Northern Cyprus is an exciting destination, as you’re sure to discover after just a short time.
The people are all super friendly, the weather always seems nice, and the food is insanely delicious. There, you would definitely want to stay a little longer.
Culture in the north of the island of Cyprus differs in many respects from that in the southern part of the country.
This has its origin in the varied history because both parts were shaped for a long time by different cultures.
Accordingly, you will enjoy an entirely different travel experience in the northern part of the big island in the Mediterranean Sea.
In this article, you will learn how unique Northern Cyprus is, along with the historical background and what you can do there.
Northern Cyprus – History, Culture and Interesting Places
Why You Should Definitely Visit Northern Cyprus?
The north of the island is particularly impressive for its warm-hearted inhabitants. Many visitors have found it hard to say goodbye to this impressive destination.
Whether it’s the beautiful beaches, delicious food, or pleasant temperatures, you’re sure to feel right at home in North Cyprus.
But the best is yet to come. In the north of Cyprus, you can get by much cheaper than in the south. Especially because the Turkish lira is used as a means of payment, you benefit from a much better exchange rate.
To get to Cyprus, you will, of course, have to book a flight. We can recommend you Skyscanner in particular for this purpose.
The History of Northern Cyprus
As in many other countries, the current state of division of Cyprus has a historical background.
Of course, we could digress further here; however, the most interesting part of today’s Cyprus took place from the 16th century.
However, if you want to learn even more about the country’s history, which goes back to the Roman Empire, just take a look here: North Cyprus History.
For a long time, the entire Mediterranean island was part of the Ottoman Empire. During this time accordingly, numerous Turkish inhabitants settled in Cyprus.
From the year 1878, the British, as they offered support to the Ottomans against the Russians, could also build some military sites on the island due to the gratitude of their allies at the time.
However, after the First World War ended, the Ottoman Empire disintegrated. Since the British still had some military bases on the island, the island became a British colony.
In addition, more and more Greeks came to Cyprus to build a new life there.
After the Second World War had also been over, many Greek Cypriots wanted to push for the annexation of their country to Greece.
On the other hand, Turkish Cypriots had no interest at all in losing their homeland to Greece. The solution was for Cyprus to become an independent state.
Cyprus was finally officially established in 1957; Greece, Turkey, and Britain recognized the Mediterranean island as an independent state.
But unfortunately, the peace did not last long; on the Greek side, there were always efforts to force a connection to Greece. Often they used violence, which finally degenerated into a civil war.
The climax culminated in an attempted coup against the then Cypriot President Makarios. Because of this event, the United Nations also introduced the so-called “Green Line,” which separates Cyprus’s southern and northern parts from each other and runs through the capital Nicosia.
In 1983, the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” was proclaimed for the northern, predominantly Turkish population. However, only Turkey recognizes this country; all others consider the entire island as a common state.
The year 2002 also began again pronounced dialogues between the two sides; a year later, the borders between South and North Cyprus were also reopened.
Of course, until now, there are efforts to reunite the country. Especially from the Turkish-influenced side, there are efforts to rejoin the rest of the Mediterranean island.
Unfortunately, this is mainly met with rejection in the Greek-influenced southern part. Of course, this is only a rough summary of the historical background of Northern Cyprus.
If we were to look at all the details from every possible perspective, we could write whole books about it. If you want to learn even more about the background of the Cyprus conflict, check this out: Wikipedia – Cyprus dispute.
The Culture in the North of Cyprus
The culture of the Turkish part of Cyprus is extremely diverse. Especially influences from the side of Turkey and other countries in the closer Mediterranean region you will hardly be able to overlook during your visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
In North Cyprus, religion is not interpreted too strictly. While in other Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey or Jordan, regular attendance at a mosque could be a part of everyday life, a few Muslims do so in Northern Cyprus.
The inhabitants are convinced that the inner attitude for a religion is clearly more important than regular prayers.
Of course, despite this, there are a few typical customs.
