Most ferries went from Turkey to Girne (Kyrenia in Greek) and a few to Famagusta. I decided to go from Alanya to Girne and then from Girne back to Tasucu further east down the coast. As most of you are aware, Cyprus, although now strangely in the European Union, is actually a divided island and has been for over three decades. After being part of the Ottoman empire for over 300 years, it was passed to the British as a result of the Cyprus Convention, which granted control of the island to Great Britain in return for British support of the Ottoman Empire in the Russian-Turkish War. It was only formally annexed in 1913, shortly before WWI. Its problems began in the 60s after gaining independence. Used to a strong central authority which suppressed ethnic tensions, the Turkish and Greek Cypriots began coming into conflict with each other, a legacy which has lasted until today.
Cyprus: Page 1 | Page 2
Below is the harbor of Girne, with the picture being taken from the walls of the city's fort. At a bar there, I ran into a number of foreigners, from as far away as Vietnam who were attending the American University in Northern Cyprus. On the ferry ride over, I'd conversed with a young Turk who spoke good English and was moving over there for school and his father who spoke German.
After a confusing series of dolmus rides, I ended up somewhere around the village of Lapta and ended up wandering through olive groves.
Not only is the island of Cyprus incredibly small, but the north is even smaller. You could reach everywhere in a day trip. Girne to Nicosia was only around 30 minutes or so and it was only somewhat longer to Famagusta on the east coast of the island. It was indeed a fabulous city and had a venetian palace, the castle where Othello took place and also a wonderful church which had been converted to a Mosque as pictured below. One of the highlights was hooking up with a British couple who offered to drive me to nearby Salamis which was very difficult to get to without a car. I also learned a few ways to get around international embargos as the husband worked for a company that made diesel generators and had sold quite a few of them to Iraq through front companies in Cyprus.
Inside Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque (St. Nicholas Cathedral) located in downtown Famagusta, near the Venecian palace.
Outside the same mosque.
A fresco representing Jason and the Argonauts at the site of ancient Salamis.
Cyprus: Page 1 | Page 2
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