The Mediter­ranean as it used to be

A long sum­mer sea­son and charm­ing vil­lage are among the many de­lights of North­ern Cyprus, as Jane Walsh re­veals

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GLOBETROTTING -

WHEN the sun has packed its bag at the end of the sum­mer and mi­grated south, there is no rea­son why you need to say farewell too.

North­ern Cyprus re­mains open for busi­ness un­til the end of Oc­to­ber so iff you would like some au­tum­nal sun­shine then why not head to this jewel lo­cated in the Mediter­ranean. Cyprus is an his­tor­i­cal cross­roads of the an­cient world where re­mains of mon­u­ments and great civ­i­liza­tions to its var­ied and his­tor­i­cal past are in ev­i­dence in the an­cient cities, cas­tles, mosques and abbeys which are scat­tered through­out the is­land.

In 1974 the is­land was di­vided, the North be­ing home to the Turk­ish Cypriot pop­u­la­tion and cross­ing into the North is akin to time travel. Gone are the busy re­sorts, malls and in­ter­na­tional chain stores of the south. In­stead you will find re­mote vil­lages and a slower pace of life ‘the Mediter­ranean as it used to be’, re­tain­ing charm, beauty and re­mains full of char­ac­ter. Karpaz Beach

Turk­ish is the lo­cal lan­guage and the cur­rency is the Turk­ish lira, although many traces of the Bri­tish re­main as many speak good English and driv­ing is on the left-hand side of the road.

Kyre­nia is a pretty horse­shoe­shaped har­bour, dom­i­nated by the Vene­tian castle, where you can visit the world’s old­est shipwreck. This en­chant­ing har­bour is per­fect for an evening prom­e­nade. In days gone by carob ware­houses stood har­bour side but now they have all been changed into charm­ing seafront restau­rants, cafes and bars. The coast­line around Kyre­nia has many sandy bays and rocky coves too.

It is also a walk­ers par­adise with many walks me­an­der­ing through the foothills of the moun­tains where the nat­u­ral habi­tat pro­duces rare wild or­chids that grow in the Spring. Nestling in the foothills are sleepy vil­lages where cen­turies old tra­di­tions still con­tinue to­day. One of the most charm­ing vil­lages is Bel­la­pais, made fa­mous by Lawrence Dur­rell in his book ‘Bit­ter Le­mons of Cyprus’, de­scrib­ing Cypriot vil­lage life.

Fa­m­a­gusta boasts miles of fine golden sandy beaches, known as the best on the is­land. The im­por­tance and wealth of Fa­m­a­gusta was dis­played in the Mid­dle Ages in its 365 churches built to pre­vent the wrath of god in this pros­per­ous city. The nar­row streets of the old quar­ter and maze of tiny shops are per­fect for ex­plor­ing and soak­ing up the tra­di­tional at­mos­phere.

Visit the Ci­tadel and Othello’s Tower which was said to have been the in­spi­ra­tion for Shake­speare’s play.

For history lovers, don’t miss vis­it­ing the an­cient city of Salamis, which for more than 1,000 years was one of the most in­flu­en­tial King­doms of Cyprus and now one of the best pre­served sites in the Mediter­ranean. You can still swim among the ru­ins of the har­bour and there are still tiny frag­ments of mo­saic par­tially buried in the earth.

Just another thing to trea­sure.

The beau­ti­ful horse­shoe har­bour of Kyre­nia in North Cyprus – above and right

The Bel­la­pais Gar­dens Ho­tel

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