PARALIMNI, which took over the role of regional capital when Famagusta was cut off by the Turkish invasion of 1974, is easier-on-the-eye than a lot of guidebooks give it credit for. Though not exactly worth a special trip, it can be a welcome respite from the frenetic coastal strip. A big open town square boasts no fewer than three churches, all in a row – the big, brash new Agios Georgios, the mellow arcaded old Agios Georgios, and the appealing Panagia. Also around the square are a statue and memorial to local EOKA leader and regional commander-in-chief Tasos Markou (who disappeared during the 1974 invasion); a wind pump typical of those that dot this region’s landscape; and a rather good children’s playground. Around the corner from the square is an open-air theatre, and the town hall, frequently the happy scene of local weddings. Paralimni has become a fair shopping destination (it even has a Marks & Spencer), and also has numerous bars, cafés and restaurants.

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