Guzelyurt

Situated in the north-west Guzelyurt is one of the richest agricultural areas in North Cyprus, full of citrus groves and producing the most beautiful peaches, melons, strawberries dates and other soft fruits on the island, as well as potatoes, aubergines, okra, peppers, other vegetables and varieties of nuts.  The underwater springs in the region keep the crops nourished, making the produce exceptionally flavoursome.

Guzelyurt is best known for being a market town where this array of wonderful locally grown foods are sold (many of the citrus fruits are exported), and has a hugely bustling trade on a Saturday when those from nearby towns and villages descend upon the market to buy, sell and walk around taking in the fragrances and atmosphere.   Guzelyurt is also famous for its two week annual Orange Festival that takes place during the month of June, and began in 1977 as a celebration of the orange harvest.

This part of Northern Cyprus is wonderfully picturesque and unspoilt, and has not been affected by tourism.  The translation of Guzelyurt literally has the meaning of ‘beautiful homeland’ in the Turkish language, and it is easy to see why it was named so, especially during the spring or autumn months when you will catch the trees in full bloom, or at the time of the fruit and vegetable harvests.

Guzelyurt is also the home of the monastery of St Mamas, and the church in the monastery was thought to have been originally built by the Byzantines.  Reconstruction has taken place many times over the centuries however, and it does house characteristics from the Luisgnan and Venetian periods.

The structure dates back to around the 18th century, although the monastery buildings are now home to local businesses.

Another place of interest in the town is the Guzelyurt Museum of Archaeology and Nature, containing examples of Cyprus wildlife and some of the more weird and wonderful creatures, such as a two-headed lamb.  The archaeology section contains examples of pottery, lamps, tableware and other artefacts from the Neolithic and Bronze ages.

Findings from the nearby late Bronze Age settlement of Tomba Tou Skourou are also housed in the museum.  The settlement is believed to have been a town where copper was worked and exported during the Bronze Age, and the rich historical findings indicates it was a town with much prosperity.  Toumba Tou Skourou can be found on the northern outskirts of Guzelyurt .

The Soli Ruins are also to be found in the Guzelyurt region and are the ruins of an ancient city, containing the remnants of an amphitheatre, basilica and mosaics.

 

Guzelyurt is beguilingly fragrant and serene place, full of history making it a recommended visit for those wishing to have a traditional and cultural experience of the island.

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