North Cyprus Handcrafts (All Traditional Local Handcrafts)

Oct 16, 2023 | North Cyprus

North Cyprus is a place where history, nature, and culture blend together in a harmonious way. The island has a rich and diverse heritage that reflects its past and present influences, from ancient civilizations to modern nations. One of the ways to explore and appreciate this heritage is through the art and culture of north cyprus handcrafts, which are the products of the creativity, skill, and passion of the local people.

North Cyprus handcrafts are not only beautiful and unique, but also carry a lot of meaning and value. They represent the identity, traditions, and values of the Turkish Cypriot community, as well as their adaptation and innovation in changing times. They also serve as a source of income, pride, and joy for many artisans and craftsmen who dedicate their lives to preserving and promoting their crafts.

In this article, we will introduce you to some of the most popular and distinctive north cyprus handcrafts.

Lefkara Lace

A delicate and intricate embroidery technique that originated in the village of Lefkara, and is famous for its geometric patterns and floral motifs.

Lefkara lace is one of the most renowned and admired north cyprus handcrafts. It dates back to at least the 15th century, when it was inspired by the Venetian lace that was brought to the island by the Venetian rulers. The local women copied and modified the fine embroidery from the clothing of the Venetian nobility, creating their own designs and styles that became increasingly sophisticated and refined over time.

North Cyprus handcrafts - Lefkara Lace

Lefkara lace is made of linen with thread, and varies in its shapes and cutting techniques used to decorate the final handcraft. It is usually embroidered on white, brown, or ecru fabrics, with intricate patterns that include geometric shapes, flowers, leaves, birds, animals, or letters. The lace is often used to make tablecloths, napkins, bedspreads, curtains, or clothing accessories. One of the distinctive features of Lefkara lace is that it has no difference between the front and back of any piece, which shows the high level of skill and precision required to make it.

Lefkara lace is recognized on the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage List. It is also considered a symbol of prestige and wealth, as it was once part of the dowry of every bride in North Cyprus. Today, Lefkara lace is still made by hand by many women in rural villages, especially in Lefkara, where you can see them working on their doorsteps or in their workshops. You can also buy authentic Lefkara lace in many souvenir shops or handicraft centers on the island.

Kilim Rugs

A colorful and durable weaving technique that uses wool to create flat-woven rugs with various designs, such as geometric, floral, or animal motifs.

Kilim rugs are another popular and distinctive north cyprus handcrafts that have a long history and tradition on the island. They are made by weaving woolen yarns on a horizontal loom, creating flat-woven rugs that have no pile or knots. The yarns are dyed with natural colors from plants or minerals, creating vibrant shades of red, blue, green, yellow, or brown. The rugs are decorated with various motifs that have symbolic meanings or stories behind them.

North Cyprus handcrafts - Kilim Rugs

Kilim rugs are not only beautiful and artistic but also practical and functional. They are used for various purposes such as floor coverings, wall hangings, bedspreads, or bags. They are also known for their durability and resistance to wear and tear. They can last for generations if they are properly cared for.


A traditional and elegant headscarf that uses cotton to make a wrap-around cloth with different colors, shapes, and decorations.

Yemeni is cotton headscarf that is comfortable, graceful, and stylish. It used to be widely worn by Turkish Cypriot women as a symbol of richness. The Yemeni scarves are decorated with leaves, flowers and tree branches patterns.

Hesap Embroidery

A unique and elegant embroidery technique that uses silk thread to create geometric patterns on cotton fabric, often used for tablecloths, bedspreads, or curtains.

Hesap embroidery is a type of north cyprus handcrafts that originated in the Lapithos region of the island. The name “hesap” means “calculate” in Turkish, and it refers to the method of counting each strand of thread while creating the patterns. Hesap embroidery is done on a circular wooden frame called “kasnak”, where a linen cloth is stretched taut. The embroidery is done with silk thread, usually in red, blue, green, or yellow colors, on a white or cream background.

North Cyprus handcrafts - Hesap Embroidery

Hesap embroidery is considered a fine and delicate art that requires patience and skill. It is often used to decorate household items such as tablecloths, bedspreads, or curtains, as well as clothing accessories such as scarves or shawls.

