Nicosia the Capital of Cyprus

Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus; a status it has enjoyed for 1000 years since the 10th century, though its beginnings date back 5000 years to the Bronze Age. It lies roughly in the centre of the island in the Mesaoria Plain, flanked by the beautiful northern range of Kyrenia Mountains with its distinctive ‘Pentadaktylos’ – the five finger mountain. There are various suggestions as to the origin of the name Nicosia – or ‘Lefkosia’ In Greek – but the most likely one is linked to the popular tree, the tall ‘Lefki ‘ which once adorned the city.

Based in Nicosia are the Government head offices, Diplomatic headquarters and the cultural centre of Cyprus. The capital presents two distinct faces: the old, original part of the city, surrounded by sturdy Venetian walls over 400 years old, and a busy modern metropolis which has a population of 171.000 together with the suburbs.

Within the large area, encircled by the strong bastion walls that served to protect the town for centuries, are many places of great historic interest.

The central Eleftheria Square links old Nicosia with the elegant modern city that has flourished outside the walls, where hotels, offices restaurants and gardens blend happily with the fine old houses and colonial buildings of this cosmopolitan city.

Lydra Street

This is a paved pedestrian way with shops and restaurants and starts at Eleftheria Square; it is one of the busiest shopping centers of the city.

Cyprus Archaeological Museum

This is the main archaeological Museum of Cyprus and traces the long history of civilization on the island from prehistoric times to the early Christian period. Extensive excavations throughout the island have enriched the collections of the museum considerably and brought Cypriot archaeology to the fore front of international archaeological research. Here the cultural heritage of Cyprus, such as pottery, jewelry, sculpture and coins from the Neolithic period to the Bronze Age, Iron Age and the Greco-Roman period, is cherished and displayed for everyone to enjoy. Star exhibits include the statue of Aphrodite of Soloi, a gold jewelry collection and relics from the royal tombs of Salamis.The museum is a stop on the Aphrodite Cultural route.

Laiki Street

Laiki Geitonia is a traditional neighborhood in the pedestrian area of the ‘walled city’ of Nicosia, opposite the D’Avila moat and 0.3 km from Eleftheria square. Laiki Geitonia contains restorated houses that are examples of traditional Cypriot urban architecture. The buildings date from the end of the 18th Century, with building materials being mainly wood, sandstone and mudbrick. It is a pedestrianised area of narrow winding streets, combining residential houses with craft shops, souvenir shops and tavernas.s.

Kalopanayiotis Village

The area in which lies the village of Kalopanagiotis been known since ancient times but the village did not exist before the eleventh century. According to Mr. Myriantheas (“Studies”, 1991), during the pre-Christian period due to sulphide mineral springs, was hydrotherapy, dedicated to the god Asklepios (Asklepieion), which operated under the protection of the kings of Solon, where later They built the monastery of Ag. Irakleidios and Ag. Ioannis Illuminator. The buildings of spas that seems only used to house the “patient” and the spa was a stone basin that was carved in the position flowing from the thermal waters, the bed of the small “river” Setrachou. Spas can see a visitor today, a few meters away from the monastery, near the Venetian bridge

Arch. St. John’s Cathedral

The Cathedral was built in 1662 by Archbishop Nikiforos on the site of an earlier building. Since the 18th century the Cathedral has been the place where all Archbishops of Cyprus are consecrated.

Famagusta Gate

The Famagusta Gate is one of the most interesting attractions. The Venetian walls which completely encircle the old city have eleven heart-shaped bastions (which gives them the shape of a hand grenade). There were only three gates to the city in the north, south and east and one of these gates, the Porta Giuliana called Famagusta Gate, has been restored and is now the Lefkosia Municipal Cultural Centre. One of the most typical quarters of the town close to Famagusta gate is also being restored.