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3 Weird And Wonderful Locations You Must Visit in Cyprus

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Cyprus is an island nation full of beautiful landscapes, culture and history. Split between the South and North of the country, visitors can experience two communities – namely the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot societies. Both cultures feature a rich history, varying cuisine and folklore, while offering warm Cypriot hospitality to travelers.

The Mediterranean destination offers gorgeous beaches, beautiful mountains and meadows. Meanwhile, Cyprus is also steeped in myth and history, with evidence of its Neolithic, Bronze Age, Phoenician and Roman past. However, besides the admittedly fascinating historic attractions, Cyprus also has an unusual side, which can be seen from the weird and wonderful attractions listed below.

1. Fairy Tale Museum, Nicosia, Cyprus

Located just outside Nicosia’s demilitarised zone is a place of whimsy and delight. The Fairy Tale Museum was first opened in February 2017 and is a magical place to explore the world of famous fairy tales. The museum is set in a Grade II listed building and aims to preserve and promote fairy stories, myths, traditions and legends from Cyprus, Greece and other worldwide locations.

Fairy Tale Museum, Nicosia, Cyprus
Photo courtesy Fairy Tale Museum/Facebook

On entering the Fairy Tale Museum, visitors can immediately start exploring fairy tales via the interactive exhibits, artwork and rare books on display. A fun side of the museum is the dress-up room, where visitors can don costumes and play out popular fairy tales. Mysterious hidden doors are located throughout the museum, which take visitors to secret rooms where they can view objects from some of the best tales, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Aladdin and Cinderella.

Fairy Tale Museum, Nicosia, Cyprus
Photo courtesy Fairy Tale Museum/Facebook

The magic library in the museum has books that stand more than 9 ft high, dedicated to the writers of fairy tales. Meanwhile visitors are encouraged to interact with exhibits by opening drawers and turning gears, while tinkering with various gadgets that bring the stories to life. The Fairy Tale Museum is located at Γρανικού 32, Nicosia and stands close to the Cyprus Classic Motorcycle Museum, around one minute’s walk from Ledra Street.

2. Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats, Akrotiri, Cyprus

Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats, Akrotiri, Cyprus
Photo by Glen Bowman/Flickr

Next on an enjoyable Cyprus family holiday, this historic church has been waging war on snakes for almost 2,000 years by giving cats a home. Construction on The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats originally started in 327 CE under the patronage of Saint Helena. However, legend says a terrible drought hit the island at that time, leading to thousands of venomous snakes looking for shelter and putting an end to construction. The solution was to bring in cats from Persia and Egypt to fight the snakes. Once the snakes were eradicated, construction could continue.

Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats, Akrotiri, Cyprus
Photo by Glen Bowman/Flickr

Over the ensuing centuries, the original building was destroyed and rebuilt several times. However, the island’s cats remained and flourished as an unofficial sub-breed called the “Cyprus cat.” Eventually, a group of nuns took over the monastery in 1983. However, the cats were gone and the snakes had returned. This was not a problem for the nuns, who imported more cats to solve the problem. The monastery also started taking in homeless cats and caring for them to honor the centuries of service by the famous felines.

3. The Zenobia Shipwreck, Larnaca, Cyprus

The MS Zenobia was a large RO ferry that sank on its maiden voyage in mysterious circumstances in 1980. These days, the water is so clear that the sunken ship can be seen from the surface. However, the huge wreck has also become a popular diving destination. With the clear water, snorkeling at the surface gives a good view, while scuba diving will allow divers to explore the wreck. Views of the sunken ferry can also be enjoyed from a glass-bottomed boat.

Zenobia Shipwreck, Larnaca, Cyprus
Photo Wikimedia Commons

The ferry was on its way from Malmö to Syria when it happened. As the boat neared Greece, it started listing to port. This was apparently caused by a computer malfunction that caused excess water to be pumped into the ballast tanks. However, the problem seemed to eventually be under control and the ferry continued on its voyage. However, while it was in the Larnaca harbor, the listing happened again. The captain was ordered to take the ferry out of the harbor in case it sank and became a hazard. The ferry was then anchored offshore, but the listing increased and the captain ordered everyone off the ship. Eventually, the ferry capsized and sank completely, while many locals watched it happen from the harbour.

Zenobia Shipwreck, Larnaca, Cyprus
Photo Wikimedia Commons

A mystery surrounds the wreck as the value of the ferry and the hundreds of millions of dollars of cargo it carried were never investigated. There were reportedly around 100 trucks on board, and each had its own cargo, which is now at the bottom of the sea. Diving and snorkeling trips can be booked in Larnaca, where glass-bottomed boat trips are also available from the harbour.

Take a trip to Cyprus in 2020 or 2021 to explore the many wonders of this fascinating island nation, including some of the more unusual locations.

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Latest update: November 17, 2020