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North Cyprus News

20.12.2011 Latest North Cyprus News 20/12/11
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, urged Cyprus leaders to speed up the negotiation.
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ABOUT NORTH CYPRUS

NORTH CYPRUS LEISURE ACTIVITIES

- North Cyprus Leisure Activities - Things to do in North Cyprus - Sports - Flora and Fauna -
Turtle-Watching -  Music - Festivals - more -


Sporting activities in North Cyprus

Diving Horse riding Para gliding Water sports

There are many sports activities available in North Cyprus.  The beautiful Mediterranean sea with its clean blue water offers endless aquatic possibilities – swimming, snorkelling, diving, fishing, boat trips, etc.  See – www.amphoradiving.com,  www.nautilusdivingcyp.com.   There are also other activities such as horse-riding, para-gliding, go-karting or if you would rather just be a spectator, you are always welcome to watch and support a local football team or the Puma rugby team.  See – www.catalkoyridingclub.com, www.highlineparagliding.com, www.zetkarting.com, www.cypruspumas.com.

Korineum Golf Club Korineum 2 Golf driving range Korineum view

Golfers are well provided for too – Korineum Golf & Country Club at Esentepe has an 18-hole, 72 par, championship golf course, driving range and academy with resident Golf 'Pro', together with beauty spa and excellent dining/social and conference facilities.  See – www.korineumgolf.com. 

North Cyprus Flora and Fauna
North Cyprus boasts over 385km of coastline and, together with pine and cyprus tree covered hillsides, it is a wildlife haven for flora and fauna alike.  The North Cyprus Herbarium, which is located in Alevkaya Forest Station, on the mountain ridge between Esentepe and Degirmenlik, provides research facilities for botanists and includes details of North Cyprus' endemic species.  It also houses a collection of pressed plant specimens that provide information on local flora together with a photographic display, detailing over 1,000 species. 

Many varieties of wild orchids may be found in North Cyprus and special walking trips are available during February/March to observe them growing in their natural habitat - see www.walksnorchidsnorthcyprus.com for more information.  

Species of wildlife you will find in North Cyprus include the donkeys which roam free in the Karpaz region, the Cyprus fox which is smaller than the English fox and snakes and lizards which you will see in the summer months.   
  

Ophrys iricolour  Orchis syriaca  Karpaz donkeys   Wild donkeys

Butterflies and other insects in North Cyprus 
Almost fifty species of butterflies can be found on the island. Whilst some are endemic to Cyprus, many pass through en route between Africa, Southern Europe and the Middle East.   Dragonflies provide a flash of colour as they dart to and fro in the summer months and another interesting insect to look out for is the Hummingbird Hawk Moth.  This pretty insect has a long proboscis and hovering behaviour, accompanied by an audible humming noise. It probes flowers for nectar to feed on and closely resembles a hummingbird, hence its name. 

Lizard Swallowtail Dragonfly Hummingbird  Hawk Moth

North Cyprus Bird watching

North Cyprus is of interest to bird-watchers as it lies on one of Europe’s main bird migration routes. Among the best places to watch birds in North Cyprus is up in the Kyrenian mountain range and also in the Karpaz peninsula which is a major stopping-off point for many migratory birds including the golden oriole and the bee-eater.  See – North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature (Kuskor) and www.kibrisbirds.net.

Bee Eater Golden oriole Bonellis Eagle Little owl

Turtle watching in North Cyprus

The quieter, sandy beaches of North Cyprus (Alagadi, Karpaz peninsula and Gazimagusa Bay) and the Turkish shoreline offer important breeding sanctuaries for the endangered Green and Loggerhead turtles as many of their former nesting sites in the Mediterranean have now disappeared.  Alagadi Beach is a specially protected area for the Turtles.  The North Cyprus Ministry of the Environment works together with SPOT (The Society for the Protection of Turtles) and the Marine Turtle Conservation Project (part of the Marine Turtle Research Group based at Exeter University's Cornwall campus). 

