Morphou (Greek: Μόρφου (Morfou), Turkish: Omorfo or Güzelyurt) is a town in the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus. Morphou was founded by Spartans who brought with them the worship of Aphrodite. 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, popularly believed to have lived as a hermit in a cave near Morphou. According to local legend, he was a hermit living in very poor circumstances and when the authorities tried to tax him, he evaded them. Soldiers were sent out and captured him but on the way back to town, he saw a lion 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
Morphou was taken by the Turkish military during the Turkish Invasion 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.
Morphou is home to one of the islands crossing points, which was opened to civilian use in 2003. It is located at Zodeia 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.
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 Morphou municipality, consists of the western portions of the old district of Nicosia under North Cypriot control. According to the Republic of Cyprus, the area remains de jure part of the district of Nicosia.
The church is an icon museum now.
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