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Guzelyurt (Morphou)

North Cyprus

The weekly market at Guzelyurt (Morphou), North Cyprus
Guzelyurt Market

Guzelyurt  is a market town located in the west of North Cyprus, and is the regional capital of the Guzelyurt district. It is one of the richest agricultural areas of North Cyprus, famous particularly for the citrus (orange, lemon & grapefruit) and strawberries. They thrive in Guzelyurt's fertile red soil. A large portion of the citrus fruit is exported, and the rest is made into fruit juice and canned for local consumption as well as export.

The town was founded by the Spartans, who brought with them the worship of Aphrodite. In the middle ages, the city was referred to as Morphou, and also Theomorphou. The Morphou area grew more than half of Cyprus's citrus fruits.

Guzelyurt is not a typical tourist destination, but it is interesting to those who want to see a part of North Cyprus not in the least affected by tourism. You can enjoy your holiday in the peace and quiet of its natural surroundings. Guzelyurt is an ideal picnic spot for those who want to escape from the noise and rush of the city life and spend the day in peace and quiet. In spring, the light breezes scatter the white orange blossoms, and you can smell the fragrance from all around, while in other seasons the golden oranges and lemons shine on the trees.

St Mamas Monastery, Guzelyurt (Morphou), North Cyprus
St Mamas Monastery

Guzelyurt is famous for its annual Orange Festival, which is a major event lasting for two weeks every June. It also hosts a culture and arts festival annually in May.

Visit the former monastery of St Mamas, originally Byzantine with Gothic establishments. St Mamas is popularly known as the patron saint of tax avoiders. He was a poor hermit, and when the authorities tried to tax him, he evaded them. Soldiers were sent out to capture him, but on the way back to the town, he saw a lion attacking a lamb. He escaped the soldiers, saved the lamb and jumped onto the lions back and rode into town. His bravery earned him exemption from tax, hence his traditional attribute. The church is an icon museum now, and the images of St Mamas on his lion are quite amusing. No one at that time had seen a lion, so the iconography is not exactly lifelike.

Guzelyurt also houses a natural history and archaeological museum, with a collection ranging from the prehistoric age to the Byzantine period.

For a comprehensive list of places to visit, look at our Places of Interest section.