Lefke

Guzelyurt and Lefke Region

The Vibrant Tones of Orange, Green and Blue Await Visitors to the Guzelyurt and Lefke Region

This greenest corner of the island, with its citrus groves and its rich and varied culture and history, is an oasis of peace and calm. This is a place where one can just sit in the shade of a tree and watch the turquoise waters of the sea or, if you feel like it, wander around the evocative ruins of Soli or, from a dizzying height above the Mediterranean, watch the sun go down over the ruins of the Vouni Palace, the sole extant example of Persian culture on the island. The Ancient City of Soli was one of the nine ancient city states of Cyprus and today its magnificent Swan Mosaic, dated from the 4th century A.D. is on display at the site. In 2005 gold artifacts were discovered here; – the “Golden Leaves of Soli”, which can now be seen in Guzelyurt Museum of Archaeology and Natural History. During Ottoman rule Turks migrated to Lefke and consequently the area is known for its mosques and Ottoman mansions. The area is also famous for its aqueducts, date palms and citrus groves.

This region is especially endowed by nature and is home to several species of orchild and other endemic flora including the Medos Tulip (Tulipa Cypria) There are also a great many monumental trees in the region, most notably the monumental olive trees of Kalkanli area.

The History of Lefke

Enchanting of Lefke

There are many theories relating to how the town came to be named “Lefke” but perhaps the most likely is that it was from “Lefkon”, the son of one of Alexander the Great’s generals, Ptolemy Philedelphus. It is said that the region was given to him as a wedding presenr in order for him to found a town which was at first known by his name of Lefkon or Leukon but which, in time, changed into Lefke. There are several sites of historical interest in the area from the Byzantine, Venetian, Ottoman and British Period.

Nonetheless, it is Lefke’s unrivalled natural green splendour which mainly attracts visitors. Situated in the North west of the island at a distance of 62 km from Nicosia and 68 km from Kyrenia, Lefke has, throughout history, been a ideal place of settlement, helped no doubt by its pleasant climate, plentiful water supplies, productive soil and also, importantly, its rich copper reserves.

The Ottoman period, in particular, left many striking works in the town and its environs. The remnants of other civilizations, too: – Roman, Venetian and the British Administration can be seen. The vast copper mines of  Cyprus Mining Corporation which began operating in 1914 and continued up to 1975 operated mainly in the Lefke area. Lefke’s golden years were between 1940 – 1950 when copper mining was at its peak and the population of the town increased to 15.000. In 1990 the European University of Lefke began operations and today attracts around 3000 students. There are approximately 2000 date trees originating from Egypt in the area and the baskets made from their fronds were used to bring the mined copper  ore from the underground mines to the surface.