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International Folk Dance Festival

Iskele, North Cyprus

People all over the world express their ethnic traditions in music and dance. Whether these traditions are ancient or relatively modern, each expresses the soul of its respective community.

Folklore occupies a very important place with Cypriots, who because of their geographic location, have benefited from a variety of cultures. Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Turks have all influenced the cultural heritage of the island.

The dances of Cyprus Turkish folklore have the same characteristics of the Zeybek dances of Anatolia. Its costumes, music and dance figures completely reflect this type of dance. The Zeybek dances in its costumes, and its music are particular to the Turkish nation. Zeybek has its origin in the middle, west and south Anatolia, and has been brought to Cyprus by people emigrating from these parts. The word "Zeybek" itself has been adopted by the Greeks, and the same dances performed by them under the same name.

The Iskele Municipality Folk Dance Group was formed in 1987. It currently has around 300 members, and has represented the TRNC in both national and international competitions. Its aim is to educate the Turkish Cypriot youth in their own folk history, and to introduce this aspect of their culture to other nations.

The Iskele Folk dance festival is arranged annually around the end of June, and lasts about a week. The festival is international, attracting groups from around the world. The festival is not a competition, but rather a way to bring the beauty of all cultures together. Performances tend to be in the evening, allowing the participants to explore North Cyprus during the day.