Each summer volunteers help with the project work at Alagadi which includes an intensive monitoring programme to identify each nesting female and record breeding success. 'Turtle HQ' at Alagadi Beach acts as an information centre for visitors during the summer months and it is possible to join one of the nocturnal 'Turtle Watches' which are organised regularly.  Details are displayed at the centre or you can visit www.turtleprojectcyprus.blogspot.com.  Satellite tracking also plays an important part in monitoring the turtles' welfare.  In 2010, seven green turtles that nested at Alagadi were successfully fitted with a transmitter - see information from Marine Turtle Research Group on their current location.   

Turtle Project HQ   Baby turtle   Turtle   Turtle 2


Buyukkonuk Eco-village is situated at the start of the Karpaz region and is a jointly funded initiative to promote traditional crafts and local culture in an environmentally responsible way.  It also provides a centre for special activity holidays focusing on outdoor pursuits such as walking, cycling, etc as well as offering the chance to observe traditional techniques in bread-making, olive oil production and carob syrup making.   Backed by the US Government Agency for International Development (USAID), the Turkish Embassy and Buyukkonuk Municipality, the project also aims to encourage the continuance of traditional community life in the village and to raise awareness of the importance of caring for the countryside.  The land around Buyukkonuk is very fertile and yields wheat, barley, and many varieties of vegetables. It is also rich in carob and olive trees, as well as mulberry, cypress, almonds and figs.

Every year - usually in May and October - the Eco-Tourism Association and the Buyukkonuk Municipality hold a 1-2 day festival to celebrate the Eco-village and its support for the traditional Cypriot village lifestyle.  Traditional activities are demonstrated throughout the day - for example, Hellim cheese making, carob syrup making, broom tying, mud-brick making and more.  There are also activities for children and donkey-riding. Cycle tours take participants on easy, exploring rides and guides take walking groups over some of the many nature trails.  There are home-made products for sale such as olive bread, sweet and savoury pastries, jars of preserves and sweets, pickled capers, fresh squeezed lemonade, olive oil, and more.  There is Cypriot folk-dancing to traditional live accompaniment on the accordion, violin and drum.  It is also possible to buy different handicrafts from the local craftsmen - weaver, wood carver, leather and soap-maker - whilst the 'magic fingers' of the townswomen produce a wide selection of embroidered items which are for sale together with other gifts.  See Buyukkonuk Eco-village for more information. 

Buyukkonuk countryside  Traditional bread making   Goats

North Cyprus Places of Interest 
North Cyprus has a wealth of historical and archaelogical sites to see including Roman Ruins, Crusader Castles, Museums, Religious sites, and much more - see separate page on Places to Visit.

North Cyprus Food, Restaurants and Entertainment
North Cyprus offers a wide choice of food and beverages to tempt every palate - see North Cyprus Food.  There are many bars, cafes and restaurants to choose from, serving fresh local dishes as well as international cuisine.  Many have live music in the evenings and the 5 star hotels and casinos frequently have top entertainers from Turkey and elsewhere performing, especially at weekends and during local holidays - see Cratos Premium HotelRocks Hotel & CasinoJasmine Court Hotel & Casino

Shopping in North Cyprus
No visit to North Cyprus is complete without a visit to the Kyrenia open-air Market held every Wednesday.   This has fresh fruit and vegetables for sale in abundance, nuts and spices, clothing, shoes, sweets, household items etc.  It is ideal for souvenir shopping with Cypriot handicrafts, needlework lace and embroidery items, the famous blue good luck charms  ('nazar boncugu') to keep away the “Evil Eye”, wicker-work baskets, kilim rugs and much more besides!   There is also a daily Municipal market in Lefkosa selling produce, clothing and other items and a large open air market every Saturday in Guzelyurt which is similar to the Market on Wednesdays in Kyrenia.

Kyrenia Wednesday Market   Basketware   Handicraft  Nazars

Music in North Cyprus
The famous Bellapais Music Festival is held every year during May/June and attracts many international artistes to perform.  The concerts are held in the superb setting of  the Bellapais Abbey Refectory Hall which has excellent acoustics.  The annual programme of events is well publicised and tickets are widely available - see  www.bellapaisfestival.com.

