Nicosia, the capital of the island Cyprus, has incorporated elements of the many empires and kingdoms that have conquered it over centuries stretching back to the Bronze Age. Narrow winding streets lead visitors from the Cyprus Museum, with its collection of Neolithic and Roman artifacts, to the thick city wall. Built in the 1600s by the Venetians, the walls now divide, the old part from the modern. You are invited to enter the walled city gates and enter a vibrant city, where the past coexists with the present.
Nicosia’s Old City
Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus; the only remaining divided capital in the world. The Nicosia district, combines its cultural heritage with a contemporary way of life. The capital is steeped in history with large Venetian walls encompassing a beautiful old city. There is also a museum comprised of many amazing artifacts dating back to a the the Neolithic Period. Its artifacts include a 1st Century A.D. statuette of Aphrodite of Soli and the original mosaic of Leda and the swan. Another museum called Leventis is home to important historical artifacts of Nicosia’s history. The new city expands in to a modern European-influenced centre of buildings, offices, pavement cafes and shops. Nicosia is an ideal place for shopping, particularly the two adjoining streets in the city center; Makariou and Stasikratous.
Mountains of Nicosia
The Troodos mountains are unique in their geology and one of the only few places in the world where scientists can examine oceanic crust without needing to go to the sea. An underwater volcano which erupted 90 million years ago, was the reason the island was formed, has given rise to pillow lava which is observable throughout the mountains. The highest peak is the Olympus one, reaching an altitude of 1,952 meters. The area of Troodos is also home to one of the 5 most copper rich areas in the world. It is said, that the island’s name ‘Kypros’ is derived from the Latin name for copper, ‘cuprum’.
The Cypriot cuisine combines the rich flavours of the Middle East, the nutritional values of the Mediterranean cuisine, and the timeless traditions of Greek cooking. It boasts a rich cuisine of its own, originating from the fusion of all these cuisines, i.e: stuffed vine leaves, oven pasta, haloumi cheese and souvlaki in Cypriot pitta bread. Traditional taverns, confectioneries and coffee shops can be found everywhere in the Old City, serving delicious dishes, sweets and ‘meze’. The rich wine history of Cyprus has been alive and ongoing for nearly 6,000 years. Visitors can travel back in time by visiting restored traditional wine presses and museums that demonstrate the life, culture and traditions of the rural population. The grape harvest can be observed, while locals and guests alike can partake in traditional festivals to enjoy the superb local wines, which are in abundance across the island.
Museums and Galleries
Nicosia’s rich historical and cultural history is depicted in a large number of museums, art galleries, and cultural landmarks spread throughout the city. Nicosia is home to beautifully adorned Greek-Orthdox churches and monasteries. Cyprus is important for religious tourism, due to its UNESCO protected ancient churches which are a testament to its centuries’ old traditions.
Amongst the most noticeable museums are the: the Cyprus Archaeological Museum, the A.G Leventis Gallery & Museum, the Byzantine Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the Museum of the National Struggle, the State Gallery of Contemporary Art and the House of Chatzigeorgakis Kornesios, amongst others.
Perfectly positioned within the Venetians Walls, directly adjacent to the Municipal Hall, this chic traditional hotel is friendly and discrete.
It is steps away from the upgraded streets of Ledra and Onasagorou, where restaurants, cafes, shops, museums, art galleries, churches and other cultural establishments can be found.
Map of Nicosia
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