Knowledge of Northern Cyprus
This country is divided into Turkish (North) and Greek (Southern), where both Turkish and Greek are official languages in cyprus island. More than 90% of the Greek and Turk population is fluent in English. The Greeks are Orthodox Christians and the Turks are Muslims.
Cyprus island gained independence from Britain in 1960 and the independent government of Cyprus was established on the basis of participation of the Turkish and Greek communities in management of island. Britain, Greece and Turkey guaranteed the sovereignty of the Cypriot government. In 1974, the northern part of Cyprus was occupied by Turkey and the Turks declared their independence in this region and renamed themselves the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, commonly referred to as Northern Cyprus, is not recognized by any country other than Turkey.
The political situation on the island of Cyprus is complex. Despite the tensions, more than 4 million tourists flock to Cyprus each year due to the hot and sunny weather, long sandy beaches and sparkling waters of the Mediterranean sea, and most of them cross the border into Northern Cyprus.
In this article, we do not tell you why you should visit Northern Cyprus. Instead, we assume that you have been thinking about traveling before, or at least want to know more about this isolated and controversial part of Europe. We hope we can satisfy your curiosity and convince you that any visit to Northern Cyprus will be fun, engaging, safe and comfortable.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is currently practically located north of the United Nations buffer zone, known as the Green Line. Turkey is the only country that recognizes it, while the rest of the international community still considers Northern Cyprus a part of the Republic of Cyprus.
Supporters of the Republic of Cyprus on the island may identify the northern part of the country as occupied Cyprus. The southern part of the island is an independent republic called the Republic of Cyprus, sometimes called “Greek Cyprus”. An interesting fact about Cyprus is that Greek culture can be considered the culture of people, but they are by no means part of Greece. The whole island and the Republic of Cyprus are a part of the European Union, although that does not apply to the northern part of the island, which are governed under Turkish control.
Travel to Northern Cyprus
Ercan International Airport is the only international airport in Northern Cyprus. Planes fly to and from Ercan airport through Turkey.
Crossing the Green Line
One of the most common border crossings between two sides of Cyprus is on “Ledra Street” in Nicosia capital (Lefkosha). Here, you will find a relatively quiet-looking border crossing for pedestrians, where both police officers ask you to present your passport. This process is very easy and you will cross the border in a few minutes.
Security in Northern Cyprus
Despite the political tensions and often significant military presence near the border areas, Northern Cyprus is now completely safe and the vast majority of visitors will not experience any problems during their trip. The political situation is somewhat tense, but there is no violence. The number of crimes is relatively small and statistically lower than in Southern Cyprus.
Language in Northern Cyprus
The main language in Northern Cyprus is Istanbul Turkish. Most people know English and the staff in shops, restaurants and hotels speak English well. Signs and leaflets are generally written in both Turkish and English and sometimes Greek. German and Russia is also common in TRNC.
Names of places in Cyprus
Because Cyprus has two influential ethnic groups, many cities in Northern Cyprus are known by two names, one Greek and one Turkish. For example, the popular tourist city of Kyrenia (Greek origin) is also known as Girne (Turkish) and the capital Nicosia is also known as Lefgosha by Turkish people. Older paintings in North Cyprus show only Greek names and newer paintings show only Turkish. Buses and minibuses also generally indicate their destination in Turkish.
Money in Northern Cyprus
Unusual political situation in Northern Cyprus means that there is also an unusual monetary system. Major currency in Northern Cyprus is Turkish lira, although Euro, US Dollar and British Pound are also widely accepted. With all the options, we recommend that you pay your daily expenses only in Turkish Lira, as this option offers you almost exclusively a higher value. In more touristy areas, prices may be shown in Euros only to accommodate travelers passing through Southern Cyprus. Payment by bank card is accepted in larger shops and restaurants and smaller stores only accept cash. It is best to always have cash with you.
ATMs can be easily found in most areas and most of them accept foreign cards. Almost all of them offer English language options. Most ATMs only pay in Turkish lira, although some also pay in Euros and Pounds.
