Lefkosia (Nicosia)- One of a Kind
a doubt, the 1000 year old capital should be on every
visitor's agenda. It lies roughly in the centre of the island,
within easy reach of the other towns and a day in Lefkosia
will be a day well spent.
The old walled city is unique and definitely the place to head
for first. Encircled by strong fortress walls built by the
Venetians in the 16th century, the enchanting old city is
scattered with buildings and monuments of historical interest
as well as little shops, cafes and tavernas. The Lefkosia
jewellery Museum, the Museum of the History of the Cypriot
Coinage and the Municipal Arts Centre, are all worth a visit.
The Leventis Municipal Museum of Lefkosia, with an imaginative
presentation of the capital's history, was awarded the title
"1991 European Museum of the Year".
To walk through the old city is to step backwards in time.
Narrow streets and old houses with ornate balconies jut from
weatherbeaten sandstone walls, and craftsmen in small
workshops practise trades unchanged for centuries. "Laiki
Geitonia" - Folk Neighbourhood - is a pedestrian section
which has been carefully renovated to evoke the atmosphere of
past days. The two main streets of Old Nicosia, Lidra and
Onasagorou, are lined with shops of every type, and both
streets are pedestrian-only.
to be missed, is the unique Cyprus Museum, housing the
island's most important collection of Cypriot antiquities and
treasures from the Neolithic Age to the Roman Period. In
contrast to these ancient finds in the State Collection of
Contemporary Art, and on the other side of town, just off the
main Lemesos road, is the Cyprus Handicraft Centre.
Another award winner is the renovated "Pyli Ammochostou"
- Famagusta Gate - one of the original entrances to the old
city, which won the Europa nostra award for its restoration.
Many old churches are to be found in this part of the town,
and other places of interest are the Folk Art and Byzantine
Museums, the Archbishopric, the Cathedral of Agios Ioannis
with its beautiful frescoes, the National Struggle Museum and
the intriguing house of Chatzigeorgakis Kornesios- a fine
example of 18th century architecture- which houses the
Not far from these monuments is the infamous "Green Line"
that divides the Republic from the illegally occupied area to
the north. It has been in existence since 1974 when Turkish
troops invaded the island and claimed 37% of Cyprus as a
breakaway pseudo-state that has since been recognised by no
nation, other than Turkey.
The modern city has developed outside the walls in a
cosmopolitan centre of business and culture. Lefkosia is
regarded as the shopping heart of Cyprus, with a variety of
restaurants, discos and bars.
Within easy reach of the capital are such historic gems as the
12th century painted churches of Asinou and Agioi Apostoloi at
Pera Chorio Nisou, the regal tombs at Tamassos, the ancient
city-kingdom of Idalion and the enchanting villages of
Fikardou and Kakopetria.