Then some Czech tourists take buses to the north of the island. Here there is another boundary, the Green Line, which divides the Greek and Turkish parts of the island. However, it is recommended to use a passport to enter the Turkish passport called the Republic of Northern Cyprus. Czech tourists take this double check as a minor complication.
“Customers who fly with us to this destination will land in the southern part of the island, and the northern part is about fifty kilometers away,” said Ilona Topolova, a spokeswoman for travel agency Blue Style, which included Northern Cyprus in its presentation. “The checks are not difficult, but the fact is that if the traffic is more dense, the crossing can be easily extended. However, Northern Cyprus definitely deserves less delay,” Topulova adds.
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Many tourists are also looking forward to a trip to the island city of Nicosia, which is also divided into two parts. Even there, you can visit the entire historical part with a short stop at the border crossing in the city center. At its heart are streets closed by the mighty Venetian walls.
Northern Cyprus, although there are Turkish and Turkish flags everywhere, and in almost every village there are statues of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, is part of the federation. Even when it comes to currency. True, they have the Turkish lira as the official currency. But due to the massive inflation that has reached almost one hundred percent, everyone is looking to get rid of it. In restaurants, kiosks and shops their prices are in euros and usually belong to tourists.
Turks hold European passports
At least tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots living in the north of the island hold an EU passport in addition to the passport of their unrecognized state or their Turkish passport. “Recently, a major scandal erupted in Northern Cyprus when it became clear that several EU ministers had an EU passport,” said an EU diplomat. He adds that “the Republic of Cyprus does not oppose the issuance of passports to people born in Northern Cyprus, they are citizens of the territory of the European Union, and therefore they have the right to a Cypriot passport from the Union.”
But it wasn’t just about passports. If tourists go to see the famous castle in Famagusta, the place where the story of Shakespeare’s Othello took place, they may notice a sign with the European Union emblem. They say how much the Union contributed from its funds to the reconstruction of this wonderful monument, which was erected during the reign of the rulers of the Knights Templar in Cyprus. This is not unique. The European Union funds projects worth tens of billions of crowns in Northern Cyprus. The reason is simple.
“The entire territory of Cyprus is the territory of the European Union,” clarifies the Czech ambassador to Nicosia Vladimir Nomic Denik. The Union adds that it considers Northern Cyprus a territory in which EU law does not apply temporarily.
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A tourist, unless they go against local laws or end up uninsured in the hospital, knows one thing: fares and phone calls. They have reached incredible heights that we have forgotten thanks to roaming the European Union.
The influence of Islam in the north is very minimal, you can buy alcohol everywhere, the clothes are very European, and in general the Turkish part of Cyprus has a secular impression similar to the Greek south of the island. Most importantly, Turkish Cypriots are left with the most beautiful beaches on the island in the north.
Talks between the two parts of the island have not taken place for years, and let’s add that in 2004, the Greek Cypriots rejected the UN plan to unify the island in a referendum. “If it had been up to us residents, we would have solved the problems a long time ago,” says Mehmet, 30, owner of a goldsmith’s shop in Kyrenia (Giren, Turkey). “But our big brothers prevent us from doing this, today mainly Turkey,” he adds.
Today, the European Union, with the help of European funds, mainly supports civil society and democratic institutions in the North. But even so, everything is far from a solution. Czech tourists can see this in Varos. This most beautiful and world-famous resort in Cyprus on the outskirts of Famagusta has been a ghost town since 1974. The Turkish army expelled the Turkish Cypriot landlords from Varosha, who, by invading Cyprus, responded to an attempt by the then Greek military junta to fully annex Cyprus to Greece.
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The Northern Cypriot administration, which was once a city of 40,000 inhabitants, was trying to bring it back to life. The problem is that it has not reached an agreement with the Greek Cypriot owners of local hotels or the government in Nicosia, but it is acting on its own. Visiting Varosha, where roads and lights have been restored and you can bike for two hours on a euro, is an exotic experience. The city is an open-air museum in 1974, when the Greek Cypriots were forced to leave the city. The Turks have only restarted the beaches, many restaurants and hotels. The lovely swimming pool next to the dilapidated houses is a nice touch.
A tourist from the Czech Republic can take advantage of this as residents of the island. “In normal life, Cyprus unites. There is hope for that,” says Ambassador Nemek. And when you go to the “Turkish” north, you can balance it out with shopping in better stores in the Greek part of divided Nicosia.
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