Nicosia, Cyprus Tourist Attractions
The capital of Cyprus, Nicosia (officially Lefkosía; Turkish Lefkoqa; pop. 120,000), the only large town in the interior of the island, grew up in the seventh century A.D. on the theater of ancient Ledra.
It was selected as the administrative center of Cyprus when the coastal towns became increasingly unsafe as a result of continual raiding and plunder.The Venetians took control of Nicosia in 1489 and built up the city walls, which are a central part of the character of the city. Despite their massive construction, the walls proved of little use when the Turks made their attack. The city fell after only six weeks, in a bloodbath in which 20,000 people died.Under the Turks the city declined and in 1764 riots led to the death of the Turkish governor. The bloody history continued and in 1821, 200 Christians were killed by a particularly ferocious governor, Kuchuk Mehmed.The town was the seat of the British governor from 1878 and many of the administrative buildings date from that colonial period.The city had long had Greek and Turkish sectors and in the wake of independence was one of the key places where tension between the two communities led to violence.In 1964 fighting broke out between Greeks and Turks and the city was informally divided by the United Nations. In 1974, when the Turks invaded the island, the city was divided along the so-called green line. This means that Greeks and Turks cannot pass from one side of the city to the other.The city is the only one in Europe to remain divided by war.
Cyprus International Conference Center
The Cyprus International Conference Center provides an impressive and functional milieu for international meetings. The elegant, single-story building that looks down over Nicosia is the largest and best-equipped conference venue in the Near East. It was designed as a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose meetings venue to accommodate large-scale conventions and association meetings.The center includes an amphitheater, a large foyer, a media center and recreation facilities. Richly decorated in marble, with the use of mahogany paneling, the center is also used for exhibitions, product launches, and press and guest receptions.The Philoxenia Hotel is next door.
Kaimakli is one of the oldest suburbs of Nicosia, and is worth visiting. The Cyprus Tourism Organization conducts free two-hour bus-and-walking tours of the area every Monday morning at 10a.m.The guided tour includes a free bus ride along Kaimakli's demarcation line, passing by the old rail station, an old flour-mill and the small square. Visitor's can walk around the old neighborhoods, which date back to the beginning of the century.
Municipal Gardens & Nicosia Municipal Theater
Across from the Cyprus Museum are the municipal gardens. These are full of trees and flowers and provide a welcome relief from the rush of the city. There are two small aviaries, one near the entrance and one near the children's playground containing larger birds, including vultures. Also in the gardens is the municipal theater which has regular productions of Greek and international plays and is home to the state subsidized theater.
Kykko Metochi, in the heart of the Strovolos suburb, at the junction of Grivas Dighenis Avenue and Ayios Prokopios Street, is a beautiful enclave of medieval-style buildings, surrounded by modern Nicosia. It is possible to wander around the cloisters and look at the painted church. The buildings, while not old, are an interesting and typical example of Cypriot religious architecture.
Municipal Arts Center
The Nicosia Municipal Arts Center is housed in the old power station, one of the finest examples of industrial architecture in Cyprus. The center's aim is to promote contemporary creativity at its highest level.
Address: Odos Apostolou Varnava 19, Boz 1015, Cyprus
Opening hours: 10am-3pm, 5pm-11pm; Sun: 10am-4pm, 5pm-11pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Greek Orthodox Easter
Entrance fee: FREE
St Sophia's Cathedral
In the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia are the Gothic St Sophia's Cathedral (13th century), in which the kings of Cyprus were crowned (now the Selimiye Mosque), and other medieval buildings.St Sophia's was one of the many Christian sites in Cyprus that was plundered by Turkish troops when they invaded Cyprus.No artifacts remain in the cathedral.
ACT (the Anglo-Cypriot Theater) presents plays in English three to four times a year - generally in spring, early summer, fall, and during Christmas.Performances are held in Nicosia and full details are published in local papers, two or three weeks before each production.
CAARI (Cyprus American Archeological Research Institute)
The Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute conducts archeological studies and digs on the island. It also sponsors and houses visiting archeologists from all over the world.The institute often holds seminars and discussions on archeology.
Cyprus is an ideal gathering place for those who wish to enrich their collection. Auctions are organized at the Collectors' Center of all kinds of collective items, including stamps, old maps, coins and rare antique books.Meetings take place every Wednesday afternoon.
Hamam Omerye is located on a site that dates back to the 14th century when it served as the Augustinian church of St. Mary. Hamam refers to a Turkish steam bath, these architecturally significant buildings played a major role in Middle-Eastern culture.
The Presidential Palace is on Presidential Palace Street. It was built by the British but burned down in 1931. It was rebuilt and used as the official presidential residence after independence, only to burn down again in the coup in 1974. It has since been rebuilt and continues to be the official residence of the president.
All libraries in Cyprus are open to the public for reading and local research on the premises. The library was named for a well-known citizen, Achilleas Piki, who purchased the building that houses the library.
Arch Makarios Avenue
This is the shopping district in the town of Nicosia. Along this short strip there are two shopping malls, numerous upscale clothing and jewelry boutiques, and the Woolworth department store.
Cyprus Handicraft Center
At the Cyprus Handicraft Center you can watch artisans weaving, basket-making, wood-carving, producing leather articles, pottery and traditional hand-made copper items.A large variety of hand-produced products are on sale at the center's shop.
St Paul's Anglican Church
St Paul's Anglican Church is a quaint building, designed in the Anglican look, contrasting with the many Orthodox churches in the city.Main service is held every Sunday at 9:30am. The church also hosts numerous other events throughout the year.
The bazaar of the old town of Nicosia is full of interest, with shops selling a variety of craft products.
Centre Culturel Francais
The cultural center possesses a very rich collection of books and periodicals for reference. It also hosts numerous special events throughout the year.
Cyprus State Art Gallery
The gallery has a representative collection of paintings and sculpture by 20th century Cypriot artists.
German Cultural Center
Ministry of Education Library
Russian Cultural Center
Map of Nicosia Attractions