Cities of North Cyprus
Although Lefkosha was founded in ancient times, it did not develop until the Lusignan Era. Massive walls encircling the old city were built by the Venetians in 1570, with the aim of protecting the city against a possible Turkish attack. The walls, which still remain almost as they were built, consist of eleven bastions. A charming mosque (Bayraktar Mosque) was erected on Costanza Bastion soon after the Turkish conquest in 1571. In Lefkosha, there are many historic monuments dating from the Middle Ages and later. Among these are several examples of Gothic and Ottoman buildings. Since Cyprus remained under Turkish Rule for more than three centuries, all the towns on the island reflect the Turkish influence both in their architecture and in the lifestyle of the people.
Girne is a fascinating town located on the northern coast of North Cyprus in a setting of great natural beauty. It is an ideal resort for those who want to relax in a peaceful place, away from bustling city life. There are luxury hotels, self-catering apartments, picnic places and sandy beaches on both sides of the town. One of the attractions of Girne is its historic castle, and the tiny horse shoe shaped harbour with its yachts. The castle which was built by the Byzantines and restored and reinforced by the Lusignans and Venetians, still retains all its magnificence today. Atmospheric restaurants, attractive pubs and open air cafeterias are to be found all along the edge of the historic old harbour.
Gazimagusa, which was originally founded as a small commercial port and fishing town, flourished in the 12th Century during the Lusignan period, and became an important trading centre between the East and the West. With nearly 365 places of worship and numerous palaces belonging to the nobles of the age, it was one of the most prosperous cities of the Mediterranean. Among the churches of Gazimagusa, the cathedral of St. Nicholas, where the Lusignan Kings were crowned, remains today as a particularly fine example of Gothic architecture. Soon after the Ottoman conquest in 1571, an elegant minaret was added to this cathedral and it was converted into a mosque and named after Lala Mustafa Pasha, the commander of the Ottoman forces who conquered the island. The Venetian walls surrounding the historic city are one of the best examples of Medieval architecture still existing today.
Situated in the northwest of Cyprus, surrounded by lovely citrus groves is the town of Güzelyurt, which means "beautiful country" in Turkish. The Güzelyurt region is very fertile, with numerous underground springs. A large proportion of the citrus fruits are exported, and the remaining are made into fruit juice and canned for local consumption and export. In spring, the light breezes scatter the white orange blossoms from which you can smell the fragrance around the town, while in other seasons the golden oranges and lemons shine on the trees. It is an ideal picnic spot for those who want to escape from the noise and rush of city life and to spend the day in the peace and quiet of the natural surroundings.
Nestling below the Trodos Mountains 74 km. from Lefkosha, Lefke is a small and friendly town in the north west of Cyprus. Its Turkish character reflects the domination of the area by the Ottoman Turks for more than three hundred years.