Historical Places in North Cyprus
Lala Mustafa Paşa Mosque
The mosque having, its original name as Saint Nicholas Cathedral, was opened in 1328 as a Catholic Sanctuary. It is one of the best examples of gothic architecture. Structural additions were made into the Cathedral in 1571 to fulfill the needs after Ottoman Empire conquered the island and it was turned into a mosque. It is one of the most magnificent and impressive historical places in Famagusta.
It is a castle constructed in 7th century by Byzantines in order to protect the city against the Arab invasions. Kyrenia Castle, being a unique example of the architecture of Venice, has became an attraction point for the islanders and the tourists.
Kantara Castle was built in 10th century by Byzantines and is located at an altitude of 630 metres from the sea level. It was constructed for controlling the North coast of the island and the Mesarya Plain.
St. Hilarion Castle
St. Hilarion was constructed in 8th century by Byzantines in order to be protected from the Arab invasions. You can watch the beautiful view of Kyrenia from the bastions of St Hilarion Castle, built on the northern slops of Five Finger Mountains. It was used as a military base and sheltering area in 13th century during the period of Lusignans. According to one of the legends, Richard the Lionheart spent a honeymoon in here. Nowadays, St. Hilarion Castle is one of the most popular historical places of North Cyprus.
Buffavento Castle is located in Kyrenia Mountains above Çatalköy at an altitude of 950 metres from the ground and was constructed in 10th century by Byzantines. With St. Hilarion and Kantara Castles, it is also a part of the line of defence created against the Arab attacks. Buffavento Castle was also used as a prison in the period of Lusignans.
Salamis used to be an ancient city located 6 km north of Famagusta. The oldest antiques found in the ancient city go back to 11th century B.C. It was explored in the late 19th century covered with trees and layer of earth. Majority of the city was discovered by doing excavation works for many years. Salamis Ruins is a great outdoor museum for breathing the history.
St. Catherine Cathedral
St. Catherine Cathedral was constructed in 14th century and is one of the best examples of gothic architecture in Cyprus. It’s name was changed into Haydar Paşa Mosque after the Ottoman conquered Nicosia in 1570. Nowadays, it is used as an art gallery.
The Great Inn, belonging to 16th century period and built during the domination of Ottoman Empire, is one of the most significant constructions of Nicosia. It was used as Nicosia Central Prison during the British period. Nowadays, it has been restored and a unique area was created for exploring the traditional Cypriot culture and cuisine.
St. Sofia Cathedral was started to be constructed in 1206 and is one of the unique works of the gothic style. It was used as the first cathedral of Cyprus in the period of Lusignans. In 1571, the name of the cathedral was changed into Selimiye Mosque during the domination of Ottoman in Cyprus.
Kyrenia Harbour and Shipwreck Museum
Kyrenia Harbour, built in 15th century by Venetians, draws attention being the most visited and important place across the island. It is a significant attraction point for the visitors with its relaxing atmosphere and a great deal of cafes, restaurants, fishing boats and luxurious yachts.
The museum is located within the Kyrenia Castle. In the tests conducted by divers on the woods used in the construction of the shipwreck, it has been estimated that the ship was built in 389 B.C. and was 80 years old when it sank.
The monastery, located in Kyrenia, was built between 1158 and 1205. It has an incredible architecture made in gothic style. It is one of the most significant places of Cyprus with its beautiful mountain landscape and the views facing all northern coasts. There is a church, cafeterias, restaurants, arts and crafts shops, and some interesting ruins within the scope of Bellapais Monastery. Today, it is one of the favourite places of tourists with its unique Kyrenia view. Music lovers experience unforgettable time during the Bellapais Music Festival – link to bellapaisfestival.com that is organized every year in May.