Somehow confused? Well, welcome to my world! So, let me introduce myself in the Cypriot way: yavaş yavaş, siga siga, piano piano. . .
I grew up in Tunisia in a mixture of Arabic and French culture. As a result of successful national final exams (bac / A level), I got a full scholarship to study Computer Sciences in Germany. After my studies, I settled in Cyprus and started managing a family-owned tourism and travel agency in Kyrenia.
Trying to promote special interest tourism (in opposition to mass tourism), I came to the conclusion, that I could prepare the best tailor-made, experience-rich programs and excursions, but it would not help much, if they are not delivered accordingly. So I decided to deliver by myself and got the license for guiding in North Cyprus!
This time, there was no scholarship to get, but I worked hard to be the highest ranked of the year. I wanted to show that being Cypriot is not about genealogy, it is about a life style! It is a philosophy of blending influences to something unique. When facing some Late Bronze Age ceramics, I often think: may be Anatolian, may be Greek, but 100% Cypriot!
I am neither a native Cypriot, nor a Turk nor a Greek. And this gives me the required objectivity to break taboos and speak about the modern history of the country as well as its earliest beginnings: a no-hate approach to the history of a conflict, which still divides the heart of the island. No politics, I just do not ignore the elephant in the room. . .
In the 13 years I lived in Cyprus, I got fascinated by this country, by the richness of its history and the unique mixtures of its art: Roman mosaics in early Christian basilicas, Gothic arches in Orthodox monasteries, Ottoman Hammams out of medieval churches. . .
Follow me on a journey, out of the beaten paths, in the back-streets of towns like Kyrenia, Nicosia and Famagusta, but also in the rural zones of Karpaz, Kormakitis, Lefke and in the heights of the Pentadaktylos Mountains on natural trails sneaking to hidden monasteries like Antiphonitis or medieval castles like St Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara.
I may speak about the large universal developments or may refer to a small family incident leading to this or that historical event. I may explain the structure of a Roman bath or the symbolism of a sword in a small icon. A key stone or a broken arch may tell us incredible stories and open us time tunnels to forgotten times.
And after we finish all the staff about history, architecture, religion, art and all the food for the soul, then it is time for some nice foodie experience! Forget about tourist trap restaurants! Authentic food in family gardens, picnics in amazing spots, taverns in lost villages. . .
I have no rigid agenda, there are no must-sees. There is an immense treasure of culture, nature and human experiences, that we will discover together. And we will do it in the Cypriot way: yavaş yavaş, siga siga, piano piano. . .
A Recent Review of this guide
This was a great tour, easily customized , and Houssem was determined to fit everything in. We saw the city more in depth than the average travelers, He can make recommendations and make sure you see what interests you. He is very focused on living up to the traveler's expectations. He is such a knowledgeable guide with a pleasing personality...terrific
- Masters in Computer Sciences in Karlsruhe, Germany
- 13 years of experience as manager of the travel agency Sidetour in Kyrenia, Cyprus
- Licensed tourist guide in North cyprus. Certificate no 1288 as highest ranked of the graduation year.
- Special license for guiding Nicosia, Evkaf town (specialization in Ottoman and Venetian heritage)
- Guiding of several familiarization and media trips for the German, French and English speaking market
- Since December 2018, project coordinator of EU-funded project: "enhancing bi-communal dialogue through youth-oriented participative and innovative art".
- Always On Learning: dozens of MOOC (online courses) in history, mythology, religion, history of art, architecture, gastronomy, etc.
- NGO memberships: Lefke Tourism Assoc., Bagliköy ecotourism Assoc., Friends of nature Cyprus (bi-communal).
I do not have the right to guide groups in museums / paying antique sites in South Cyprus. However guiding through old towns, in churches and in natural trails is officially allowed for small groups under 7 persons.