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.