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Northern Cyprus Tourism Attractions

Salamis Ruins

Salamis is, essentially, the second of a series of three successive towns: the Bronze and Early Iron Age town Enkomi, ancient Salamis, and medieval Famagusta. Salamis was founded after Enkomi had been destroyed by an earthquake and would be abandoned in the age of the Arab conquests. Like the other Cypriot kingdoms, Salamis had Assyrian and Egyptian overlords. The rule of the Persians would last two centuries, from the second half of the sixth century to 330 c. BCE. Occassionally, there were tensions. A revolt by one Onesilus, a member of the royal family, is mentioned by several authors, including Herodotus of Halicarnassus, but had no real consequences.

Hellenistic Age

After the death of Alexander the Great (in 323 BCE), his successors fought about possession of Cyprus (the naval battle of Salamis in 306), which in the end became a Ptolemaic possession. There were two officials: the strategos (governor) and antistrategos (supervisor of the copper mines). Salamis, theater In 58 BCE, Salamis became Roman (under Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis). The city was to benefit from Roman rule. Under the Empire, it flourished through trade, especially in wood and copper. It was certainly the island's greatest trade hub. The monuments you can visit today, date back mainly to the Roman age. From the earliest times, Salamis' main god was Zeus, but his cult was of course not the only one. In the year 117 CE, the city was largely destroyed in the conflict between the Jews and the Romans but was rebuilt

Kantara Castle

The Kantara Castle was built by the Byzantines in Xth century and served as an observation post, being at 630 meters above the sea. It is located on the Kyrenia Mountains range (Beşparmak) together with St. Hilarion and Buffavento. The first time the name of the castle was mentioned in 1191, when Richard the Lionheart was capturing the Cyprus.

St. Hilarion Castle

This castle was named in honor of monk – hermit from Palestine. St. Hilarion Castle was constructed by the Byzantines in the 8th century for the protection from Arab raids. In the 13th century, during the Lusignan times, the castle served as a military base and a residence; a lot of various additions have been done to it. According to one of the legends, Richard the Lionheart spent a honeymoon here. In the end of XVth century the Venetians had damaged the castle. Today the St. Hilarion Castle is the most popular sight of Northern Cyprus.

Buffavento Castle

The castle has been started to build in the XIth century by the Byzantines and only after 300 years had finished by Lusignans. The Kantara Castle and St. Hilarion Castle can be observed from 950 meters above the sea. In XIV century the Buffavento Castle functioned as a prison.

The Cathedral of St. Catherine (The Haydar Pasha Mosque)

The Cathedral of St. Catherine was built in XIV century and today is one of the best examples of gothic architecture located in Cyprus. During the Ottoman conquest of Nicosia it had been renamed to The Haydar Pasha Mosque in 1570; nowadays it is an art gallery.

The Great Khan

The Great Khan was one of the most important buildings in Lefkoşa during the Ottoman Period (XVI century). During the British period it was used as a Nicosia Central Prison. Nowadays the Great Khan has been restored and became a unique place to explore traditional Cyprus culture and cuisine.

The Semiliye Mosque (St. Sofia’s Cathedral)

The Cathedral of St. Sophia is the oldest architecture in Cyprus, made in gothic style, which has been started to build in 1206. It became the primary cathedral of Cyprus, where the Lusignan Kings had been crowned. In 1571, during the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus the cathedral has been renamed to Selimiye Mosque.

The Girne Harbor

Today the Girne Harbor counts as one of the most remarkable and most visited place in the whole island. Relaxing atmosphere and numerous cafes and restaurants makes it more attractive and leaves big impressions on the tourists who visit it.

The Shipwreck Museum

The sunken ship was found in 1965 by a local diver. The investigations had shown that it was built in 389 BC during the reign of Alexander the Great and sank around 2300 years ago. In 1975 the Shipwreck Museum was opened inside the Girne Castle.

The Bellapais Abbey

The monastery was built in XIIth century during the Lusignan period and is an amazing architecture performed in a Gothic style. After occupation by French brotherhood it became to be known as an ”Abbaye de la Paix”, which means the Peace Monastery. On the territory of Bellapais Abbey there are located a church, a chamber, a refectory, storage rooms, remains of frescoes and many interesting to observe inside. Nowadays it is beloved place of most tourists; every year the Bellapais Music Festival is organized.


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