, is typical of an Ottoman inner-city commercial inn. Its exact date is uncertain but it is believed to have been built in the 17th century. It is now privately owned. In the past the Gamblers' Inn was also known as the Himarcilar or Kemancilar (violinists' or Fiddlers' Inn) inn. It is two-storeyed, ranged around a courtyard garden and entered through an arched passage from Asmaalti Square. The main gate is not original and is a late repair. There is a second monumental carved gate inside the passage which is clearly Medieval and not of the Ottoman period, so one concludes that the inn stands on the foundations of a Medieval structure. The irregularly-shaped inner court is surrounded by rooms leading off arcades or galleries on both floors. Though the inn had originally approximately 52 rooms, the number at the present day is 44. On the ground level the galleries have stone floors and wooden beams, with pointed arched opening seated on square shafts. Segmental arched doors lead into the inner rooms. Each room has an embrasure window opening externally. A modern stair in the south-east of the courtyard leads to the upper storey, where the floor is marble. The prentice roof on wooden rafters is covered by ridge tiles. Unlike the lower gallery, the upper one has no arches but instead round columns on which the roof joists are seated. The rooms leading off the galleries have barrel vaults and segmental arched doorways. In some rooms there are fireplaces. Here too the floors are marble, and the outer windows are rectangular. Columns and arches on both floors of the wing to the south are not original, being the result of later repairs. Nor is the western front in an indiscriminate manner, the entrance doors from the courtyard at ground level were closed and external openings were substituted. In spite of these many alterations and the resulting losses, the inn is still a leading example of an old Turkish monument, both in scale and in architecture.

Lusignan House

The mansion from the 15th century, which is situated within the Lefkosa moat (ramparts), has survived to this day and attracts attention by its Gothic arch entrance door with its Lusignan era coat-of-arms as well as the Ottoman era addition of a "kosk" and decorated wooden ceilings. The mansion which has a typical inner courtyard characteristic was built from cut stone and is 2-storied with a roof but the added-on "kosk" (kiosk style) was constructed from lath and plaster. The upstairs wooden veranda is reached from the ground floor round-stone pillared veranda by a particular stone stairs. The remains of the stone arches (later on filled in), on the east wall of the rectangularly planned inner courtyards, gives the impression that the building had an eastward extension or connection. The medieval buildings researcher Camille Enlart speaks about this mansion in his book "Gothic Art and Renaissance in Cyprus". The Austrian Archduke Louis Salvator who visited the island in 1873, in his book, "Lefkosia, The Capital of Cyprus" writes that a Turkish family named "Kalorio Al Efendi" was using this mansion. In 1958, the mansion, which had been used by the Russian Classen family as residence and a weaving workshop, had been bequeathed by them to the Cyprus Government. The mansion, which was emptied (by the local authorities) in the 1980's, had, until then, been partitioned and left for the use of refugees. After the Antiquities and Museums Department's two years arduous restoration work, in December 1997 the mansion will be handed over to the coming generations for the revival of the local weaving craft and for the use of social activities. In the mansion, which has been furnished with authentic furniture of the Lusignan and Ottoman periods, there is also a room for giving service to the visitors.

Nicosia City-Walls

In 1567, just before the conquest of Cyprus by the Ottomans, the Venetians started to build new walls in place of the old Lusignan walls ringing the city, so as to be able to defend Nicosia. A famous Venetian engineer named Guilio Savorgnano drew the plans of the walls. The walls have a circumference of three miles, eleven bastions each like a castle, and three gates. The walls consisted of earth ramparts with a stone facing. The names of the gates were: "Porta Del Proveditore - The Kyrenia Gate" in the North, "Porta Guiliana - The Famagusta Gate" in the East, and "Porta Domenica - The Paphos Gate" in the West. In order to build the walls, the Venetians demolished the houses, palaces, monasteries and churches outside the three-mile circumference of the city and used their stone in the construction of the walls. The bastions were named after the nobilities and other people who contributed to the construction of the walls (Rochas, Loredano, Barbaro). The Venetians were defeated by the Ottomans before they had time to finish the construction of the walls.

