Explore Cyprus – The Hidden Spots

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Hidden Cyprus

The island of Cyprus is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Russians and not only. Beautiful beaches and attractions in abundance draw in millions of tourists. The small territory of Cyprus seems to have been explored by them up and down. But it is not really so. On the resort island, there are attractions that are not too famous, but this has not made them less interesting.

For those who are already tired of lying on the beach, and are eager to learn and see something new, here come a few tips on some amazing and wonderful locations. By the way, these sights are off the beaten path and perfect for those who are tired of noisy, crowded places.

Blood Lake Mitsero

Not far from Nicosia – the capital of Cyprus – there is a village called Mitsero. In its vicinity, there is a lake with the same name. A small reservoir with a length of 700 meters has an unusual colour of the water – red. It has become red due to the high content of iron ore in the soil. Actually, Mitsero is a man-made lake: once there was a mine here. When the mineral reserves got depleted, the field was abandoned. Gradually the quarry was filled with water, with minerals dissolved in it. The combination of iron ore and copper dust gave the water such an unusual colour, which varies depending on the light. It is noteworthy that there is no vegetation along the banks of Mitsero, and no living creatures are found in its waters. It is strictly forbidden to swim in the lake. There are few tourists, but photographers have long favoured Mitsero to take great and unusual shots here.

Those who want to see the lake with the of should go along the Nicosia-Palechori road (Nicosia — Palechori), and turn onto the Mitsero sign.

Gravity Hill

The gravity hill is located on the road between the cities of Paphos and Polis, near the village of Drussi. Here, people feel that they find themselves in a completely unusual place. In the anomalous zone, you can see how balls roll up the hill, and spilled water rises up. Of course, there is a scientific explanation for everything, but it is always interesting to see the so-called gravitational road itself and marvel at the wonders of nature.

There are similar places, for example, in Brazil, Australia, South Korea, and the USA. But Cyprus is, perhaps, the only country where beach holidays can be combined with such entertainment.

Othello’s Castle

In Northern Cyprus, in the historical part of the city of Famagusta, a medieval fortress has been preserved, called Othello’s Castle.

Legend has it that the towers were erected by the Lusignans to protect the harbor and the city. It was in this very place that the tragedy written by Shakespeare broke out, with the main character being jealous Moor Othello, who strangled his wife Desdemona. They say his prototype is Venetian Doge Cristoforo Moreau. He was the Governor of Cyprus from 1505 till 1508.

The first tower of the castle was built in 1218-1253. Venetians rebuilt the castle in the 15th century. Today Othello’s Castle hosts a historical museum.

Incorli Cave

Incirli Cave (Incirli magara), or Fig tree cave, is considered to be the largest underground kingdom on the island. Perhaps, there are bigger ones in Cyprus, as the islanders’ joke, but they have not yet been discovered. It is located in the Turkish part of the island, two kilometres from the village of Cinarli. The nearest town is Famagusta. To name the cave was easy. Not far from the entrance there is a fig tree growing, and the cave was named after it.

Local guides claim that its length is 311 meters. So far, only a small part of the underground kingdom is available – 70 meters. On the prepared route, the walls are strengthened, lighting is provided, and amateur speleologists are safe. The tourists are not allowed into the side branches so they do not get lost. The underground corridors are quite ample in width. The distance from the wall to wall in some places reaches seven meters, the height of the underground halls ranges from six to half a meter. So, sometimes you have to crawl through squatting mazes, but it’s better to avoid such narrow places.   

Experts have established that the cave was formed about 200 thousand years ago. The decoration of the underground kingdom – plaster stalactites, stalagmites and stalagnates. Legend has it that in ancient times, thieves and smugglers used to go into hiding there. Then, this refuge was forgotten for a long time. The cave was accidentally discovered by partisans who fought for the independence of Cyprus from the British colonialists. In 1995 it was landscaped and opened for tourists. There is an entrance fee to the cave.

«Preserved  forest” in the Botanical Garden. A walk through a green maze

The botanical garden with a labyrinth (“CyHerbia Herb Gardens”), a park with spicy herbs, is located in the village of Avgorou. When you get tired of the beach doing nothing, you are tempted to spend time in nature. The ideal place is the Botanical Garden.

