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Historic sites in North Cyprus

North Cyprus is an ancient land steeped in history. Civilisations dating back more than 4,000 years have all left their mark on the island. Iron Age tombs, Roman amphitheatres, Byzantine basilicas and gothic-style castles dot the dramatic landscape, offering a wealth of opportunity to uncover the Republic's ancient past. Here are just a few of the many historic sites in North Cyprus…

The citadel of Enkomi (Alasia) near Famagusta to the east of the island is one of the oldest historic sites known in North Cyprus. Occupied back in the Bronze Age, only ruined walls now remain of this vast inland complex that used to be a harbour town in the days of the Ancient Egyptians and Hittites. Archaeologists have discovered evidence that the dead were buried beneath their houses and that copper and bronze were extensively worked here.

There are the impressive remains of Salamis also near Famagusta. Founded towards the end of the Bronze Age, the city of Salamis offers an insight into the turbulent Assyrian and Persian eras of North Cyprus, as well as a window into the latter influences of the Roman Empire.

Huge columns, still intact, tower up over the site, and many carved statues left to decay can still be seen today.

Bellapais Monastery near Kyrenia is a 'must see' historic site that should be at the top of everyone's list. Built between 1198 and 1284, Bellapais Monastery oozes gothic decadence and medieval French charm. Much of what is left today was constructed under King Hugh III of France, and it was the monks of the Augustinian Order who were the first to occupy it.

Also in Kyrenia is Kyrenia Castle. This fortified Mediterranean jewel has seen many a battle, and is thought to have been constructed in the 7th Century to defend the town from frequent Arab raids. Kyrenia Castle is the final resting place of Sadik Pasha, the Ottoman Admiral killed during the conquest of Cyprus in 1570.


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