The Dervis Pasa Mansion

The owner of this two storey mansion built in the 19th century was Dervish Pasha, the publisher of "Zaman" – the first Turkish newspaper in Cyprus. The mansion is in the Arap Ahmet region of Nicosia: this is the region of the walled city which has preserved the fabric of the historical environment most intensely. The mansion has two entrances. On the main entrance, the year 1219 of the Muslim Calendar (1807) is visible. The ground floor has been constructed of stone and the upper floor of sundried brick. The year 1869 is visible on the ornamented ceiling of the main room which is a later addition to the building. The mansion has an ‘L’ shape with a large inner courtyard. The rooms on the ground floor open to terraced pavilions ringing the inner courtyard. A wooden staircase supported by the water reservoir in the courtyard leads to the upper floor where all the doors open to a covered porch. After the restoration work between 1978-88, the mansion was opened as a ‘museum-house’ or a museum of ethnography on 21 March 1988. It includes a main-room, a bride-room, a dining-room, and a section where items of daily use are being exhibited.


Ancient Graveyard Of Girne (Baldoken Graveyard)

When Ottomans conquered Cyprus in 1571, the land, today known as "Islam Graveyard" outside from the castle of Girne, was reserved as "Cemetery for soldiers" in the first years of the Ottoman era. It was used for the same purpose until the end of 17th century. Cistern, water canals and architectural tombs were built in it. When the cemetery for soldiers began to accept non-soldiers, the name was changed to Islam Graveyard. This is known also as "Graveyard of Forlorn". St Andrew British Church, District Club and Tennis Court were built beside this graveyard. Until recent years, this graveyard was known as Baldoken Graveyard. It was restored by the Foundations Office in 1995.

Antiphonits Church

It's known that this church was used to be seed of an important monastery. Its dome is placed on eight round columns which form an irregular octagon. The part called as bema and the rest of the church were tried to be separated by keeping two of the columns separated from the walls. Considering its features this building is one of the finest of its kind in Cyprus which remained till today. The narthex part with barrel vaults on the west and the cloister arrangements on the south were added in 14th or 15th centuries. The cloister arrangement on the south is an unique example of Gothic stone work. However, nothing left behind from the wooden upper-cover and the stone parapet made between the columns. Antiphonitis means "Replying Christ". The building in its original form was fully covered with wall paints (Frescos) instead of narthex. Most of these frescos have unfortunately disappeared. The Frescos can be dated in two different periods: 12th or 13th centuries and 14th or 15th centuries. Besides the Biblical themes, the frescos also describe the Saints. Moreover, although they couldn't survive till today, it's known that themes from the Old Testament were also described. Babtise of Christ, Birth of Mary, St. Symeon Stylites are among the wall paints which remained till today.

Bellapais Abbey

The present day name is the corrupt form of the Abbaye de la Paix' or the Abbey of Peace. The building is regarded as a masterpiece of Gothic art, and the most beautiful Gothic building in the Near East. The first monks who were known to have settled here were Augustinians who had to flee from Jerusalem when the city fell to Selahaddin Eyyubi in 1187. It is known that the original construction was built between 1198-1205, and a large part of the present day complex was constructed during the rule of French King Hugh III (1267-1284). The cloisters and the refectory were built during the reign of Hugh IV (1324-1359). Following the Ottoman conquest the monks were turned out and the building was given to the Greek Orthodox Church. The monastery begins with a gate, whose tower is a later addition, and a forecourt. The church which is situated on one side of the courtyard is the best preserved part of the monument and dates from the 13th century. The murals which have survived above its facade are thought to be from the 15th century. The forecourt leads to cloisters of 18 arches. Under one of the northern arches there are two Roman sarcophagi which once served as lavabo. The door being the sarcophagus leads to the refectory of the monks. The marble lintel above the door contains the set of coats of armas of the royal quarterings of Cyprus, Jerusalem and the Lusignans. This is an exquisite sample of Gothic architecture and the finest room in the monastery. The room contains a pulpit for addressing the monks during their meals. Six windows in the north wall which illuminate the room are reinforced by a rose window in the eastern wall. A door in the western wall leads to the kitchen and cellar built under the refectory. The rooms between the refectory and kitchen are thought to have once served as lavatories. The east side of the Inner courtyard was occupied by the chapter house and work rooms (undercroft). The first of these functioned as the administration office of the abbey and retains its interesting Gothic stone carving: a man with a double ladder on his back, another man represented between two sirens, a woman reading, two beasts attacking a man, a woman with a rosary, a monkey and a cat in the foliage of a pear tree under which a man holding a shield is seen, and a monk wearing a cloak. The column standing at its centre is thought to have come from an early Byzantine church. The rooms of the monks occupied the second floor above this section. A Pair of stairs on the south of the inner courtyard lead to the treasury room in the North-west corner of the monastery.

