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Northern Cyprus on Daily Mirror in uk

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Northern Cyprus on Daily Mirror in uk

Postby GAVCARoCOM » Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:09 am

Anyway, enough's enough. This week I decided to do something naughty. Not illegal, mind, just naughty. I spent three days in Turkish Northern Cyprus.

This is a country not officially recognised by anybody, begging the question: how do you recognise a country? If you're walking down the street do you nudge your mate and say: "Here, that bloke's Burkina Faso. He's been on the news."

Turkish Northern Cyprus suffers none of these intrusions. It doesn't have to wear a false beard to go shopping. Only Turkey might stroll up and give it the time of day.

But Turkish Northern Cyprus, or TNC as they call it, does exist, 70 miles off the southern coast of Turkey and with a population of something over 200,000

And a gem of a country it is, too.

Since 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus - many would say with some justification - and the island was divided by a UN Green Line, the Greek south and the Turkish north have gone their separate ways.

Greek Cyprus has always had the money to invest in hotels and apartments and it also has two international airports which has helped to boost tourism.

The North is far less developed - who's going to invest in a country not officially on the map? And in practical terms, non-recognition has meant that to get here you have to land in Turkey first.

However, there are signs of change, prompted by Turkey's desperation to join the EU, a move dependent on a united Cyprus.

The TNC's airport at Ercan has been totally rebuilt this year, new hotels - the Colony and the Rocks - have sprung up and villa developments have prompted another invasion, this time by estate agents. You can even take your passport and cross the Green Line.

But the place remains largely unspoilt, unhurried, unspeakably beautiful in parts and unrivalled as an Autumn holiday destination.

KYRENIA, the main port and major holiday resort, has one of the prettiest harbours in the Med.

Restaurants, housed in Venetian buildings line the quay selling mezes and freshly-caught fish at prices a decade out of date.

At one end of the harbour is a Venetian fort, now turned into a museum. Inside is one of the oldest shipwrecks in the world - a Phoenician vessel which went down off the coast in 320BC. Its cargo of almonds are still in their jars.

Beyond the town, the jagged, pined Bisparmack - Five Finger - Mountains form a fine backdrop.

From the top of the magnificent limestone range you can sometimes see the Southern Turkish coast, looming out of a summer heat haze.

Three ruined castles straddle the peaks and the most majestic of these is St Hilarion, said to be Disney's model for a scene in Snow White.

Buffavento Castle is the highest in the range at more than 4,000ft and is harder to get to, while Kantara offers more fantastic views.

In long-ago times of trouble a series of flares linked the three. They got plenty of use. Romans, Venetians, Byzantines, Crusaders, Genoese and Lusignans have all fought over Cyprus. And Greeks and Turks, of course.

A few miles east of Kyrenia on the slopes of the Bisparmack is the village of Bellapais, one of the loveliest spots on the island.

A ruined abbey, founded by the Augustine monks in 1250, dominates the village and from the restaurant in the grounds you can dine well or just take a drink while the owner plays Mozart.

At dusk, swallows and martins swoop through the air as the lights go on in distant Kyrenia harbour. A romantic place.

So romantic in fact that the Abbey had to be closed down by the Venetian Governor after he found the monks had all taken wives - in some cases more than one. Ah, the magic of Bellapais.

A half-hour drive over the mountains and across hot, dusty plains is the city of Nicosia, or rather, half of it - there's the Green Line down the middle.

The North Cyprus capital is a noisy, ramshackle place - but worth the trip just to see the realities of partitioning.

Take a lift to the cafe on the top floor of the ugly Hotel Saray and you'll see over the wall into the Greek side.

The difference is startling. In Turkish Nicosia - or Lefkosa, as it's known - you look down on crumbling buildings, old steam baths, churches converted into mosques and chaotic street markets.

On the Greek side there are canyons of high-rise air-conditioned offices and hotels. The sun glints off glass below huge signs for Sony and Citibank.

If you don't fancy the big smoke, Famagusta - now Gasi Magusa - a famous old port on the east coast, is another eye-opener. It's a delightful old city, completely surrounded by well-preserved Venetian ramparts. The ancient Gothic St Nicholas Cathedral - now the Mustapha Pasha mosque - is worth a visit, as is the covered market, where you'll smell every spice you can imagine.

But Famagusta is near the Green Line, and one area of the city, Varosha, is a pathetic reminder of Cyprus's current demise. This was the place to be seen in the 60s, a glitzy feast of five-star hotels and nightclubs. Today it is in no-man's land, and trees now grow through hotel cocktail bars.

Salamis, a little further up the coast, is my personal favourite spot in North Cyprus. Here are the remains of a Graeco-Roman city, complete with baths, meeting place and amphitheatre, all wildly overgrown with jasmine and mimosa.

It stands in the middle of nowhere by a beautiful white sandy beach and rarely gets crowded.

