History of Cyprus - About North Cyprus - General Info of North Cyprus - Why North Cyprus




Girne is a fascinating town on the northern coast of Cyprus founded by the Myceans ca. 1600 BC. Its tiny horse-shoe shaped harbour with the backdrop of the Besparmak Mountains help to make Girne one of the most beautiful areas on the island. The Old Harbour is bordered by what used to be carob warehouses but are now cafes, restaurants and bars. Fishing boats, colourful yachts and excursion boats are moored in this pretty spot and to the east of the harbour is Girne Castle. A truly magnificent edifice constructed by the Byzantines in the 9th century to ward of Arab invaders. This fortress was further enhanced by the Lusignans and then by the Venetians and is one of the most imposing sites in the Mediterranean. The Castle houses the Ship-wreck Museum where the remains of a 4th century cargo boat including a number of artefacts and it's cargo of amphorae are displayed.




Gazimagusa was originally a small commercial and fishing port but with the advent of the Crusades and the reign of the Lusignans it attained much greater significance. The Old Town is surrounded by magnificent walls, 17 meters high and 9 meters wide, which were constructed by the Lusignans and further reinforced by the Venetians in 1489. There are reputed to be 365 places of worship in Gazimagusa and among the foremost of these is the Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque. Formerly St. Nicholas Cathedral, where the Lusignan kings were crowned, its name was changed after the Ottoman conquest of the island in 1571. It remains as one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture to this day. The Knights Templar, The Knights Hospitaller and Othello also share in the great history of this city.



Once the ancient kingdom of Ledra, Lefkosa flourished when it become the capital of the Lusignans. The Old Town is surrounded by a star shaped wall of about three miles in circumference, which was further fortified by the Venetians in 1567, and flanked by eleven Bastions. The Selimiye Mosque, formerly St Sophia Cathedral, is the earliest and perhaps the finest of the Lusignan churches, commissioned by the Queen Alix Of Champagne, wife of Hugues I, and build in the style of the cathedrals of Rouen and Chartres. In the 16th Century it was transformed into a mosque with the addition of two minarets.