Saint Hilarion Castle

The castle is named after St. Hilarion, a hermit monk who fled from persecution in the Holy Land and lived and died in a cave on the mountain. Later in the 10th century the Byzantines built a church and monastery here. Along with Kantara and Buffavento, St. Hilarion Castle was originally built as a watch tower to give warning of approaching Arab pirates who launched a continuous series of raids on Cyprus and the coasts of Anatolia from the 7th to the 10th centuries. Some 400 years after it was first built, the castle became a place of refuge and also a summer residence for the Lusignans. When the Venetians captured Cyprus 1489, they relied on Kyrenia, Nicosia and Famagusta for the defence of the island and St. Hilarion was neglected and fell into oblivion. The castle consisted of three wards on different altitudes, each with its cisterns and storage rooms. The first and lowest of these was used to accommodate the garrison and horses. It began with a barbican and its main gate and other walls, which are reinforced by horseshoe-shaped towers, were built originally by the Byzantines in the 11th century. The ruins of the stables where the animals were kept and the water cisterns an invaluable water source during the long medieval sieges- have survived to the present day. The entrance of the main gateway of the middle castle, which consisted of a church, Belvedere barrack rooms and a four-storey royal apartment, was closed with a drawbridge. From the church of St. Hilarion its apse has survived. The refectory which served as the - dining hall for the Lusignan nobles is the largest room of the surviving ruins. When the weather is clear enough, Kyrenia range and the Mediterranean and even the snow-capped Taurus mountains of Anatolia some 100 km north are visible. Beyond the royal apartments there is a large water tank to collect the winter rain. After a steep windy climb access to the upper castle is gained by a Lusignan archway guarded by a tower. The courtyard of the upper castle rests under the natural protection of the twin summits, some 730 m above the sea. These two peaks have given the mountain its first name Didymos (Greek for "twin"), and from which the Crusaders derived the corrupted name of Dieu d'Amour. Two cisterns sunk into the rocky courtyard supplied water to the upper castle. The rooms on the east side served as kitchens and waiting rooms. The royal apartments occupied the western side of the Courtyard. From the gallery, which was originally on a basement, two Gothic tracery windows, one with two stone windows seats on either side, and thus known as the "Queen's Window", have survived. The window offers a beautiful view of the village of Karmi. A set of rough steps leads to the uppermost section of the castle known as the Tower of Prince John. Tradition has it that Prince John of Antioch, having been convinced that they were plotting against him threw his Bulgarian bodyguards to their death.

Saint Hilarion Castle

The castle of Girne, one of the most impressive and powered castles to have survived since the middle ages until today, was supposed to be built to protect the city from pirates in the 7th century. The remnants left from the Roman age show that the history of Girne castle harks back to older times. Written findings mention the Girne castle, and that the King Richard III of England had captured the island during the Crusades in 1911. It is known that the castle of Girne had been subjected to changes during the sovereignty term of French Luzinyen lasting for 300 years. The castle was heavily demolished by the attack of Genovese' in 1373. The Venetians rebuilt the castle in order to gain protection from the Ottoman fires. New city walls and round towers were added during this term. When the castle was finished, the church of Saint George that was used by Knights Templar and was supposedly built in 1100, was within the city walls. The castle is reached by a marrow bridge built on a deep ditch, which was used as an inner port filled with water until the years of 1400. The figures of three lions standing on their back paws on the vault of the inner door were made by Luziniens. The tomb is seen when entered through the door belonging to Algerian, Sadik Pasa, Ottoman Admiral who died during the capture of Cyprus in 1570. Today the Venetian Tower (in the southwest), Lusinien Tower (in the Northwest), and the prisons of Lusinian period were restored as animations. Also, Samic, compositions belonging to Vrysi Neolithic village taking place 10 km far in the east of Girne, findings, animations of tombs found in Kirni village during Early and Middle Bronze Age, and Sunk Ships Museum are all open as exhibitions.

