North Cyprus general information.
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Ercan Airport From Helicopter
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General Information


TRNC Flag on Mountains
photo by: TAK News Agency
[ enlarge photo ]

North Cyprus, or to give it its full title, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is a small country measuring 120 miles wide and only 15 miles from its northern coastline to the southern border. Cyprus lies ticked under the west coast of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, and the island has always been a meeting point for traders from earliest times. Today’s Turkish Cypriots can trace their ancestry back to, amongst others, the Phoenicians, Assyrians, Romans, Persians and Byzantines, all of whom have left their mark in North Cyprus.

North Cyprus Holidays

Today, Northern Cyprus is a growing holiday destination, largely free from the tourist developments of its southern neighbour. Ancient sites and good beaches combine with modern hotels in North Cyprus to form an ideal destination for a relaxing break or sun-filled Cyprus holiday. You’ll want to book early, too, as with only 12,000 beds available, the summer months book up fast. Of course, this also means that you won’t be sharing North Cyprus’ delightful countryside with any more than 11,999 non-locals. For that essential call home, just to tell them what a great time you are having, there are two mobile phone operators to choose from. Certainly, there is a lot to tell them about, from the dramatic scenery of the northern coastline, to the sandy beaches around Famagusta. Or perhaps you’ll tell them about the great sports in Northern Cyprus, the varied nightlife, the amazing history of Cyprus and the stunning North Cyprus ancient ruins. Just call them up whilst sipping a Turkish coffee in one of the cafés along Kyrenia harbour and they’ll be green with envy!

Cyprus Nightlife

At night, North Cyprus comes to life, when the heat of the day turns to the cool of evening. During your North Cyprus holiday, why not enjoy a Kyrenia harbour side stroll followed by traditional Turkish Cypriot cuisine, and then dance off the calories at an open-air party or nightclub. If that all sounds too energetic, simply sit back at a café and watch the world go by, revelling in the slower pace of life that makes North Cyprus so relaxing to visit.

Political structure

Any North Cyprus holidaymaker will soon realise that this is a rather special place. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has its own elected government, including their own Prime Minister, and its own judicial system. The Turkish Cypriots themselves are proud of their country and its modern history, and often public holidays celebrate patriotic events in their country’s history. The Turkish government supports the Republic with aid for essential services such as education, as well as encouraging tourism and economic development.

Northern Cyprus Economy

At present, the North Cyprus economy is driven by agriculture or government service, but is growing fast thanks to government initiatives, and the drive of the Turkish Cypriot people themselves. The issue of international recognition still limits the amount of foreign investment, which paradoxically helps preserve the unique feel of Northern Cyprus. Hotels are mainly based in towns, and offer the usual comforts for tourists, but you can also stay in small family-run bed and breakfasts – and really get to know the locals.  

North Cyprus language

The language of Northern Cyprus is Turkish, a language spoken by almost 65 million people worldwide. A smattering of Turkish will not only help you understand the locals better, but can also be very useful in other countries.Turkish Cypriots used to leave the island to study at universities in Turkey, but now there are no fewer than six universities in North Cyprus, plus a teacher training college.

Northern Cyprus Highlights

Any young Turkish Cypriot would be proud to tell you about the great sights and sounds of their island, from North Nicosia’s Venetian Walls to the great-tasting kebabs from a stall near the Selimiye Mosque! The pretty harbour town of Kyrenia has its own Venetian castle, and surprisingly, also some top quality casinos that drawn the rich and the beautiful to the town. Famous author Lawrence Durrell lived amongst the lemon groves at Bellapais, and his novel "Bitter Lemons" tells of the Northern Cyprus of the 1950s. Perhaps the most famous resort is Famagusta, which has been attracting the great and famous since before the partition in 1974, and is once again rising to the top of the discerning tourist’s list. For those eager to really get away from it all, a trek through the Five Finger Mountains takes you close to nature and not other tourists.

What’s in a name?

The name Cyprus may derive from the copper that was mined in the island and exported all over the ancient world. Alexander the Great was reputed to have worn armour made from Cypriot copper. Others say it was because of the henna (kypros) that grew here. Either way, neither name does romantic and ancient North Cyprus justice!