Morphou is a town in Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. It is in the area controlled by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Northern Cyprus or North Cyprus , officially the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus , is a self-declared state that comprises the northeastern part of the island of Cyprus...

 and the capital of the Güzelyurt District
Güzelyurt District
Güzelyurt District is a district of Northern Cyprus. It is divided into two sub-districts: Güzelyurt Sub-district and Lefke Sub-district. Its capital is Morphou. Its population was 29,264 in 2006. Its kaymakam is Menteş Gündüz....

. Morphou was founded by Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

ns who brought with them the worship of Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

. 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
Mammes of Caesarea
Saint Mammes of Caesarea ; is a semi-legendary child-martyr of the 3rd century. He was martyred at Caesarea. His parents, Theodotus and Rufina, were also martyred.-Life:...

, popularly believed to have lived as a hermit in a cave near Morphou. According to local legend, he was a hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

 living in very poor circumstances and when the authorities tried to tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 him, he evaded them. Soldiers were sent out and captured him but on the way back to town, he saw a lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

 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.

Morphou was an almost entirely Greek Cypriot community. According to the 1960 population census it was inhabited by 6480 Greeks Cypriots, 123 Turkish Cypriots and 32 Maronites. Between 1907 and 1948, Morphou was one of the prominent stations of the Cyprus Government Railway
Cyprus Government Railway
The Cyprus Government Railway was a narrow gauge railway network that operated in Cyprus from October 1905 to December 1951. With a total length of , there were 39 stations, stops and halts, the most prominent of which served Famagusta, Prastio Mesaoria, Angastina, Trachoni, Nicosia,...


Morphou was taken by the Turkish military
Turkish Army
The Turkish Army or Turkish Land Forces is the main branch of the Turkish Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The modern history of the army began with its formation after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire...

 during the Turkish Invasion
Turkish invasion of Cyprus
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, launched on 20 July 1974, was a Turkish military invasion in response to a Greek military junta backed coup in Cyprus...

 in 1974. As a result, the whole of its Greek Cypriot population was forced to leave their homes and properties and flee to the areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus.

North-South crossing

Morphou is home to one of the islands crossing points, which was opened to civilian use in 2003. It is located at Zodeia
Zodeia is a village on the island of Cyprus. It is located east of Morphou in Nicosia District. It is in the northern part of the island which has been occupied by Turkey since August 15, 1974...

 to the southeast of the town.

The crossing is used by vehicles, and passport/Id checks are done at both sides when crossing.
The road goes through the U.N buffer zone, before entering the opposite side of the border, which was set up to prevent any further attacks between the two communities.

Modern era

With a population of 12,000 people, the town is famous for its apples, vegetables, grapefruit and melons for which a large proportion of the citrus fruits are exported and the remainder are turned into fruit juice and canned for local consumption and export. Morphou is also famous for its annual Orange Festival, which is a major event lasting two weeks.

The church is an icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

 museum now.


Morphou has a borderline Mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

/semi-arid climate as the rest of the island where summers are hot and dry, and winters are cool and wet.

External links

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