The Church Of Arkhangelos (Icon Museum)

Arkhangelos Church, down in the historical yacht port, was built in 1860 and worth seeing. The tower that was added after the church was built is a sign point that can be seen from every part of Girne. Here is a museum that shows the many splendid icons that were collected from Girne and its environs.

The Kyrenia Museum Of Folk Art

The Kyrenia Museum of Folk Art situated on the Kyrenia Harbour road and was opened in 1974. It is a fine example of pre XVII. century buildings which have traditionally housed Cypriots. These buildings consisting of a ground floor and a upper floor have their main entrances opening to the harbour. These typical Cypriot houses contain many traditional Cypriot items. On the ground floor, there are items such as oil-mill, plough, agricultural instruments, large earthenware fan, and workbench which were used until recently but are not known by the younger generation. There is a room for a watchman on the stairway leading to the upper floor. The first room of the upper floor there are examples of especially chosen works and handy works (crochet work, materials embroidered with colourful, threads or silver threads, bedspreads, tables covers, head scarves, pillow cases, woollen socks, bowls etc..) from various areas of Cyprus, displayed in glass cabinets. The second room used as a kitchen contain water jugs, wooden mortars, wine bowls, ceramic bowls. There is a corner in the third and largest room which was used as a resting place. In the middle of the room, a wooden bed, a wooden cupboard, a cabinet containing various women's and men's clothes, raised wooden shelves with ceramic and metal cups displayed upon them. The third largest room has been arranged in this way. It is possible to see, clothes, chests, tables, chair, wall cupboards, doors and windows, in the all parts of the museum.

The Museum Of Public Arts

Within the historical yacht port of Girne, the house of the 18th century now serves as museum. Olive oil presses, primitive ploughs, cubes, a wooden threshing sled, agricultural tools, a loom for weaving, pulley wheels are exhibited in this museum. At the upstairs through wooden stairs from entrance hall, the ancient garments, table cloths, head scarfs, woollen socks, wedding dresses, carved trousseau chests, silver embroidery bed covers, cushions, bedsteads, wooden boards and window roll-down shutters are also exhibited.

The Church Of Arkhangelos (Icon Museum)

The sunk ship exhibited in the castle of Girne was built in 389 BC and was 80 years old. About 400 pieces Anphoras,29 basalt millstones, about 9000 pieces of almond were found in this sunk ship that was thought to be a cargo ship during Hellenistic ages after the death of Alexander. About 300 pieces of lead shows the ship was used for fishing. This sunk ship is about 1.5 km near Gime, at depth of 18 m and found by sponge fisherman in 1965. It was taken out of water by the experts of Pennsylvania University. It is 15 m in length, made of Aleppo pine. The wooden surface of the ship is coated with a strong lacquer, to protect against Mediterranean wood-boring maggot. The kitchen utensils, wooden spoons, olive bottle, glasses, saltcellars show the ship's crew was only four persons.

