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Area: 9,251 sq km
Capital: Nicosia
Language: Greek, Turkish
Currency: Euro
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Population: 784,301
Coastline: 648 sq km

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National Parks in Cyprus

Akamas Peninsula National Park

National Parks in Cyprus

Situated at the westernmost tip of Cyprus , Akamas Peninsula is included in the official UNESCO list of cultural and natural treasures of the world's heritage. It was the first area in Cyprus to have been proposed as a national park. The peninsula, Akamas, was named after the son of Theseus, hero of the Trojan Wars and founder of the city-kingdom of Soli.

Wildlife protection

Akamas Peninsula itself is a natural beauty varied in its geology. With outcrops, deep gorges of limestone, serpentine, and other igneous rocks, it allows the diversity of soil types and a rich plant life as a direct consequence. Number of plant species found here runs up to 600, with up to 35 of them being indigenous to the island. Among the endemic plant species are alyssum ( Alyssum akamasicus ) as well as the endemic tongue orchid ( Serapias aphroditae ). Rare is also yellow-flowered punctuate orchid ( Orchis punctulata ). In Peyia forest the orchids grow in both abundance and rich diversity. The variety of fauna is also impressive: 168 bird species, 12 mammals, 20 reptiles and butterfly species. Lara-Toxeftra is a Marine Reserve within Akamas National Park , which was established to protect marine turtles and their nesting beaches. Most commonly green ( Chelonia mydas ) and loggerhead turtles ( Caretta caretta ) can be found here. Occasionally monk seal can be still spotted also.

Sport activities

There are two marked nature trails in the Akamas Peninsula , the Aphrodite Trail and the Adonis Trail, ideal for walking or cycling. A walk along the mountain trails accompanied by the panoramic view of the bay of Polis , is a unique experience. Down at the seaside, diving, or cruising on small craft can be also practiced. You may get a boat-trip to Akamas Sea from Latchi Harbour and choose a bottom-glass boat to discover under sea-surface life.

Karpaz Peninsula National Park

Cyprus National Parks and Protected AreasLong, thin and sparsely populated Karpaz peninsula or panhandle is a continuation of the limestone ridge of the Kyrenia range in North Cyprus , stretching eastwards towards Turkey . A big portion of the Karpaz peninsula beyond Riso Karpazo and onwards has been declared a national park. The peninsula has fine scenery of lonely white sandy beaches, including the Golden Beach as a main highlight.

Natural sanctuary

The main reason for making Karpaz a conservation area is its natural flora and fauna. It is home to many endemic and protected species. With plant species number about 1,600 (22 endemic), bird species about 350 (7 endemic) and 26 reptile and amphibian species, the biological diversity of the panhandle is significantly rich.

Plant species

In springtime the peninsula displays a picture of colourful flowers like anemones, turban buttercups, poppies and gladioli. Although the area was cultivated with tomatoes, bananas and fruit trees, the "terra rossa" soil derived from limestone, red in colour due to the iron compounds, hosts orchids and lime-loving plants as well. The area on the whole is a landscape of rolling hills and grain fields, partly domesticated with vineyards, tobacco fields, olive or carob trees. Up to the altitude of 1,000 metres the hills are covered with pines, cypress and maquis vegetation.

Wildlife

Cyprus WildlifeKarpaz peninsula represents also one of the main migration stops for birds between Eastern Europe and Africa . Year by year approximately 300 species amounting to millions of birds follow this route in early spring and late summer. The remotest tip of the Karpaz, the Klídhes islands mark the places where sea birds such as shag or Audouin's gull can nest undisturbed. The cliffs provide secure strongholds for nesting peregrine falcons, as well as doves and pigeons. Moreover, about 46 sandy beaches in the Karpaz are natural habitats and the main nestling ground to the endangered loggerhead ( Caretta caretta ) and green sea turtles ( Chelonia mydas ). They come to lay their eggs on sandy beaches to the east of Cape Plakotí . More than 250 Cyprus donkeys live freely in the Karpaz national park. Generally black, sometimes ginger, you should approach with care.

Life in Karpaz

Almost free from heavy population and industry, the region is one of the least polluted in the European Mediterranean. Fishing is the main source of the countryside, with Bogaz and Kumyali, which are the most important fishing villages of Karpaz. Many tourists visit panhandle to have a trip, admire the abandoned civilization of Byzantine churches, or just enjoy the nature and wide sandy beaches. Among the historical sights is undoubtedly Apostolos Andreas Monastery, a popular meeting point of many worshippers and visitors coming annually to the very tip of the Karpaz peninsula.

Nature Reserves : Ayios Mercurios, Kionia, Kyparissia, Madari, Mavri Kremmi and Steni, Stavros Valley , Tripylos, Glapsides beach, Kouklia, Gönyeli.

Marine Reserves : Lara - Toxeftra, Limni Turtle Nesting Beach

Permanent Reserves : Larnaca Saltwater Lake , Limassol Lake (Akrotiri), Listovounos, Paphos game reserve

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