Topography of Cyprus

Topographically, Cyprus is divided into three major physical regions corresponding with the main geological divisions:

  • The Troodos Mountains or the Southern Range, occupying the central part of the island
  • The Girne Mountain Range, or the Northern Range, along the northern coast
  • The Mesaoria Plain, running from Guzelyurt Bay in the west to Magosa Bay in the east and separating the two highland areas

The high Troodos Mountains of the Southern Range in the center and Southwest are pine covered and have a snow capping in the winter, reaching on average 700m. with a maximum of 1,925 m, with copper deposits on their northern flanks, believed to have given the island its name, i.e. Cyprus.

The Girne Range runs parallel to the northern coast with a coastal plain, some 6 km in average width, between it and the sea. A few of its summits rise to around 900 m but the general elevation in the western and central sectors averages 600 m. The topographical map of the island shows that the mountains do not extend along the entire northern coast but start near Kayalar, in the west, and dwindle in the east to a range of low hills which form the backbone of the Karpaz Peninsula. In spite of its modest altitude, the range forms an effective physical barrier between the central plain and the northern coast, a barrier broken by the three main passes of Gecitköy, Bogaz and Gecitkale. The vegetation cover on the two flanks shows a marked contrast, the northern slopes being well clothed with pine and cypress forests whilst the southern slopes bear garrigue and maquis scrub down to the semiarid plains of the Mesaoria. Mainly due to the upthrust masses of hard limestone, forming such impressive peaks as Buffavento, St. Hilarion, Sehit Kivanc Tepesi and Besparmak, the Girne Mountains are characterized by a wide variety of scenery that is both spectacular and delightful.

The narrow coastal terraces of the Northern Range are well watered and very fertile. In contrast to its jagged peaks, its sides are wooded. Below the woods there is a band of arid badlands, lying on the Kythrea flysch, up to 9 km wide in places on the south side of the range though quite narrow on the north side.

The eastern extremity of the North Coast is the Karpaz peninsula, its peninsula, its backbone being a continuation at a lower level of the Northern Range for another 60 km appearing as a line of low hills surrounded by flat plateaux and deep valleys.