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If you are interested in history…

Visit the ancient ruins of Salamis, the mountaintop castles of Kyrenia or the various museums with exhibits ranging from religious paintings and archaeological finds to shipwrecks and military tanks.

North Cyprus has thousands of years of history to explore...

history tank old tourism

The famous tank hidden in the Kyrenia mountains

Discover the past with sunshine…

With over 10,000 years of history, Cyprus has been occupied by almost all of the civilisations in the Mediterranean, giving the island a culture reflective of all the different rulers. Divided into 10 different city states in the 10th Century BC, Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire and freed Cyprus in around 332BC. The island was then conquered by the Romans in the 1st Century BC when Christianity was introduced to the island. In the centuries to follow Cyprus was ruled in turn by the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Persians and the Greeks. In around 1185AD, Cyprus became an independent empire under the rule of Isaak Comnenus. The 16th Century saw the island taken over by the Ottoman empire with many bloody uprisings during the years that followed. In 1878 British occupation began on the island.

Some of the museums in North Cyprus showcase early artefacts of the Neolithic period from as long ago as 9000BC, with a large collection of artefacts at St. Barnabas Monastery and the remains of an ancient shipwreck from around 300BC in the Kyrenia Shipwreck Museum. The ancient ruins of Salamis date back as far as 1100BC when it was the capital of Cyprus and are one of the most popular tourist attractions in North Cyprus. 

kyrenia history flags tank

Read about the history of the tank

After the missions of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas in 58 BC to convert the island to Christianity, Cyprus became a province of the expanding Roman Empire. When the Roman Empire eventually collapsed, it became one with the Byzantine Empire, placing Cyprus firmly on the map in terms of commercial trade. Exports of olive oil, copper, carob and wine flourished.

Several earthquakes in succession then destroyed the city of Salamis in the 4th Century and at the same time, drought and famine overcame the island.

The Arab raids of the 7th Century AD drastically affected the trade in Cyprus, which had a knock-on effect for over 300 years afterwards. The harsh rule of the last Byzantine Emperor Isaac Comnenus did little to improve the lives of the Cypriots with punishing taxes and curtailment of individual freedom. By around the 12th Century, Cyprus had become a target for the crusaders, in particular, Richard the Lionheart, who landed in Limassol on the 1st June 1191 in search of his sister and his bride Berengaria, as their ships had been separated in a storm. The Byzantine Emperor Isaac refused to return the hostages, so Richard attacked and forced Isaac to surrender. The island was then given over to the King of England and Richard's army continued to occupy the island, raising taxes and eventually he sold the island to the Knights Templar.

The Lusignans soon took over establishing the Kingdom of Cyprus, declaring Latin the official language. After the death of Amalric of Lusignan, the kingdom passed over to a series of young boys who became kings. Another massive earthquake in 1222 caused a tsunami with a magnitude of 7.5 which destroyed the castle at Paphos and killed most of the inhabitants of the city.

kyrenia castle ship wreck museum

Amazing shipwreck museum in the Kyrenia Castle

With such a long and varied history, Cyprus has a wealth of historical sites for you to explore. Some of the sites we recommend you see on your North Cyprus holiday are:

  • Kyrenia Shipwreck Museum
  • Kantara Castle
  • St. Barnabas Monastery
  • Salamis Ruins
  • Bellapais Abbey
  • Kyrenia Castle
  • St. Mamas Church & Icon Museum
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View Our Full Collection of Cyprus Hotels and Accommodation

Take a look at our collections of holiday types to help you decide on your perfect Cyprus holiday, or alternatively, call one of our expert holiday advisors who will be happy to help you choose. Please click the links below to view all of our Cyprus hotels:

Amazing North Cyprus Holidays

With the tranquillity and natural beauty of the Levant, the fascinating medieval ports and castles of Kyrenia and Famagusta and the best Mediterranean climate, there is something for everyone to enjoy on a holiday to North Cyprus. Whether a family vacation or a getaway break for two, the rare blend of delights on offer in Northern Cyprus is guaranteed to leave you with fond memories of your stay. The north of this beautiful island really does give you the best of Cyprus holidays!

Cyprus Paradise Holidays

Cyprus Paradise has introduced thousands of travellers to the delights of a North Cyprus holiday over the last 26 years. We are fully ATOL protected, to ensure your holiday is completely secure financially for your peace of mind. We make it our goal to exceed the expectations of everyone who travels with us – you can book holidays to Cyprus with Cyprus Paradise in the knowledge that you are in the best possible hands.

Hotels in North Cyprus

Whether this will be your first experience of North Cyprus, or you are one of the many holiday-makers who return to the island year after year, Cyprus Paradise should be your first choice. Cyprus Paradise is a specialist UK based tour operator offering the widest range of quality hotels in North Cyprus. With over 26 years experience in selling holidays to the island, no one knows North Cyprus quite like we do!

To most visitors, a North Cyprus holiday means Kyrenia, and Kyrenia means Kyrenia Harbour. Kyrenia is an ideal base to explore North Cyprus, and it has some of the island's best accommodation, yet the serene beauty of the countryside is never far away. Kyrenia is full of architectural interest and things to do. Visit our Discover Kyrenia page to read more about some of the most beautiful hotels and package holidays Kyrenia has to offer. read more...

Famagusta is an area of truly outstanding natural beauty, where it is possible to drive for hours without seeing another car. As well as villages seemingly frozen in time, the Karpaz offers mile after mile of open countryside and deserted beaches. Venture north from Famagusta during your North Cyprus holiday, and sited on the coast a few miles away, you will find the historical ruins of Salamis. read more...

The Bafra region is a beautiful and tranquil area, and is home to some of the most attractive landscapes on the island. Located between Famagusta and the Karpaz Peninsula, Bafra is a great place to stay during your North Cyprus holiday to experience the beautiful countryside and deserted beaches.

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