Underwater springs nourish the apples, vegetables, grapefruit and melons for which the area is also famous. A large proportion of the citrus fruits are exported and the remainder are turned into fruit juice and canned for local consumption and export.
Güzelyurt is also famous for its annual Orange Festival, which is a major event lasting two weeks.
Morphou is one of the richest agricultural areas in Cyprus, famous particularly for the Citrus Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit and strawberries from the area which thrive in its fertile red soil. 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 the peace and quiet of natural surroundings. In spring the light breezes scatter the white orange blossoms from which you can smell the fragrance around the town, while in other seasons the golden oranges and lemons shine on the trees. A large proportion of the citrus fruits are exported, and the remaining are made into fruit juice and canned for local consumption and export.
Morphou was founded by Spartans who brought with them the worship of Aphrodite. In the Middle Ages, the city was referred to as Morphou but also Theomorphou. The Morphou area grew more than half of Cyprus citrus fruits.
It contains one of the many churches in the country dedicated to St. Mamas, popularly known as the patron saint of tax avoiders. The title was bestowed on him because he was a hermit living in very poor circumstances and when the authorities tried to tax him, he evaded them. Soldiers were sent out and captured him but on the way back to town, he saw a lion attacking a lamb, escaped the soldiers, saved the lamb, jumped on the lion's back and in that way came to 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, as no one there at that time had seen a lion, so the iconography is not exactly lifelike, having a human face in some versions.
Places To Visit:
Visit the former Monastery of St. Mamas, originally Byzantine with Gothic establishments. Some of the carvings date from c. 1500. The Ruins of Soli (600 BC) and the Palace of Vouni, from the 5th century BC, are a must for archeologists or those interested in antiquities. St. Mamas Monastery is a l8th Century monastery. This Monastery and the museum are located in Guzelyurt (Morphou). According to the legend, St. Mamas stubbornly refused to pay his taxes and the authorities eventually sent troops to fetch and punish him. But on the way to the capital, Mamas noticed a lion about to fall upon a lamb. He took up the lamb in his arms and rode into the capital on the lion's back. The Byzantine governor was so impressed by what he had seen that he released St. Mamas from his dues. Since then St. Mamas has been known as the patron saint of tax avoiders.
Vouni Palace is 9 km west of Gemikonagi and 250 m above sea level, on a cliff top. Its origins are not known with certainty, but it is thought to have been built during the Persian occupation in the 5th Century BC. The Palace was burnt down by a fire in 330 BC. At a later date its foundations were destroyed by the Soli inhabitants.
Soli was a great city, founded in the 6 th Century BC. It was at its most importance during the Roman occupation of Cyprus, and was destroyed during the Arab invasion in the 7th Century. A Swedish Archaeological Expedition excavated the Roman amphitheater in 1930 and an early Christian Basilica and mosaics came to light during the later work by Canadian teams. Much work remains to be done over the huge site.
Soli is located near the Lefke town.