Northern Cyprus is a beautiful country with its warm climate, old villages, historic castles and cathedrals. Also, it is popular among honeymoon couples because of its suitable prices.
Apart from its historical places and wonderful nature, Northern Cyprus has a very colorful lively nightlife. Besides the bars and nightclubs, for whom has a special interest, there are many Casinos on the island.
In this post, you will have detailed information about the top historical and touristic places that you may visit. For the beaches and summer holiday, you may visit my Cyprus Beaches Post.
Northern Cyprus Historical Places
1. Lefkoşa(Nicosia) Han
It is a large commercial building built in 1572 by Ottoman governer Muzaffer Paşa. During the United Kingdom’s time, it was used as a prison. Today, it is a big bazaar which is visited by many tourists from all over the world. You can find traditional clothes, souvenirs, drinks and food inside this structure. After shopping, do a favor to yourself and order a Turkish coffee.
Just note that the bazaar is closed at 5 pm on weekends. People around said they are open until 9 pm on weekdays but anyways just go there a bit early. We went there on Sunday afternoon but unfortunately, we couldn’t go inside.
2. Lefkoşa (Nicosia) Selimiye Mosque (St Sophia Cathedral)
Construction of St Sophia Cathedral started in 1209 during Lusignan’s time and completed at the beginning of 1300s. It is the perfect reflection of Medieval French architecture. When Ottomans conquered Cyprus in 1571 They turned this cathedral into a mosque. Selimiye name comes from the Sultan Selim II who conquered the island. This structures located just next to Büyük Han (Grand Bazaar) in Lefkoşa (Nicosia). It is one of the most famous historical places in Cyprus.
3. Girne Kalesi (Kyrenia Castle)
This castle is the symbol of Kyrenia. It was built in Byzantine times and hosted many cultures after that. The purpose of this castle was to protect the island from Arabian attacks. In the castle, you can see the Byzantine, Lusignan, Venice and Ottoman culter’s marks.
This is one of the most beautiful places in Cyprus. It is located just next to the sea. There are many restaurants that you can enjoy your meal and the wonderful view of Kyrenia Castle at the same time.
4. Girne Limanı (Kyrenia Port)
Nowadays, it is used as a yacht marina but originally it was built by the Romans as a trading port. Today, there are many restaurants, cafes, and bars next to the port. I suggest you spend one of your nights in this historic port. Especially during sunset you can take very nice pictures and enjoy the island’s lovely atmosphere.
5. St Hilarion Castle
It is a castle built on the North side of Beşparmak Mountains. Castle is located 10 km away from Kyrenia. St Hilarion is 700 m high from the sea level. You can reach the entrance with your car but after that, you need to climb up to approximately 500 stairs to reach the top point of the castle. If your energy is not enough for the top, even in de lower parts there is a very nice panoramic view.
The castle is open until 5 pm in summer and 2 pm in winter. This is a place that you should definitely add your tour plans in Northern Cyprus. Sometimes, there are special events in the castle. For example, we have found a tango festival and we danced a bit, despite our slippers. It was a very nice and unique event.
6. Bellapais Monastery
It is located in Beylerbeyi village. It was built between 1158 and 1205. Its name is coming from French “Abbaye de la Paix” which means, Peace Monastery.
When Selahaddin Eyyübi concurred Jerusalem, Augistignan priests left there and moved to Bellapais Monastery. They are the first people recorded in the monastery.
Today, there is also a concert hall in Bellapais Monastery and it is actively used. If you follow the concert schedule you may add a unique experience to your Cyprus trip. You may follow Bellapais News from facebook for details.
7. Kantara Kalesi (Kantara Castle)
It is castle again built by Byzantine Empire. The purpose was to the observe Karpaz peninsula and Mesarya Lowland.
Today, Kantara is a famous place that you can take pictures with the clouds below you. It is one of the touristic places. We couldn’t take that photo but please share if you have a cool photo. 🙂
8. Salamis Ancient Town
Salamis is an ancient town 6km from the center of Famagusta. The first findings belong to the 11th century BC. It is a typical Roman town, with a gymnasium, forum, agora, and bathhouse.
During the excavations between 1952 and 1974, most of the town was discovered. After the Turkish military intervention. In 1998, Ankara University started the excavation works again.
Salamis Ancient Town is a place that must be seen in Northern Cyprus. During summertime don’t forget to take some water and sun cream and discover this historical place.
9. Mavi Köşk
10. Namık Kemal’s Dungeon
He is a famous Turkish Poet who wrote the ” Vatan Yahut Silistire” play and expelled from İstanbul to Cyprus in 1873. In 1876 Murat V pardoned him and he turned back to İstanbul. The 2 flat building he was imprisoned is now open to visits. If you are traveling around the eastern part of the island, you may visit this place and learn more about the history of the famous poet.
There is an airport in Northern Cyprus Lefkoşa (Nicosia) but there are direct flights only from Turkey. It takes 1.5 hours from İstanbul. You can reach the information about flights from Ercan Airport web page.
There are many options according to your budget. You can prefer a bit expensive resorts with casinos or boutique hotels. We have chosen Manolya Resort Hotel . It was 10 km away from Girne (Kyrenia) so it was in a quiet area but very close to the city center also. Our room had an amazing view that you can see in the photo.
- Kyrenia Castle
- Namık Kemal
- Northern Cyprus
- Salamis Ancient Town
- St Hilarion Castle
- St Sophia Cathedral