The Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts: the area under the effective control of the Republic, located in the south and west and comprising about 59% of the island’s area, and the north, administered by the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, covering about 36% of the island’s area. Another nearly 4% of the island’s area is covered by the UN buffer zone.
Yes, I know this is confusing. Imagine how I felt not knowing this and trying to understand when I was leaving Turkey to get to the island: I was thoroughly confused as to why I needed my Turkish visa stamped when traveling to the area of Cyprus Island that remains under Turkish control, but the part of the island I was going to was Turkish.
With that being said, the people of Cyprus express their affiliations and cultural references to Greece or Turkey, and to this day if you ask a Turkish person who lives there (not born there) about the other side of the island, they say, “That is the Greek side, and we are not allowed there.” If they were born on the island, they are just Cypriots and have full range to both sides.
Cyprus has the unique qualities and characteristics of various cultures. The history of the ancient word is alive and well there, and both the Greek and Turkish cultures share this history.
I started my journey at the port city of Kyrenia. I love learning the history of the places I visit, and as we all know, museums are like interactive books of the past. The Shipwreck Museum was a treat that embodied the history of the area and its development. As the name suggests, this museum has artifacts and a full-bodied ship from the 4th century. Before visitors can even reach the museum, they must first visit the Girne Kalesi, which is a 16th century castle built by the Venetians at the east end of the marina. The castle itself has its own history along with great views of the harbor.
After leaving the castle, I found plenty of great restaurants. So many different food cultures have influenced this island, including the French, Greeks, Turks, and Syrians. When you come here just open your mouth and eat! The locals love the restaurants Sabor and Halil Ibrahim Sofrasi. After enjoying my meal, I hit the streets for some shopping to find something unique to take home.
Cyprus Island Photo Gallery
Jonathan Dryer: The Unofficial Traveler.