By Chris Schubert (Kuzey-Kibris) and Fred Katzenberger (Nord-Zypern) ……
We have been asked many times about our website and our gallery, and what was the reason and intention for us to start such a project.
Now that we have our 10th anniversary, and have uploaded more than 10.000 photos to our gallery with more than 30.000 visitors on our website, we have been asked by cyprusscene for a retrospect.
Fred has been travelling to North Cyprus since 1981. He met a Turkish Cypriot in Germany every day on the train, when he went to work. The Turkish Cypriot was in Germany for study, and after a while they became friends. Eventually, Fred was invited to visit North Cyprus to meet with his friends and family. Plans were made and so Fred went to North Cyprus for a four week holiday. The four weeks passed quickly and Fred, already infected with the Cyprus Virus, promised to come back. At first once a year, later two or three times, now up to five, six or even seven times a year.
Fred and I met in 2001 through a mutual friend. We became friends, and sometime in 2005, he first told me about North Cyprus. We planned for autumn 2006 to go together with friends to Budapest, but for some reason we didn‘t get it arranged, so Budapest was cancelled and Fred asked me to join him and go to North Cyprus instead. No sooner said than done, plans were made and in November 2006 we travelled together to North Cyprus.
For me, it was the first holiday for several years and also the first holiday that far away from home. A reason for me to take tons of photos. Somehow I was fascinated by the country and locals, as North Cyprus was totally off the beaten track. There was so much to see and explore, people were all friendly and, Man!, they know how to eat there! It didn’t take long for myself to get infected by the Cyprus virus.
Back home I wanted to share my holiday photos with my family and some friends, but the good old time of photographs was over and the screen of my digital camera is not a brilliant solution to show all the pictures. After trying this and that, Laptop here, DVD there, i got fed up with all this stuff and decided to put my photos on a web gallery.
I have run my own server for many years, I had knowledge in creating websites, programing and so on, and I had this gallery software installed on my server just for testing and playing around with. I removed all the photos I had there and started re-arranging everything, created categories for the cities and areas I had visited and made albums for all the different sights.
Finally I was able to show all my friends my holiday photos (Yay!) even when the gallery wasn‘t public at that time, as I didn‘t want to share private photos with the public.
Time was passing and Fred and I decided to go for another trip to North Cyprus in April 2007. Many more photos were taken and back home I also added them to the gallery.
While doing some research on the internet about North Cyprus, I recognized over and over again the same photos. It seemed like the whole of North Cyprus just consisted of the Lala Mustafa Pasa mosque in Famagusta, Kyrenia castle and the Salamis ruins at the Golden Beach. Also, turtles! Turtles everywhere!
I spoke with Fred about this, and while we were talking, I had the idea to make my private photo gallery public. I asked Fred, how about running a web gallery with pictures of North Cyprus to show people, that there is way more to see than just the few sights, you can find on any flyer or brochure.
Boom! It was just minutes until we decided to do it. I started to remove all private photos, made all galleries accessible and we were looking for a design for the gallery, which would fit halfway to what we do. Several styles and designs were tried out, until we chose the one, we are still using today. After all was set up and running, I decided to get a domain for our gallery, as I just used a sub-domain at that time. We chose kuzeykibris.de. For some reason, I didn‘t like it very much and so I got kuzey-kibris.de one day later.
As time went on, the gallery was growing and after another attempt to get some information together, I became tired of all the short and vacuous informative pages, and of course also of all the never ending page-filling texts, where you had to put your information together piece by piece. We decided to add a website additional to our gallery with the most important information in note form.
We chose the same design as the gallery and after a few days of programming and testing, our first draft of the website went online in autumn 2007.
In 2008 some more ideas came up, and every now and then we added some more content or made some changes on the website and the gallery.
After some requests, in 2009 we decided to make another website with the same content in the English language, so we got some more domains and chose north-cyprus.de, nord-zypern.info, and kuzey-kibris.eu.
During this time, we added a Blog, which is not very well used, because usually we share our news on our Facebook page. Also we tried to run a Forum, which was eventually closed down, because we didn‘t see the need for one. I started first a Myspace account, later a Facebook account to promote our website and gallery. A short time later Fred got also a Facebook account for promotion. This also explains our Facebook Names: I started the gallery and the website with kuzey-kibris.de, so I got Kuzey Kibris as a name, while Fred had the idea for the nord-zypern.info domain, and he chose Nord Zypern.
The latest thing we have started are our Instagram accounts. We’re both not really into it, but it works well for promoting our websites.
During all the time, we always wondered why people in North Cyprus always asked us what Kuzey-Kibris.de on our shirts and caps meant. After my Turkish language skills became better, I noticed, that our website domain looks like a horrible typo in the Turkish language. We decided to add two additional domain names: kktc-info.com for the German, and trnc-info.com for our English site. Too bad, everyone actually knows us as Team Kuzey-Kibris.de.
Now it is our 10th anniversary, we have more than 10.000 photos online, 715.000 photos viewed (only viewed in full size counts) and the counter on our website passed 30.000 visits.
A lot has changed and has become more professional and not only on our website and gallery. We started photographing with cheap digital cameras, then got better ones, and finally moved on to DSLRs. We got shirts with logos on them, and business cards with several designs. Pens and lanyards with our internet addresses were made and given away for advertising. We have made a lot of friends everywhere in North Cyprus, happily supporting each other.
We have created several trends. A lot of photo groups on Facebook appeared, after we started promoting our websites there. A lot of photos appeared suddenly of doors, after Fred started his very own door photo gallery. Later it was door-knockers and door-knobs. Later it was detail shots, black and white photography, and now it’s photos at night time.
After all there’s still plenty left to see and explore, so we will continue for the next 10.000 photos.
To visit this wonderful gallery of photographs click here