Palace Of Vouni

This 137 room palace was built on a hilltop by the Phoenician pro-Persian king of the neighbouring city Marion to watch over the pro-Greek city of Soli, following an unsuccessful revolt of the latter against the Persians in 498 BC. It was the headquarters of a garrison and consisted of state apartments, large storerooms and bathrooms. In 449 BC when the Persians were defeated and the Greek rule was established, the ruler of Marion was replaced by a pro-Greek prince and alterations were made and a second storey with walls made from mud bricks was added. The pro-Persian and pro-Greek histories of this royal residence lasted for some 70 years and after it was destroyed by the inhabitants of Soli in a fire in 380 BC it was never rebuilt. The entrance of the original palace of the first period was in the south-west. Here a porch led to the state apartments: a main room (I) and inner hall and on the two sides a series of connecting rooms (2&3). This section of the palace is thought to have had an official function. From here a broad stairway of seven steps led to columned court surrounded with rooms on three sides. Water to almost all the main rooms was supplied from the underground cisterns cut into the living rock of the mountain, where the winter rain was collected. The stone stele designed to hold a windlass over the cistern in this central courtyard has an unfinished Figure at its centre and is thought to have been brought from somewhere else. Some of storerooms (6) contain holes in which the amphorae were sunk.
In the North-west corner there is a water closet (7) beside another deep cistern. More storerooms (9) stood in the eastern corner. On this side also stood a hot bath (10), one of the earliest of its kind. When the Persian rule was replaced by that of the Greek, E1 was closed and a new entrance (E2) was built. The ramp (II), an angled vestibule (12), a stairway and an ante room (13) opening to the central courtyard were added. New storerooms (14) around a courtyard (15) were also built. During excavations a clay pot blackened by the fire which Destroyed Vouni, gold and silver bracelets, silver bowls, and hundreds of coins bearing stamps of Marion, Kition, Lapithos and Paphos were discovered. The small rock island of Petra tou Limniti visible from the palace has traces of a Neolithic settlement. At the top of the hill on which the palace was built and towards the south are the remains of a temple built for Athena in the third quarter of the 5th century BC. This sanctuary consisted of two successive courtyards and a sacred enclosure. Here traces of the holes in which the statues were secured have survived.


The origins of Soli are traced back to an Assyrian (700 BC) tribute list where it is referred to as Si-il-lu. It is also known that in 580 BC, King Philokypros moved his capital from Aepia to Si-il-lu on the advice of his mentor Solon, and renamed the town after the Athenian philosopher. In 498 BC along with most of the other city kingdoms of Cyprus, Soli also rose against its Persian masters and at the end of the war it was captured. Soli became a prosperous city during the Roman period. However by the 4th century its harbour was already silted up and the copper mines were closed. It was destroyed by Arab raids in the 7th century. On the acropolis, which occupied the top of the hill high above the theatre, there was a royal palace similar to the one of Vouni, thought to date from a slightly later period. In addition to silver and gold jewellery of the Hellenistic period, excavations have brought to light a marble statue of Aphrodite from the 1st century BC and a frieze representing the war of the Amazons from the 2nd century BC (Cyprus Museum - Greek sector). The so-called Fugger sarcophagus in the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna is also thought to have come from the necropolis of Soli. Excavations have also brought to light some Hellenistic ruins such as the remains of a colonnaded paved street which leads to an agora with a marble monumental fountain. Excavations have shown that a settlement was made here as early as the 11th century BC owing probably to the existence of a good water supply, fertile soil and a protected harbour, the nearby copper deposits and timber to smelt the copper.

Soli is known as the traditional place where St Mark received baptism and St Auxibius, a Roman who fled the city in the 1st century, was its first bishop. Its basilica was one of the earliest of its kind in Cyprus featuring its own individual characteristics. The first church of Soli is thought to have been built in the second half of the 4th century. This was a three aisled building of approximately 200 m length. It began with a triple portal which led into a vestibule which was followed by a colonnaded atrium with a fountain. A second triple, portal led into the narthex. Inside, twelve pairs of giant columns whose bases have survived separated the nave from the aisles. In the east the church ended with a triple apse. The tiers of the central apse were for the bishops and clergy. The floor of this first church was entirely laid with tesserae and opus sectile mosaics. A large part of these have survived to the present day. As is the case with the other churches of Cyprus, originally the mosaics were of geometric design. Gradually, animals and later opus sectile decoration - pavements made from small coloured stone tiles - were included in the repertoire. A goose-like swan surrounded with florals and four small dolphins in the floor of the nave catch one's attention. The Greek inscription in mosaic set in the apse reads "Christ save those who gave this mosaic". During the 5th and 6th centuries the building was enlarged. However, in the 7th century, it was razed to the ground. The church which was built on the ruins of the original one in the 12th century was smaller in size and occupied the eastern section.