Since January 1, 2008, Southern Cyprus has adopted the Euro as its official currency. But in practice, and from the interesting facts about Cyprus, it must be said that many of the country’s traders use a wide range of foreign currencies. The Cyprus pound has been gradually phased out in recent years, and the Northern Cyprus region continues to use Turkish Lira as its official currency.
Car rental in Northern Cyprus
Renting a car in Northern Cyprus is as simple as in other European countries. You can do this at the service center or you can ask your hotel to arrange it for you or even book online in advance.
In general, cars rented in Southern Cyprus can drive only in the south and cars rented in Northern Cyprus can only drive in the north. Some companies offer additional insurance policies for both areas, so if you plan to drive across the border, keep these in mind.
Driving in Northern Cyprus
As a result of the former British colonial rule, drivers are driving left across Cyprus. When renting a car, expect the steering wheel to be on the right. Traffic signs are the same all over Europe with additional information written in Turkish and English. Place names are written in a combination of Turkish and Greek, so it is best to know both types of destination names. Speed limits are also well illustrated. There are also speed cameras very often. Getting a driver’s license is also relatively easy in Cyprus. You can use Google Maps on your mobile phone to help you navigate the roads of Northern Cyprus.
Buses and minibuses in Northern Cyprus
Private minibuses run on throughout the region. These minibuses are available in all streets and colors, but most are white and cream. You can see the origin and destination of these buses in the windshield. You can notify the driver whenever you want the bus to stop along the way.
Fares are relatively cheap, between 5 and 7 lira for local services and up to about 10 lira for longer distances. Normally, pay the driver before the bus arrives.
Taxis in North cyprus
There are many taxi companies in Northern Cyprus, especially in and around major cities. Depending on the company, you can book taxis either by phone or online, or you can take a taxi at the stations. Prices are very reasonable compared to European standards.
Most taxis have a meter, but most are not used. So before boarding, ask driver how much the fare will be.
Mobile use in Northern Cyprus
Only two Turkish mobile networks operate in Northern Cyprus. KKTC Telsim (operated by Vodafone) and KKTC Cell (operated by Turkcell). We recommend you use a local SIM card for your trip. SIM card packages typically include 50 minutes of international calls, 500 text messages, and 10 GB of Internet access. Activation instructions are included in SIM card package and can be activated simply by sending a code to a number. It is possible to buy SIM card packages from the relevant mobile network stores or from supermarkets. EU residents cannot use free roaming in Northern Cyprus, so keep this in mind if you want to avoid unexpected costs.
working hours in North Cyprus
Working hours are some different in summer and winter. In general, shops and businesses are open from 8:30 to 18:00, and some of them are closed for one or two hours around noon in summer.
Cats and dogs in Northern Cyprus
Cats and stray dogs can be found everywhere in Northern Cyprus and may even appear in restaurants and shops. Almost all the animals on the streets seem to be in good health. Some of them are clearly labeled to indicate that they have been inspected by municipality. The locals are very tolerant and kind with cats and often keep the doors open for them. They pet them and feed them most of the time.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean
Cyprus is known as the third largest island in the Mediterranean. The island covers an area of 9,251 square kilometers and is home for about 1 million people, making it the second largest island in the Mediterranean sea after Sicily and Sardinia. Interesting thing is that the island of Sardinia, which is three times the size of Cyprus, has a population almost equal to Cyprus, and that is why its said that Cyprus is an island with a very high population density, especially its capital, Nicosia. Other island cities are some crowded.
Capital of Cyprus, is the only capital that is divided into two parts!
An interesting and of course sad fact about the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, is that its the only capital in the whole world that is divided into two parts! In fact, the island of Cyprus is divided into two parts, Turkish and Greek, and therefore its capital is divided into northern and southern parts. In fact, it was the Turks who invaded northern Cyprus in 1974 and occupied the northern part of Cyprus. But the southern part of Cyprus, or the Greek part of Cyprus, is the part of the world known as the Republic of Cyprus. Of course, the division of Nicosia also had a positive point, and that was that the Turks and Greeks of Cyprus, with the help of this division of lands, were able to have peaceful companionship and trade relations with each other.