Karpaz

The remote Karpaz Peninsula or “Panhandle” of Cyprus stretches approximately 80 kilometres from the north of Famagusta to the northern-most tip of Cyprus, with beautiful unspoilt landscapes offering untouched beaches, rolling hills, carob trees and crops.

The region acts as the nature reserve of North Cyprus, hosting around 46 sandy beaches that provide nesting grounds for the endangered Green Sea Turtle and the Caretta Caretta or Loggerhead Sea Turtle.  The tip of the peninsula is a protected area so as to allow not only the rare female turtles to lay their eggs, but also giving  the quail and other birds living there, a chance to nest safely.

The turtles find themselves sharing the pine,       cypress and marquis tree-lined peninsula of Karpaz with many other species including amphibians, reptiles, insects and around 1,600 species of plant giving the region a feeling of sanctuary.

You will also find wild donkeys ambling along the roads, and do not be surprised if you have to halt your vehicle whilst large numbers of goats cross into nearby fields aided by their goatherd and a yapping dog.

Karpaz is also highlighted by the mosques and churches punctuating the region, and Kantara castle could perhaps be described as being situated at the base of the peninsula and observes both the shorelines along the north coast and that of Famagusta.

Kantara is the islands easternmost castle and it is said to be the setting for where the first and last emperor of Cyprus, Isaac Komnenos, surrendered to Richard the Lionheart in 1911.

At over 700m above sea level, Kantara offers spectacular views of both the north and south coast.

At the other end of the peninsula, approximately 5km from the far cape you will find the  Apostolos Andreas Monastery, dedicated to Apostole Andrew whom legend has it performed a miracle and summoned forth a spring of fresh water on the shore, which he used to heal the sick and afflicted.

Pilgrims to the Monastery have been performed ever since and remains a popular tourist destination, considered a holy place by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots visiting to pray for miracles.  Today you will able to attend the Sunday services there and visit the various stalls around the site selling trinkets and souvenirs.

Having travelled all the way to the Monastery, you will want to complete your journey by continuing on a 15-20 minute drive to the very tip of the island.

Zafer Burnu (also known as cape Apostolos Andreas), was once home to the Kastros, an early Neolithic settlement in Northern Cyprus, and lies at the tip of the finger-like Karpaz region pointing decidedly to Syria.

As you progress along towards the end of the cape, you will be able to enjoy looking at both the northern and southern coasts of the island. Climbing up on to the cave riddled rocky summit, you will find a wonderfully cool breeze, amidst the grassy area where once stood the ancient temple of Aphrodite.

Although there are no remains, it is said that the temple acted as either a warning to sailors of the jeopardous rocks below, or more likely to be used by the goddess to lure them to her.

Many visitors to the island do not feel that their time in Northern Cyprus is complete until they have made the journey through Karpaz to Zafer Burnu, and experienced standing on the ‘finger tip’ of Cyprus, taking  in the dramatic waves pounding on the rocks and the feeling of serenity the cape inevitably wraps you up in.

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