The Roman theatre of Soli occupies the site of the original Greek theatre on the northern slope of a hill overlooking the sea below. The present theatre dates from the end of the 2nd or the beginning of the 3rd century AD. It has a capacity of some 4,000 spectators. Its stage building was of two storeys, covered with marble paneling and decorated with statues. Its semi-circular auditorium where the spectators sat was partly cut into the rock, and access to it as well as to the orchestra was gained through two side entrances. A low wall of limestone slabs separated the orchestra from the auditorium. The last surviving seats were carried to Port Said in the 19th century and used to rebuild the quaysides. At present this section is restored halfway. From the stage building only the platform on which it was built has survived. At the west of the theatre on a nearby hill traces of the temples dedicated to Isis and Aphrodite have been discovered. The famous torso of the Aphrodite of Soli in the Cyprus Museum- Greek sector was found here.

St. Mamas Monastery

Tradition has it that in the 12th century Mamas, a poor Cypriot hermit, refused to pay his taxes , and troops were sent to bring him to the capital for punishment. On the way, the party came across a lion about to kill a lamb. Mamas saved the lamb and taking it in his arms, rode the wild lion and entered the capital in this way. The Byzantine authorities were so impressed with what they saw, they released the hermit from his obligations and since then St. Mamas has been regarded as the protector of tax avoiders. All round the island there are 14 churches dedicated to St. Mamas. The Monastery of St. Mamas situated in Guzelyurt was built in the 18th century. Its side portals and the columns of the nave are the earlier Gothic church were built in the Lusignan period, and was built upon Byzantine ruins. It’s believed to be sided upon the tomb of St. Mamas. The upper part of the iconostasis, carved of wood and painted in blue and gold, is an exquisite example of late 16th century wood carving. Its lower part is carved of marble and features figs, grapes and acorns, and Venetian shields which once bore painted coats of arms. Its sarcophagus contains two holes from which a balm against eye and ear diseases and other illnesses oozes which also calmed stormy seas, bringing to mind the "sweating stones" in other Byzantine churches.

The Guzelyurt Museum (The Archaeology And Nature Museum)

The current museum building, used as the Metropolit building before the 1974 period, houses the cultural objects found throughout Cyprus and the area. The building was opened after the necessary restoration was completed. The Nature section situated on the lower floor displays a collection of died animals, consisting of birds, fist, snakes, foxes, lambs and tortoise etc. which are sued for educational purposes. The upper floor of the museum, houses the Archaeology Section the archaeological pieces are displayed in chronological order. In the corner of the first room, there is a display of material cultural remains belonging to the Neolithic era, the people the Neolithic era being the first known inhabitants of Cyprus. In this room there are also displays from the Bronze age (old ages, middle ages and late ages). In the second and third rooms there is an artificial display from the Tunba Tu Skuru settlement. To prevent damage to the partially excavated settlement site, North of the Ovroz river, the area has been closed to visitors. The remaining two rooms of the museum hold findings belonging to the Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantinian periods. The most interesting finding in the museum is the Efes Artemis sculpture, found by coincidence near the Salamis area.



