Below is an overview of Northern Cyprus that will enable visitors to understand many practical aspects of the country, including what makes Northern Cyprus the place it is today.
Cyprus has been divided into two states since 1974 due to cultural differences. The Greek Cypriots occupy the southern part of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots occupy the northern part of the island. The “Green Line”, or boundary separates these two states. Nicosia is the capital of both South and North Cyprus and the green lines runs through it. North Cyprus is approximately one hundred miles long, forty miles at its widest point, and covers an area of 3,585 sq miles.
The climate of Northern Cyprus is typically Mediterranean with hot, dry summers running from June to September with average temperatures 30°C. Winter runs from November to March is usually wet but fairly mild. The coldest months are January and February with temperatures of around 10°C. Cyprus enjoys over 300 days of uninterrupted sunshine, clear blue unpolluted seas, the beauty of an unspoiled landscape and quiet beaches.
Northern Cyprus has one National Park located in the Karpaz Peninsula . Here a large number of birds, wild donkeys, turtles, rare flora and breathtakingly beautiful beaches can be found. Since farming is not especially intensive in North Cyprus, wildlife can often live in harmony with agriculture. Bird watching in North Cyprus is popular as there are over 350 different species to observe.
The official language of North Cyprus is Turkish but English is widely used and understood.
The North Cyprus Government has its own elected political party, with its own Prime Minister.
North Cyprus is a secular state with no official religion, although 98% of the population are Muslims. The other 2% is made up of Catholic Maronites, Orthodox Greek Cypriots, Baha'is and a small number of Anglicans.
The cost of living in comparison with most countries in Western Europe is low. Locally produced products or those produced in Turkey are generally cheaper than their European counterparts. However, goods imported from Europe tend to be higher in price than their country of origin.
Cigarettes and alcohol are very cheap.
Electricity supply is 220-240 volts with a frequency of 50 Hertz. With both new and resale properties you will need to go to the local electricity board office and complete a contract and pay for connection and supply. Electricity costs are similar to other European countries and you pay monthly or arrange to pay in advance. There are frequent power cuts and some people choose to buy diesel or petrol generators to cope with the problem. Electricity costs 0.106 new Turkish Lira per KW which is the equivalent of 4 pence per KW. (approximately £15 monthly per house).
Only bottle LPG gas is available. However, you can have a larger tank installed in your garden. LPG is little more expensive than mains gas, but it is still quite economical and avoids the need for contractual obligations with a supply company.
Water remains a precious resource and is supplied and metered by the water authority. Drinking tap water is not recommended, even if you boil it as it may still contain harmful toxic contaminants. Most people drink bottled water. Water costs 20 new Turkish Lira + 13% VAT for 0-20 Tons of water per month which is the equivalent of £8 for 0-20 tons of water per month.
Northern Cyprus is characterised by mountains, plains and beaches. The Kyrenia Range of mounts have jagged limestone peaks the highest of which is Mount Selvili at 3357ft.and run through most of the northern Cyprus coastline therefore giving it a dramatic backdrop. To the east the mountain range gently slopes as it goes into the narrow peninsula known as Karpas (or the Panhandle) which is where the best beaches in Cyprus can be found. To the south of Kyrenia are the plains of Mesaoria where the capital Nicosia (Lefkosa) is situated.
Other major towns are Guzelyurt in the west which is the biggest citrus producer of the area, Kyrenia is on the northern coast and Farnagusta in the east.
Bogaz Region of North Cyprus
The population of North Cyprus is approximately. 201,000 with 55% of the population living in urban areas. The urban population is distributed as follows:
The urban population is employed mainly in the service industry and light industries such as beverages, clothing and building construction.
The rural population lives in around 195 villages of Northern Cyprus. People in rural areas are mainly engaged in agriculture and produce a variety of crops. Wheat, barley, olives, carobs, melon, grapes, figs, potatoes and basic vegetables are grown commercially on a moderate scale. Citrus is the main export produce.
The service industry has recently increased mainly in tourism, banking and education sectors. The slow development in Cyprus’ economy has become an advantage for tourism as it has resulted in unspoiled countryside and low pollution which are very attractive to visitors. Education has recently developed to become one of the major sources of revenue, with five private universities having being opened in the last ten years. They offer a good standard of international education to students attending from neighbouring countries, mainly Turkey.
It is believed the first inhabitants of Cyprus arrived in 8.500 B.C. Due to its geographic location between east and west, Cyprus has undergone many changes in rulers and much strife for its inhabitants.
In 43 A.D. Christianity came to Cyprus and in 330 A.D. Cyprus became part of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. Later it was conquered by Richard the Lionheart in 1911 while on his way to the Holy Land to fight the 3rd Crusade. A year later, Richard sold the island to the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar, unable to exploit the island satisfactorily, then returned the island to Richard who sold it to the French nobleman Guy de Lusignan. The island was next ruled for three hundred years by tht Lusignan dynasty which brought years of great oppression.
In 1489 with the death of the Lusignan King James, Cyprus was given to the island to Venice by his Venetian wife. The Venetians saw Cyprus primarily as a military base and built fortifications all over the island. Cypriots were regarded merely as a population to be taxed and even when the Ottomans arrived in Cyprus in 571 the Cypriots felt as if they had been liberated from slavery.
The Ottomans introduced the Orthodox Church to Cyprus, making being Catholic a punishable offense, so Cypriots had to choose between Orthodox Christianity and Islam. The majority chose Christianity, but the result was the population split in ethnic structure it still possesses today, namely Greek and Turkish.
During the First World War, Cyprus became a part of the British colonies, following the Treaty of Lausanne in 1925.
In 1960 the Treaty of Zurich was signed giving independence to Cyprus while protecting the rights of the Turkish Cypriot population. By 1963 relations between the two communities that had become separated by language, culture and religion were getting worse. Civil war eventually began and the United Nations sent in troops in an attempt to restore peace, creating the Green Line dividing the two communities to this day.
In 1974 Greece attempted a military coup in conjunction with the Greek National Guard in a bid to achieve ENOSIS (idea of union with Greece).
On the 15th November 1983 The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded and the island has remained divided ever since. It is a fully democratic state and, with exception of a few border incidents, internal peace has been firmly established.
Information Required When Travelling to Cyprus
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