Children won’t be bored here, the labyrinth draws them inside like a magnet. As for adults, they will enjoy a relaxing rest accompanied by herb tea.

There are several entrances in the green labyrinth. The main goal is to find a way to the tower, which is located in the center of the green labyrinth. Those who climb up the tower, can enjoy the magnificent view of the surroundings. Above, by the way, you can easily outline the route of the “escape ” in order not to stray along the green corridors for a long time. The length of the labyrinth is about 600 meters.

Visitors can enter all eight gardens – bath, medical, aromatic, a garden for pest control, relaxation, spices, traditional Cypriot and even women’s gardens. Actually, these are not even gardens, but peculiar plantations of various herbs. According to the owners, all plants are grown in an ecologically clean place, without using mineral fertilizers and toxic chemicals. In short, the herbs here are the most useful, and all the plants are supplied with sign plates, in the Russian language, too.

The Botanical Garden has its own tea ceremony, or rather, a tasting. Visitors can try a drink in the “tea house”. There is also a factory for the production of essential oils from plants. The main type of products is  lavender oil.   

In the garden, of course, there is a shop where you can buy all sorts of kitchen herbs, spices, perfumery and cosmetic products, which include the famous Cypriot herbs grown without the use of chemicals.

Tourists in the garden are welcome daily during the summer season from 9:00 to 19:00 (from May 1 till October 31), in winter from 9:00 to 17:00 (from November 1 till April 30). Adult tickets cost 5 Euros, tickets for children from 6 to 12 years old – 3 Euros, children under 6 years old can visit free of charge. The Botanical Garden is located near the village of Avgorou, not far from the city of Famagusta (Northern Cyprus).  

Achna  – Temple Tent

Next to the village of Achna, there is a chapel which is of unusual architecture in terms of the Christian tradition. The temple is built in the form of a tent. Such a project was chosen intentionally: the chapel was erected in memory of the tragic events of 1974. Let us remind you that as a result of the conflict between the two communities, the Greeks were expelled from the northern areas of the island. The refugees who were forced to flee their homes lived in tents. There is an image of the crucified Christ inside the small temple.

After the division of the island, the former residents of the village of Achna settled a few kilometres away from the houses they once owned – in the town of Dasaki- Achnas. By the way, there is a picturesque dam and a park-farm where donkeys are raised. 

The Railway Museum in Nicosia

In the capital of Cyprus, there is an unusual museum — of something that doesn’t exist. A few years ago, a railroad museum was opened in Nicosia, while more than 60 years have passed without this type of transport in the country.

The railway on the island was laid in 1905, the road connected the port city of Famagusta with the capital Nicosia and the city of Morphu. The length of the route is 115 kilometres, while there were almost four dozen stops on it. The main function of the road then was the transportation of goods. However, on the way they also served passengers. Over half a century of existence, more than 7.3 million people were transported along the Cyprus railway.   

In the middle of the last century, the economic efficiency of the road exploitation decreased, and in 1951-1952 due to low profitability, it was closed forever. Nevertheless, to this day, having avoided recycling, some rarities of the Cyprus government railway “survived” and became museum exhibits. It took a year for enthusiasts to gather them in one place and organize a museum, placing it in six halls. In the courtyard on the “eternal parking” they display a rail car, a locomotive and a trolley. The exhibits can not only be admired, visitors are allowed to climb into the car, to feel like a driver, taking his workplace. The organizers shot a documentary. It tells the story of the construction and operation of the island’s main railway. In the halls of the museum are photographs of the 40-50s of the last century, models and drawings of the stations. There are also a rarity clock that once was at one of the stations. The bell became a symbol of the closure of the road. It was the bell that announced the departure of the last train. This happened on the last day of 1951.  The museum is located in Nicosia, Vironos Street, 32 (next to the Old Bridge bookstore). It is open on weekdays from 10.00 to 13.00 and from 16.00 to 18.00. On Saturday – from 10.00 to 14.00. Closed on Sundays.