Should you not know these, however, you will hardly encounter horrified faces. However, if you think about the traditions and customs of the population beforehand and try to live up to them, you are guaranteed to get lots of new friends in the north of the island in the Mediterranean.
Especially when it comes to Ramadan, the locals will thank you for respecting their customs. Nevertheless, we will present to you the most important rules.
When you meet with a local, be sure to shake his hand and look him in the eye. In addition, it is considered extremely rude if you do not say goodbye to every person personally as soon as you leave the house again.
Furthermore, as soon as you enter your host’s home or a mosque, be sure to remove your shoes. It is also traditional to bring at least a small gift as a guest. Even sweets are enough, so you do not have to rush into expenses.
The family is probably one of the most important parts of life for the Cypriot Turks. For this reason, the families spend almost all their free time together on the road and do just about everything together. Whether it’s a wedding or a simple picnic, every activity involves the entire family.
One of the biggest celebrations you can attend in the Turkish part of Cyprus is weddings. These are huge celebrations, with even the most remote members traveling from distant relatives to witness the spectacle.
The cost of the wedding and the house in which the young couple lives are borne by the groom’s family. This is to ensure that the young couple can enjoy their new life without financial hardship.
Local Cuisine in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Since the Turks had an enormous influence on the culture of the Cypriots, you will probably not be surprised that there are also numerous dishes of Turkish cuisine on the menu of the locals.
You can enjoy these with a local family as well as in a local restaurant. For a rough overview of the best restaurants in the Ottoman part of Cyprus, check out onlinetourismpartner – best restaurants in north cyprus.
Cypriot cuisine is even considered extremely healthy thanks to its Mediterranean influences that are also present. Many of the country’s typical dishes contain meat, but vegetarians and vegans are also guaranteed something.
However, the local cuisine also differs from place to place in the northern region of Cyprus. Trendy dishes such as Lahmacun, Börek, and Köfte you will find in every place, but partly the way of preparation or the choice of ingredients used in the individual cities may differ from each other.
Traditionally, a meal in Cyprus begins with a so-called “meze.” This is a selection of both cold and hot appetizers. After the main course, there is usually also a sweet dessert, such as lokum, halva, or baklava.
Equally important is Turkish coffee, which is a significant part of the everyday life of the locals. However, you can, of course, drink a beer, wine, or other beverage of your choice if you prefer.
However, you don’t have to stick only to Ottoman cuisine during your vacation in North Cyprus. You will also find more than enough international restaurants there.
So if you fancy Italian, French or Asian cuisine, you come to the north of the third-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.
We can understand that so much choice is, of course, also overwhelming. Since you will certainly have difficulty deciding.
But to make it a little easier for you, take a look at The Culture Trip to find out what the best food in Cyprus is.
Places You Must Visit in Northern Cyprus
Nicosia is separated into a northern Turkish part and a southern Greek-influenced part.
However, you may also encounter the name “Lefkosa,” which is the Turkish name of the same city. Since it is the capital of Cyprus, you will also discover all sorts of sights there.
The so-called Green Line, the border between the two states; passes through the middle of Nicosia.
In fact, today, it is the only divided city in the world because of the political situation.
However, crossing the border is not a problem at all; you’d better have your ID or passport with you anyway.
On the Turkish side of the city, impressive mosques await you, especially the Selimiye Mosque should be at the top of your bucket list.
What’s particularly impressive is that this was not built as a mosque but never have been a complete Gothic church either.
However, we can’t cover all the possible sights. If you need more ideas, just check out TripAdvisor.
The port city of Famagusta is located in the east of the island. It has such strategic importance for the country mainly since the port is one of the deepest on the whole island.
In the thousand-year history of the city have naturally accumulated some impressive cultural attractions that you can visit. Among others, you can visit the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque or pay a visit to Othello Castle.
Kyrenia is located directly beneath the mountain of the same name and at the same time near the sea. In addition, numerous historical sites await you, which reach far back into the history of the city.
Especially the old town you should put high on your bucket list. But also for hikes in the mountains or a day at the beach, Kyrenia is ideal. In addition, you can also visit sights.