View over Salamis in North Cyprus by North Cyprus Tourism Centre© North Cyprus Tourism Centre

Cyprus’s first city boasts some of the most impressive monuments on the island.

Ancient Salamis, the first city of Cyprus in classical Greek times, boasts some of the most impressive monuments to be found on the island. The pleasantly overgrown ruins lie among fragrant eucalyptus and acacia trees, alongside an excellent though narrow beach, with safe swimming. Situated 9km north of Gazimağusa, it makes an easy visit and is readily accessible. The area covered by the site is huge, so huge that although archaeologists first began work here in 1890 and have continued intermittently throughout the last century, the site is still only partially excavated. Networks of roads run across it, none signposted, and it can be fairly easy to lose your way, and difficult to get an overview as the site is so flat. A few minutes studying the map will help. Cars have recently been banned from driving through the site, so be prepared for some lengthy walking under a blisteringly hot sun. Bring comfortable shoes, suntan lotion and a sunhat; the flat landscape offers precious little shade. Go well equipped with liquid refreshments, too, or else you may find yourself hallucinating that the marble basins in the gymnasium are still sparkling with cool water. If you don’t fancy walking much, don’t be put off: the main sites (the gymnasium and theatre) are right next to the entrance and car park where you leave the car.

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