Cyprus has been occupied by a succession of civilizations from Europe and Asia. In the 8th century BC it was a part of the Assyrian empire, then Babylonian, Egyptian and Persian. In 58 BC the island was detained by the Romans. Richard the Lion-heart conquered the island in 1191 during the third Crusade and, after selling it to the Knights Templar permitted Guy de Lusignan to buy the island. Cyprus remained in Lusignan ownership until captured by the Venetians in 1484. From 1571 to 1878 the island was ruled by the Ottomans until they leased its administration to Great Britain. Independence was granted in 1960, but after Greek Cypriot and Greek military coup in 1974, Turkey intervened to safeguard the interest of the Turkish Cypriots and the island has been divided since.
Breathtaking historical places from Soli and Vouni in the West, Arabahamet Pasha Mosque in Lefkosa to Salamis and the site of Apostolos Andreas (St Andrews) in the East, there is much to reflect the 9,000 years of civilization. Today, most of these stunning historical places play host to some of the Mediterranean?s leading art and cultural festivals, which are held annually. Here are some of the leading festivals:
The International Spring Concerts, organized by ?The Friends of Music Association of North Cyprus? is very popular amongst the classical music lovers. These concerts take place during April and May every year at the historical setting of Bellapais Abbey. The Guzelyurt Orange Festival has been organized by the Guzelyurt Municipality since 1977. It takes place in May. As its name suggest, this festival provides the best opportunity to taste the world famous North Cyprus oranges. During the Festival week various concerts, competitions and art events are hosted. International Bellapais Misic Festival brings together world famous musicians and performers every year. It takes place between May and June at Bellapais Monastery Concert Hall. Famagusta International Festival that has featured groups like Aswad, Los Paraguayos and the Berli9n Art Ensemble is one of the best festivals in the Mediterranean. The festival is held between June and July at Othello Castle, Salamis Amphitheatre and Famagusta Castle.
North Cyprus International Music Festival takes place between September and October. During the festival the chamber music, symphonic rock, choir and flamenco recitals are performed in historical settings such as the Bellapais Monastrey and Salamis Amphitheatre.
People in Northern Cyprus are very keen on education. Most of the elementary, secondary and high schools are state schools. There also are private schools that provide education in the English language in Lefkosa, Gazi Magusa and Girne. Furthermore, there are 5 universities that adopt English language as their teaching language. These universities offer an extensive choice of subjects to study from first Diploma to PhD Degrres. Some universities also provide adult education programs. These universities also organize conferences and cultural events that are open to public.