Plant Knitting

Plant knitting is done by cutting or splitting stems, leaves, and twigs into thin strips and then weaving them together with a needle or by hand. Plant knitting is a skillful and practical craft that produces items that are useful and durable such as baskets, trays, brooms, and jewelry boxes.

Silk Cocoon Decorations

In the past, many mulberry trees grew around Lapta and Hisarkoy, providing enough food for the silkworms. It was a common practice for the families to take the cocoons, extract the silk thread and weave them into fine silk cloths. These cloths were then cut into shapes and used to decorate clothes or make pictures. Sadly, this craft gradually faded away over the years. However, Cypriots still collect silkworm cocoons for decoration, a tradition that comes from the Karpaz Peninsula.

The silkworm is gently removed from the cocoon, which is then flattened and used to make pictures on white, black or red linen. The cocoons are also used to adorn clothes with small beads to secure them.

Straw Wicker Basket

A skillful and practical craft that uses straw to weave baskets with different shapes, sizes, and purposes, such as storage, carrying, or serving.

North Cyprus handcrafts - Wicker Baskets

Straw is a natural and renewable resource that is abundant and cheap on the island. Straw wicker baskets are made by weaving straw strands together with a needle or by hand. The weaving technique can vary depending on the region, the tradition, or the preference of the maker. The baskets can also be dyed with natural colors from plants or minerals to create different shades. They can be used for various purposes, such as storage, carrying, serving, or decoration. They can also be used as gifts or souvenirs.


The plentiful clay soil in North Cyprus has enabled its people to make amazing pottery for hundreds of years. The clay is called “the ashes of volcanic eruptions” by the locals and is ideal for making various items.


A special kind of reed that grows in Güzelyurt and Girne is used to make “sepeti”, the traditional cheese baskets of North Cyprus. These baskets are essential for making local cheeses like hellim (halloumi) or talar peyniri. The cheese curds are pressed into the basket in order for them to solidify for a few days. Then, the cheese is served in the same handmade basket along with some homemade olive bread or karpuz (melon)

Date Palm Weaving

It is difficult to find this art in North Cyprus nowadays, so make sure you purchase them if you encounter any. People used to weave baskets, fans and sacks from date leaves in the past. They would first pick whole date branches from the trees and let them dry for at least two weeks. Then they would peel off the leaves and soak them in water to make them more flexible. They would split the leaves into two parts and weave them together into a kind of rope. Then they would use a big needle and more date leaf strips to stitch the rope into different shapes, baskets or other items.

Reed Seated Chairs

Many craft shops in North Cyprus offer miniature and full-sized chairs with seats made of woven reeds. This is a way of honoring the art of reed weaving, which involves creating seats for wooden chairs from reeds. These seats are very light and durable, and many Turkish Cypriot families still prefer reed seated chairs.

Evil Eye Blue Beads (Nazar boncuğu)

A symbolic and protective craft that uses glass to make blue beads with an eye-shaped pattern, believed to ward off evil spirits or bad luck.

north cyprus handcrafts - nazar boncugu

The beads can also be painted or embellished with other materials to add more color and sparkle. Evil eye blue beads are a symbolic and protective craft that produces items that are believed to have magical powers. They are said to protect against the evil eye, which is a curse caused by the malicious gaze of someone who is envious or ill-wishing. They are also said to bring good luck, health, and happiness. In Persian and Afghan folklore, it is called cheshm nazar or nazar qurbāni. This symbol can be found in many arts like paper quilling, paintings, pottery, and etc.


You will fall in love with these traditional local handcrafts. North Cyprus is a great place to live and invest in. It has a rich and diverse culture, a beautiful natural environment, and a friendly and hospitable people. Whether you are looking for a relaxing holiday, a permanent residence, or a profitable property, North Cyprus has something for everyone.

If you are interested in finding your dream home in North Cyprus, you should check out Cyprusify, a real estate website that offers a wide range of properties for sale in North Cyprus including studios, apartments, and luxury villas with affordable prices. Cyprusify helps you find the best deals, compare prices, and contact sellers easily. You can also browse through blog posts to learn more about the lifestyle, culture, and attractions of North Cyprus. Visit Cyprusify today and discover the beauty and potential of this amazing island.


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