A castle belonging to the town, rock tombs, a temple, and a harbour which is now full have been found as a result of excavations carried out in the region. The town was one of the six important towns of Cyprus in the 2nd century B.C.. There are three churches close to Aphendrika: Saint Georgios, Panaya Chrysiotissa and Panaya Asomatos. Saint Georgios is a single-domed church with a two-part apsis built in the 10th century. Panaya Chrysiotissa was constructed in the 6th century. It was renewed at the end of the 10th century as it had been destroyed as a result of Arab raids. The wooden ceiling was replaced with a tunnel-vaulted one. The church was destroyed once again during the middle ages and was reconstructed for the last time in the 16th century. The one in the best condition of these three churches is the Panaya Asomatos church built in the 6th century. This church too was reconstructed in the 10th century as it was destroyed during the Arab raids.
In the North-west corner there is a water closet (7) beside another deep cistern. More storerooms (9) stood in the eastern corner. On this side also stood a hot bath (10), one of the earliest of its kind. When the Persian rule was replaced by that of the Greek, E1 was closed and a new entrance (E2) was built. The ramp (II), an angled vestibule (12), a stairway and an ante room (13) opening to the central courtyard were added. New storerooms (14) around a courtyard (15) were also built. During excavations a clay pot blackened by the fire which Destroyed Vouni, gold and silver bracelets, silver bowls, and hundreds of coins bearing stamps of Marion, Kition, Lapithos and Paphos were discovered. The small rock island of Petra tou Limniti visible from the palace has traces of a Neolithic settlement. At the top of the hill on which the palace was built and towards the south are the remains of a temple built for Athena in the third quarter of the 5th century BC. This sanctuary consisted of two successive courtyards and a sacred enclosure. Here traces of the holes in which the statues were secured have survived.

Icon Museum Of Iskele

The main church of the village of Trikomo was built in XII. century on a single platform and a single dome, the side walls have indented arches. This type of Cypriot church can be seen from XII. century onwards. A northern vault and platform was added to the building in XV. Century, the additions were added at the later date. The church was completely resorted in 1804. The modern bell-tower with engraved marble panels situated in the north-east corner, was most probably taken from ab original iconanststen banister. Most of the XII. century wall paintings are presently being preserved, the paintings were restored in 1966, the upper parts of the vaults were replastered, the indents of the southern wall displaying paintings from XII. century were discovered in November 1967. After the restoration by the TRNC Department of Antiquities and Museums, the church was opened after "World Museum Day" an 23rd May 1991 under the tittle of Icon Museum of Iskele.

The Apostolos Andreas Monastery

The monastery, situated on the point known as the Cape of Saint Andrea, is dedicated to Saint Andrew (Apostle Andreas). Information about the saint whom the monastery has been named after comes from the holy books. As he was the first person to be called for induction to priesthood by Christ, his title was "O Protoklitos" meaning, "the one first called". The room under the modern church in which there are wells containing drinking water is thought to have been a chapel belonging to the old monastery buildings. On the bust in the courtyard of the monastery the monastery is stated to have been built by Pope Ionnis Oicoromus. Both Turks and Greeks consider the monastery a holy place; it is visited by many people for votive prayers. The contents of the monastery are also noteworthy.

The Aya Trias Basilica

The Basilica dates back to the 6th century A.D. Probably because it was destroyed in mid-7th century, a small church and some annexes were added to its southern flank. As these buildings were destroyed in the ninth and tenth centuries A.D., this settlement was not used any more. The basilica has three sections: to the west is the exterior, atrium; to the southeast are the annexes and the baptistery. The floor is covered with mosaics with motifs of geometric shapes, leaves and crosses. It is recorded in the inscription on the mosaics that they were made by Heraclos, one of the assistants of the priest.

The Ayios Philon Church

The Basilica dates back to the 6th century A.D. Probably because it was destroyed in mid-7th century, a small church and some annexes were added to its southern flank. As these buildings were destroyed in the ninth and tenth centuries A.D., this settlement was not used any more. The basilica has three sections: to the west is the exterior, atrium; to the southeast are the annexes and the baptistery. The floor is covered with mosaics with motifs of geometric shapes, leaves and crosses. It is recorded in the inscription on the mosaics that they were made by Heraclos, one of the assistants of the priest.

The Aya Trias Basilica

The Basilica dates back to the 6th century A.D. Probably because it was destroyed in mid-7th century, a small church and some annexes were added to its southern flank. As these buildings were destroyed in the ninth and tenth centuries A.D., this settlement was not used any more. The basilica has three sections: to the west is the exterior, atrium; to the southeast are the annexes and the baptistery. The floor is covered with mosaics with motifs of geometric shapes, leaves and crosses. It is recorded in the inscription on the mosaics that they were made by Heraclos, one of the assistants of the priest.

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