The Karpaz, the area up in the island's panhandle, is wild, remote and extraordinarily beautiful. Visit the village of Dipkarpaz, where Greek and Turkish families still live side by side, largely because they got on so well that the Turkish invasion simply passed them by.

NO matter where you are, if you stick to the larger hotels you can be sure to lose all your Turkish Lira in the casinos attached to most of them.

Mainland Turks come here to gamble, but the locals can only play the tables if they have written permission from their wives - a sweet touch.

Scuba Diving is very popular here - try Blue Dolphin (www.bluedolphin. 4mg.com) - with visibility up to 35 metres. And trekking through the Bisparmack Mountains is a delight in the autumn, although some areas of the countryside have been made out of bounds by the military.

When it comes to food, there's plenty on offer, and North Cyprus is far cheaper than the south - expect to pay up to £7 for a three course meal.

Niazzi's restaurant opposite the Dome Hotel in Kyrenia is a favourite. A man sits in the middle of the room cooking kebabs just the way you want them. The wine is good, too.

Effendi's, also in Kyrenia, is another well-established restaurant, run by a Welsh couple.

That or any of the restaurants along the harbour are excellent for fish suppers.

I also had the pleasure of staying in a hotel along the seafront - the Dome in Kyrenia.

This was the haunt of British Army officers and diplomats during the Eoka terrorist uprisings in the 50s and 60s and, although it has had a spring clean, it's still a throwback to the days of colonialism.

It's a pleasant enough place, though, with seawater and freshwater pools and it's ideally situated to get the best out of Kyrenia.

There are plenty of other good hotels on the island and the number seems to be growing by the week. The Jasmine Court, once owned by Polly Peck fugitive Asil Nadir, is outstanding.

He did a runner from the UK in the 80s to escape fraud charges.

He clearly knew a good thing when he saw it. And I'll bet he's not a grumpy old man.
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Re: Northern Cyprus on Daily Mirror in uk

Postby Oracle » Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:47 am

GAVCARoCOM wrote: churches converted into mosques and chaotic street markets.


Well there's the mentality of the typical Daily Mirror reader ... to make a throwaway remark like that, and not use up even two words to question such a crime.

GAV everyone knows the north of Cyprus is beautiful and despite what you highlighted the Greek Cypriots have never always had the money to invest in the south ... they've worked very hard over the decades to make it successful.

Unlike the north, of course, which the Turks took with all its beauty. Well the right-minded tourists of the world will not prop up such a criminal economy so do not expect anything but a continuing slow decay ... until the whole of Cyprus is legally and fairly re-united.
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Postby Tim Drayton » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:01 am

"Take a lift to the cafe on the top floor of the ugly Hotel Saray and you'll see over the wall into the Greek side."

Sounds like a pretty old article to me. Nowadays, if you are in the north of Nicosia and want to see the other side, you just stroll to the Ledra Palace or Ledra Street crossing points and walk over.
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Postby observer » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:34 pm

Tim Drayton wrote:"Take a lift to the cafe on the top floor of the ugly Hotel Saray and you'll see over the wall into the Greek side."

Sounds like a pretty old article to me. Nowadays, if you are in the north of Nicosia and want to see the other side, you just stroll to the Ledra Palace or Ledra Street crossing points and walk over.


Perhaps not. From the original article:
The TNC's airport at Ercan has been totally rebuilt this year, new hotels - the Colony and the Rocks - have sprung up and villa developments have prompted another invasion, this time by estate agents. You can even take your passport and cross the Green Line.
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Postby Tim Drayton » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:56 pm

A little googling reveals that this article was published on 2 October 2004.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-122724112.html
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Postby CanDiaz » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:19 pm

but the locals can only play the tables if they have written permission from their wives - a sweet touch.
:lol:
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Postby GAVCARoCOM » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:03 pm

i didnt say its published today . i found the newspaper at home :wink:


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Tim Drayton » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:20 pm

GAVCARoCOM wrote:i didnt say its published today . i found the newspaper at home :wink:


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Wouldn't it make sense to post something a little more up to date, and less riddled with inaccuracies, though? The acronym TNC is used to refer to a great many things, including the Turkish Nudist Camp in Istanbul, but not to the entity which claims sovereignty over the north of the island. This is know as the TRNC in English.
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Postby Tim Drayton » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:28 pm

CanDiaz wrote:
but the locals can only play the tables if they have written permission from their wives - a sweet touch.
:lol:


Makes good copy, but it is as untrue as it is sexist. Locals are not permitted to gamble in casinos in the TRNC. Nor is it only men who do so.
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Postby CanDiaz » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:29 pm

Tim Drayton wrote:
CanDiaz wrote:
but the locals can only play the tables if they have written permission from their wives - a sweet touch.
:lol:


Makes good copy, but it is as untrue as it is sexist. Locals are not permitted to gamble in casinos in the TRNC. Nor is it only men who do so.


Why is that?
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