The Famagusta International Culture and Arts Festival is held every July and offers a wide variety of events.  Some concerts are held at the ancient amphitheatre at Salamis, just outside Famagusta.  Kyrenia Jazz Festival is held each year in November/December.  This event attracts international jazz players and is growing in popularity year by year.  Kyrenia Amphitheatre ('Girne Amfitiyatro') is the venue for various music and drama events and these are usually advertised well in advance in the local press and around the town. 

Kyrenia Amphitheatre   Inside Kyrenia Amphitheatre   Concert at Kyrenia Amphitheatre  

North Cyprus Festivals
Festivals are held during the year in various locations in North Cyprus with most towns and villages holding their own event at some point during the summer months.  The festivals are often food-related - for example:  the Orange Festival in Guzelyurt in June/July, the Mehmetcik Grape Festival in the Karpaz in August, the Halloumi Cheese Festival in Gecitkale in August/September, the Carob Festival in Tatlisu in September and the Olive Festival in Zeytinlik in October.  Typically the festivals include fresh produce to sample and buy, as well as local handicrafts, traditional music and folk dancing, competitions etc.

Fresh Citrus produce   Folk dancers   Folk dancers in traditional costume

East Mediterranean Yacht Rally
Another annual event on the North Cyprus calendar is the Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally.  This takes place between April and June and usually arrives in Girne Harbour for a few days around Mid/Late May.  The event first started in 1990 and has grown in size each year as yachtsmen from all over the world have converged on Turkey (the Rally starting point) to participate.   In 1995 the original Rally route of Antalya - Bozyazı - Girne was extended to start from Istanbul down to Kemer and then internationally to include Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.   Over the years, the Rally - as well as becoming a major sporting event - has helped to promote yachting tourism and brought the various  marinas along its route to the attention of the international yachting community.   See East Med Yacht Rally

Air Displays in North Cyprus
The Turkish Airforce Display Team known as "The Turkish Stars"  - or Tűrk Yıldızları in Turkish -  usually perform air displays in the TRNC on certain occasions during the year.  The displays are normally centred over Kyrenia Harbour and include spectacular aerobatics with colour stream effects.  The team was formed in 1992 and is one of the few display teams in the world flying with super-sonic aircraft.

The Turkish Stars Turkish Stars 2 Turkish Stars 3 Turkish Stars 4

Societies and Charities in North Cyprus
There are various clubs and societies to provide information and which hold regular meetings and social events as well as charitable organisations which are always glad of new support –

- The British Residents Society – www.brstrnc.com
- SOS Children’s Village - www.soscocukkoyu.org
- Leonard Cheshire Home for the Disabled  - www.cyprusrehab.com
- Kyrenia Animal Rescue – www.kyreniaanimalrescue.org
- North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature - http://www.kuskor.org/en/
- Turtle Watch - Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT)

For more information on North Cyprus, see North Cyprus Places to Visit,  North Cyprus Cuisine,  and North Cyprus News


Music
The famous Bellapais Music Festival is held every year during May/June and attracts many international artistes to perform.  The concerts are held in the superb setting of  the Bellapais Abbey Refectory Hall which has excellent acoustics.  The annual programme of events is well publicised and tickets are widely available - www.bellapaisfestival.com. The International Famagusta Culture and Arts Festival is held every July and offers a wide variety of events in the ancient Roman amphitheatre at Salamis just outside Famagusta.  Kyrenia Jazz Festival is held each year in November/December.  This event attracts international jazz players and is growing in popularity year by year.  Music and drama events are also held from time to time at the amphitheatre in Kyrenia and these are usually advertised in advance in the local press and around town.  

Festivals
Festivals are held during the year in various locations with most towns and villages holding their own event at some point during the summer. These are often food-related - for example, the Orange Festival held in Guzelyurt, the Grape Festival held in the Karpaz and the Olive Festival in Zeytinlik.