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The Travel Well Guide
City: Nicosia State: Cyprus (CYP) Country: Cyprus
Nicosia is the centrally located capital of Cyprus and by far the largest city on the island. It also acts as a separate administrative capital for the Nicosia district. The municipality of Nicosia governs only the central portion, but the city now sprawls for several kilometers and has engulfed surrounding villages and settlements. It is the administrative and financial hub of the island as well as home to several universities, colleges and other educational establishments. Along with its international students and foreign workers it has developed a truly cosmopolitan feel. Although the city has been destroyed more than once by conquerors, there are still enough leftovers to enjoy the past. History is most strikingly experienced at the Venetian city wall, which was constructed between 1567 and 1570. The 4.5 metres thick wall used to have three gates. The Famagusta gate is now used as cultural centre. Some other parts of the wall contain administration offices. The historical centre is clearly present inside the walls, but the modern city has grown beyond. In Nicosia also there are mosques, like the Selimiye Mosque. This ancient church is the chief mosque in the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia, and the great festivals of Bayram and other Moslem gatherings are conducted here. It was formerly the cathedral of St. Sophia which was built in the period 1209 A.D. to 1228, over the ruins of a previous building. Outside the old walls, a modern metropolis has sprung up, against the backdrop of the Kyrenia Mountains with the distinctive Pentadaktylos (Five-Finger Mountain). This contemporary commercial and cultural centre has become the island's main shopping centre, with some of the best shops concentrated in Archbishop Makarios Street and parallel Stasikratous Street. The inhabitants of southern Nicosia devoutly hope they are creating a city that will one day become the capital of a reunited island. A colourful open-air market takes place in Eleftherios Venizelos Square every Wednesday.
Climate | When to Visit
Visit during: March to October
Directions | How to Reach
By Air: Nicosia International Airport has not been used since 1974 as it lies within the U.N. Buffer Zone separating the two parts of Nicosia. The nearest airport on the Greek administered side is Larnaca International Airport on the southern coast. By Rail: Nicosia rail station connects the city with all the major destinations. It provides regular rails to/from all the major cities. By Road: Public transport within the city is limited to an aging and inefficient bus network operated by the subsidized Nicosia Bus Company