Part of the plan for my spring trip to KKTC was to explore the Karpas Peninsula (Karpaşa in Turkish). It’s the most easterly and remote part of KKTC, and relatively undeveloped.
According to my trusty Bradt Guide, it’s not a day trip from the likes of Girne. They are right, and certainly not for the first time.
I booked two nights at one of the accommodation places they list – the Nitovikla Garden Hotel in Kumyalı.
The village is about an hour by car from Ercan Airport, and suited me as I reckoned I could get there before dark from a flight arriving at 15:20 – building in a bit of contingency for possible delays.
The Bradt Guide touts it as “flying the flag for eco/agro-tourism”, and this had a distinct appeal too. More about it another time (if I remember).
Hotel owner Zekai planned an itinerary for my main day there. First stop was Panagia Kanakaria at nearby Boltaşlı – a disused Greek Orthodox monastery church. Leaving aside all political issues, it is poignant to see a religious building almost abandoned.
It is cared for – lovingly to be honest – by Mr Erol who lives next door. He’s a feisty 80 something veteran of the Cyprus Police from colonial times (pre 1960). A warm and charming man with excellent English and a wonderful accent. He reckons he attended 150 terrorist murders in his time.
Next stop was the Apostolos Andreas Monastery, right out almost at the most easterly tip of the peninsula. It is being restored as a collaborative project between the two governments of the island.
Then, Zafer Burnu. The cape at the eastern end of the island, reached along 5km of unmade road.
I headed back to Kumyalı along the north coast road, and stopped at Ayios Thyrsos as suggested by Zekai. It’s another Greek Orthodox church, now falling into disrepair.
My last stop of the day was at Ayia Trias. I was the only person there. I enjoyed sitting among some 5th century ruins to contemplate the tranquility in the mid-afternoon sun. I think it’s called mindfulness these days.
The peninsula lived up to its reputation. The landscape is beautiful, as are the beaches – although I didn’t stop at any.
The beaches could be a good reason to go back.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2018